Palestinians are trying to keep up their spirits on Eid al-Adha despite the ongoing devastation

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank are marking a sombre Eid al-Adha as the Israeli military continues its deadly attacks more than eight months after the start of the war.

In the besieged enclave, where more than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed, people gathered in the rubble of their neighborhoods to pray on Sunday. This comes as the Israeli military aggressively attacks western areas of Rafah, advancing with its ground invasion of the southernmost city and hitting areas across central Gaza.

“These attacks have pushed people into further internal displacement; in the northern part of the Strip, people are not only struggling to deal with unpredictable falling bombs and attacks on their homes but also the spread of dehydration and hunger,” said Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Deir el-Balah in central Gaza. “This is happening on the first day of Eid, where we’re looking at hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinian families, many of them in mourning.”

Despite the devastation, Palestinians are trying to keep up their spirits. Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum, also reporting from Deir el-Balah, said, “Palestinians are trying to do their best, despite Israel’s ongoing aggression, to bring happiness to young children, as many of them will wake up today and celebrate Eid without their parents.”

The Government Media Office in Gaza said in a statement late on Saturday that Israel is preventing the entry of sacrificial animals into the enclave from all crossings, hindering Palestinians from performing sacrificial rituals as part of Eid al-Adha.

The Israeli army on Sunday announced a “local, tactical pause” of military activity along a specific route from 8 am until 7 pm every day until further notice, supposedly to allow more aid into Gaza from the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing. However, it emphasized that its soldiers would continue to fight in the southern part of the enclave and that there would be “no cessation of hostilities.” This pause was criticized as “delusional” by far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, especially since 10 Israeli soldiers were killed on Saturday, marking the deadliest day of the war for Israel since January.

Restrictions on Al-Aqsa Mosque

In Jerusalem, Israeli forces once again cracked down on Palestinians trying to mark Eid al-Adha at Al-Aqsa Mosque, imposing tight restrictions on entry and assaulting worshippers. The Wafa news agency reported that some 40,000 managed to attend the prayers inside the mosque, but many were forced to pray outside the mosque gates after being denied entry. Israeli forces also disrupted the movement of Palestinians in several areas across Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, setting up checkpoints and forcing vehicles to stop.

Two senior United Nations officials based in Lebanon warned of a “very real” threat of miscalculation that could lead to a wider war as the Israeli military and Hezbollah have significantly ramped up their attacks in border fighting that erupted after the start of the war on Gaza.

“As communities in Lebanon and around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, the UN family reiterates its call for all actors along the Blue Line to put down their weapons and commit to a path of peace,” the officials said in a joint statement.


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