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One Week in Gaza: ‘There Are No Safe Places Here’

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Bisan Owda is a 25-year-old filmmaker in Gaza.

She’s worked with the UN on women’s rights issues and with the European Union on climate change.

But Bisan’s passion is trying to document life in the territory.

All week, she’s been posting video updates on Instagram about her life under fire.

Last Monday – two days after Hamas’s unprecedented cross border attack that killed 1,300 in Israel – Bisan like thousands of others received a text message from the Israeli military.

It told everyone in the central Rimal district of Gaza City to leave their homes.

Bisan quickly grabbed all the possessions she could carry and rushed out of her apartment, filming as she went.

“We’ve been told to go to safe areas,” she says on camera, then jumping into a taxi. “But there are no safe places in Gaza.”

Bisan headed to the main Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which is already overwhelmed with casualties but where thousands of Gazans have gone this past week to seek some sort of shelter.

Later that night Israel bombed Rimal, hitting what it said were 200 Hamas targets and reducing practically the whole area to rubble.

The same day Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza with no food, water or fuel to be allowed in.

On Wednesday, Bisan posted a video of her opening a bottle of water. “It’s the first clean water I have drank for three days,” she says with relief.

Like many Gazans, she has endured a week of sleepless nights. In one post she tells us about her bedtime routine.

She puts her shoes by the door, ready to run. She prepares a small rucksack with a few essentials: clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste, her laptop and of course, her phone.

And with mains electricity now cut off, there’s also the issue of power.

Bisan’s family is lucky to have a small generator, she says, which they turn on for just two hours a day. She charges her mobile and her laptop, which she needs to keep working.

But like everyone else in Gaza, they’re running out of fuel for the generator.

On Friday, Bisan was told she had to move again when the Israeli military ordered more than a million Palestinians living in the north of Gaza to head south.

She posted from the ground of Shifa hospital as thousands of tiny white leaflets carrying the warning from Israel fluttered down from sky.

The UN says hundreds of thousands of Gazans have now travelled south, fearing Israel is close to launching a massive ground offensive around Gaza City.

But Bisan, along with ten members of her family, is staying put at Shifa hospital.

“If we head south, we’ll never be able to get back,” she told me.

Journalists have not been allowed into Gaza since Hamas killed more than 1,300 Israelis last weekend.

Communication with people inside is extremely difficult and I’ve managed only a few snatched conversations with Bisan.

But from her video blogs you can build up a picture of her life which has been upturned in just over a week.

At the end of one of her Instagram posts Bisan smiles at the camera to her more than 180,000 followers.

“This is my daily routine what’s yours?”

She then signs off: “Goodnight. Pray for us.”

Source: BBC

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