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What are the challenges faced by Gazans during this Ramadan?

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Gazans began fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Monday amidst the ongoing conflict in the region. Despite the ongoing war and cease-fire talks at a standstill, Palestinians gathered for prayers in the middle of the ruins of a mosque hit by an Israeli air strike just days prior. The crowd of a few hundred at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound midday on Monday was far smaller than in previous years.

The conflict has left many Gazans without access to necessities, including food and water. Markets in Rafah are short on food items, and few stores have qatayef, a dessert traditionally sold during Ramadan. The lack of bright lights and decorations that usually adorn streets during the fasting month is also noticeable.

Many Gazans have been forced to flee their homes, with around 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people displaced. Health officials say at least 25 people, mostly children, have died from malnutrition and dehydration in northern Gaza.

As the war continues, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel and Hamas to honor the spirit of Ramadan by “silencing the guns” and “The eyes of the world are watching. The eyes of history are watching. We cannot look away,” he said. Despite the challenges, Gazans remain steadfast and patient, welcoming the month with hope and resilience.

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