‘My Husband Went to Buy Bread’ – Palestine Chronicle Speaks to Bereaved Gaza Women

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with three women whose husbands were killed in the Israeli bombing. They told us about their daily challenges, their fears, and the great and growing responsibilities they have to deal with. 

According to UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, an estimated 9,000 women have so far been killed by Israeli forces in the ongoing war. 

The grim statistics included the fact that an estimated 37 mothers are killed every day in Gaza, “leaving their children with diminished protection.”

In many cases, women have lost their husbands and they do not know how to provide for their children. 

“4 in 5 women (84 percent) in Gaza indicate that at least one of their family members had to skip meals during the past week,” a statement by UN Women said, indicating that “in 95 percent of those cases, mothers are the ones going without food, skipping at least one meal to feed their children”.

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with three women whose husbands were killed in the Israeli bombing. They told us about their daily challenges, their fears, and the great and growing responsibilities they have to deal with. 

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‘My Husband Went to Buy Bread’

Maryam Abu Awn is a 36-year-old mother of five from the Bureij camp in the central Gaza Strip.

She told The Palestine Chronicle that, since the beginning of the war, she has always lived in fear as if knowing that something bad was going to happen to her family. 

“We escaped death when the Israeli occupation bombed my husband’s family home during the 2014 war on Gaza,” Maryam told The Palestine Chronicle.

“We lost many of our loved ones on that occasion. My children, my husband, and I were injured, but we managed to survive,” she added.

This time, however, was different.

“My husband went out to buy bread for our children and he was killed by an Israeli bombing. Suddenly, I turned from a married woman to a widow, and a mother to five orphans,” she told us. 

“I try to protect them, and I hope that my children will not be targeted by Israeli rockets.”

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‘The Wounds in Our Hearts’

Umm Kamal Subh is 34 years old. 

Her husband, son, and daughter were killed by an Israeli bombing in Deir Al-Balah, in central Gaza, on the second day of the genocidal war on gaza. 

She was critically injured, along with two of her children. They all received treatment at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.

“Our neighbors helped us out from under the rubble of our house,” Umm Kamal told us. 

“While our physical wounds are starting to heal, the wounds in our hearts will never heal,” she said as she sobbed uncontrollably.

“Since our house was bombed, my children keep asking me about their father and siblings. At first, I lied to them and told them that they were injured, in another room of the hospital. Over time, however, their questions became more insisting, and they no longer believed me. So, I had to tell them that they were martyred in the bombing,” Umm Kamal recalled.

“My children are living in a state of shock,” she added. “They are still receiving treatment and need major psychological treatment to compensate for their loss.”

“We were a happy family, and the occupation separated us by death.”

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‘A Promise to My Husband’

When 38-year-old Bassem Qutaif was killed by an Israeli bombing in his family home in the Nuseirat refugee camp, in central Gaza, his wife was left with a huge responsibility. 

“ I am working to provide a safe life for my children,” she told The Palestine Chronicle. 

“But the occupation’s bombing continues everywhere, and there is no safe place for my children. I hope the war stops immediately, and I can keep my promise to my husband: raise my children as he would have liked to see them, always happy and full of life.”

(The Palestine Chronicle) 

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a correspondent for The Palestine Chronicle in the Gaza Strip.

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