Israeli bombing has killed 1,537 Palestinians in Gaza, the health ministry in the besieged strip has said, with 6,612 injured. Among the dead are 500 children.
Hundreds of pro-Palestine supporters rallied in the Qatari capital on Friday to stand in solidarity with Gazans facing indiscriminate Israeli bombardment.
The rally was held at the Imam Muhammad bin AbdulWahhab Mosque in Doha following Friday prayers, where the atmosphere was charged with emotion as chants of support echoed through the crowd.
Qatar is home to thousands of Palestinians that were forced out of their homes during the Nakba in 1948 and 1967. Palestinians who fled the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 also settled in Doha.
Among those in attendance was author Mowafa Said Househ, whose family fled Palestine in 1948 and later settled in Canada in the 1970s.
“I felt really emotional. As a Palestinian, you feel alone and isolated as if our dream for a home has taken a backseat,” Househ told Doha News.
“And that show of solidarity for the Palestinians in Qatar and the region makes me so proud—that the struggle of an occupied, marginalised people is alive.”
Holding his son tight during the prayers before the demonstration, Househ said he couldn’t help but think of the many Palestinian parents who have lost their children.
Countless videos have emerged from Gaza Strip over the past week depicting heart wrenching moments between parents and their children. Israeli airstrikes have claimed the lives of more than 500 children since Israel declared war on Saturday..
Joury Al-Yaequb, whose family is originally from Tulkarm, also attended the rally in Doha.
“I felt proud to be a Palestinian and seeing all these people supporting Palestine is an amazing feeling,” she told Doha News,.
The recent events in Palestine have taken a toll on the diaspora, many of whom say they feel helpless watching from the outside.
“Israeli occupation have been bombing houses without warnings and killing innocent women and children which is unacceptable. I am very sad about everything and we all will forever say free Palestine,” she added.
Househ proposed that similar gatherings could be improved by choosing larger venues like the Education City Stadium and incorporating educational talks.
“It would have been great, for example, if it took place in Education City Stadium with a number of speakers to educate people about the cause of Palestine,” he noted.
“You will be surprised how many Muslim and Arab children know so little.”
Latest updates from Gaza
Residents in the northern part of the Gaza Strip have been ordered to evacuate due to the ongoing bombardment, with indications that they may not be permitted to return, stoking concerns of a “Second Nakba” among the Palestinian community.
Despite the loss of life, Israel has maintained its intense bombing campaign over Gaza, which is home to over two million residents.
In a recent meeting, NATO countries informed Israel’s defence minister that they support Israel following the attack by Hamas, while also urging a “proportional” response, according to the alliance.
However, Human Rights Watch on Friday accused Israel of using white phosphorous in its operations in Gaza.
The organisation said the use of this substance has a “significant incendiary effect” and puts civilians at unnecessary risk, thereby violating international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has urged Israel to rescind what they have termed an “impossible” request demanding the relocation of more than 1.1 million Palestinians within a mere 24 hours.
This demand poses a perilous challenge given Gaza’s already fraught situation: it’s a mere 40km long and home to 2.3 million residents who have nowhere else to escape.