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In Pictures: Cleaning up a Gaza massacre
Volunteers clear rubble in a campaign to ‘bring back life to streets that have witnessed so much destruction’.
The We Will Rebuild It campaign was largely attended by young men and women, and included families, organisations, and youth initiatives. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
By Linah Alsaafin and Hosam Salem
24 May 2021
Gaza City – Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in a campaign to clean up the destruction wreaked by Israel’s bombardment in its 11-day offensive.
Under the slogan “We Will Rebuild It”, volunteers began clearing rubble from the site of what once used to be the Shorouq building – one of Gaza City’s oldest high-rises that was levelled by the Israeli military.
Ahmad Murtaja, who came with his family and friends, said he joined the campaign to “bring back life to streets that have witnessed so much destruction in 11 days of war”.
“It’s also a way to heal the wounds of what we have witnessed and to rebuild society,” he said.
The clean-up focused on the upscale Rimal neighbourhood – which was heavily targeted by Israeli artillery shelling and air raids – and included al-Wehda street, where 42 people were killed in a single day.
Hosny Mohanna, the campaign’s spokesperson, told Al Jazeera at least 3,000 people showed up to help the effort, which is primarily about removing remnants of “Israeli aggression”.
“The turnout and enthusiasm we have seen is testament to our people’s resilience,” he said.
Ghada Ibrahim, who heard of the campaign on social media, told Al Jazeera: “By cleaning up the streets together, that’s a sign that there’s still hope in Gaza.”
‘We deserve to live’
The campaign, which began on Sunday, is expected to continue for a week and will comb through the neighbourhoods pounded by the Israeli military.
According to Gaza’s ministry of public works and housing, at least five high-rise buildings, 74 government facilities, and 33 media institutions were destroyed. Additionally, 1,800 housing units were wrecked.
At least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children and 39 women, were killed in the recent offensive, with more than 1,900 others wounded. In Israel, 12 people died, including three foreign workers.
“We want to show the world that Gaza is worthy and that we deserve to live,” Mohammed Abu Rujeila, a volunteer, said.
“No matter how many times the Israeli occupation destroys we will always be here to rebuild, each time even more so than the last.”
Banners of companies that were housed in levelled buildings are placed on the wreckage. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
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The campaign will continue for a week and comb through the neighbourhoods in Gaza City pounded by the Israeli military. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Gaza City’s municipality workers handed out brooms to thousands of volunteers who showed up to clean the streets. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
"This is a way to heal our wounds and rebuild society," Ahmad Murtaja said. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
The campaign began on Sunday in the Rimal neighbourhood in Gaza City, which was heavily targeted by Israeli attacks. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
At least 3,000 people attended the campaign’s first day, according to spokesman Hosny Mohanna. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
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"By cleaning up the streets together, that’s a sign that there’s still hope in Gaza," said Ghada Ibrahim. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Many people came with their friends and families to clean the streets in Gaza City. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Volunteers remove large pieces of rubble from buildings that were targeted by Israel. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
Young women clean up in front of Abu Bakr’s kunafa and sweets store. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
At least five high-rise buildings were totally destroyed in addition to 74 government facilities. [Hosam Salem/Al Jazeera]
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