Humanitarian conditions worsen in Gaza with Ramadan right around the corner
Talks of a potential ceasefire are underway after negotiators from the US, Egypt, and Qatar work together to settle a truce.

The stakes for a ceasefire in Gaza are higher than ever as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan quickly approaches. Israel’s assault on the region has killed more than 30,000 people since October 7 and “obliterated large swaths of the urban landscape,” according to a report by CityNews Toronto. As a result, more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million is now homeless—raising an urgent concern for how Gazans will spend Ramadan this year. 

According to the World Food Programme, “If nothing changes, a famine is imminent in northern Gaza.” Currently, almost the entirety of Gaza’s population requires food aid.   

Ashraf al-Qidra, Gaza’s Health Ministry spokesman, says that infant mortality rates in Gaza “threaten to surge,” according to CTV News. Four children in northern Gaza’s Kamal Adwan Hospital have died due to dehydration and malnutrition. The same hospital said it was discontinuing operations as it had run out of fuel. Aid agencies say that Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is most dire in the North, as humanitarian aid has been almost completely cut off. 

On February 27, negotiators from the US, Egypt, and Qatar collaborated on a ceasefire negotiation that would call for the freedom of some of the hostages captured by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank. It would also entail a six-week pause in fighting, and an increase in aid entering Gaza.

One anonymous senior official from Egypt stated to PBS NewsHour that the deal includes Hamas “releasing up to 40 women and older hostages,” in exchange for up to 300 Palestinian prisoners, most of whom would be women, children, and older people.

On the other hand, Ahmad Abdel-Hadi, a Hamas official, stated that “optimism on a deal was premature.” Hamas’s demand for Israel to end the war under all circumstances is something Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called delusional earlier this month.

Israeli officials stated that, if a deal isn’t reached by the beginning of Ramadan this year, they will “launch an offensive against Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza—the city of Rafah.” Ramadan, expected to start on March 10, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk. Egypt, the US, and Qatar warned Israel against such an invasion, stating that it would “endanger the negotiations” currently taking place between Hamas and Israel. 

Yara Ayoub, a displaced person in Rafah, told The New Arab, that the upcoming month of Ramadan is “worrying and stressful.” According to Ayoub, “We’ve always said ‘It won’t be long till Ramadan,’ but now it seems inevitable.” 

Ayoub, who is a 23-year-old woman from Gaza says that Rafah is “completely different” from anywhere else in Gaza. “People are crowded here, and even if food and goods are available, they’re at ridiculously high prices.” 

During a stop at an ice cream parlour in New York City, US President Joe Biden commented on talks of when a ceasefire would occur. “I hope by the end of the weekend. My national security advisor tells me that we’re close, we’re close, we’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire,” he told reporters.

Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Maryam is a third-year student completing a double major in English and Professional Writing & Communication. She started her journey with The Medium in 2022, where she’s written articles for News, Opinion, Features, and Sports. In her spare time, Maryam enjoys painting, cooking, and finding creative ways to educate people about world issues that matter to her.


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