Little to celebrate as Gazans prepare to mark the end of Ramadan

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Before the war one of the most popular activities for Gazans was to go to the beach. No longer. Normally packed, Gaza’s beaches are now deserted out of fear of an Israeli air attack. Only a few fisherman dare come out now.

Inside Gaza the streets are also mostly empty, though some people do venture out to get cash from ATMs. Mostly civil servants, they have just been paid. This year the money will be spent to survive rather than celebrate the end of Ramadan.

One man told euronews: ‘‘There is no Eid. This is only the Eid of murderers. After this we will go and find our dead relatives in our homes, take them to the cemetery, and pray for them.”

Al Zawya market is one of the most popular among Gazans. Famed for its Ramadan delicacies the market traders say that it is a risk for them to be here.

Few will celebrate. Most shoppers have come to buy the basics and stock up before the bombing starts again.

‘‘After all this death and destruction, what are we going to prepare for Eid? Now, all we plan for is our coffin. We are surrounded by carnage. We were evacuated from Shejaya. We left the border and came here. We are not preparing for anything, except our own death,’‘ said one man.

The end of Ramadan is also a popular time to buy clothes. Not this year.

While the war has made things worse, owners admit the economic situation was dire before the fighting began.

‘‘This season is dead. It began before this month, because people had no cash. There are no wages. The Ramallah authorities can pay salaries but Hamas authorities here in Gaza cannot pay their employees. The traders need to import goods but to do that they need money from customers. If you don’t have that it becomes a big social problem. Our society will be destroyed,’‘ one shop owner told euronews.

With no money left to spend and little to celebrate this year the end of Ramadan will take on a different meaning for Gazans. As euronews’ Valerie Gauriat in Gaza explains: ‘‘The bombing is dictating how Ramadan will be marked this year in Gaza. Despite speculation, few doubt their prayers will be enough to silence the shelling for good. Whatever happens, the festival of Eid will be one of bitterness.’‘

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