‘All Eyes on Rafah’ are the words spreading across social media today following a deadly Israeli attack on a tent camp for refugees in Gaza’s southern city, claiming 45 Palestinian lives.

As horrific images emerge from the camp of men, women and children maimed in the strike, Cloughaneely woman Josephine Gallagher Hajjaj and her husband Munther’s fears grow. They have family in both Rafah and other parts of Palestine suffering under the incursion.

Munther Hajjaj, a Palestinian national living in Ireland, fears for his mother, father, four brothers and their families who are all trapped in the war zone.

In October, Munther’s younger brother, Ahmed, lost his two children. Amal was eight years old and Mohammed was just five when an Israeli airstrike caused their home to collapse, killing both children as they slept in their beds. Their grandmother died from her injuries a few weeks later.

“The situation in Gaza is deteriorating by the day,” Josephine tells Donegal Daily. “Aid is completely blocked, and Rafah, which was considered a “safe zone” is under complete bombardment.

“Munther’s family are worried for their safety and completely traumatised. Food is scarce because aid is not getting in. The situation is dire.

“Also, it’s not just Rafah being bombed. There is constant bombing throughout the entire state. There is no safe place.”

As Ireland raises the Palestinian flag over Leinster House today in recognition of Palestine as a sovereign and independent state, Josephine says: “I think it’s a great step forward and hopefully, other countries follow suit.”

Josephine had planned an Errigal hike this Saturday 2nd June to raise funds for Munther’s brother following his devastating loss. However, due to the storm damage on the mountain, they have decided to do a memorial walk to the point at Maghaeroarty beach at 1:00pm on Sunday 3rd June (meeting at the beach car park), followed by a family afternoon at Teach Dixon, Meenlaragh. 

All money raised online and in person will support Ahmed Hajjaj to help him and his family rebuild their lives in Palestine.

“Nothing can bring back Mohammed and Amal or ease the pain of their loss. All we can hope to do is try to relieve the financial burden they are facing,” said Josephine in an online appeal on GoFundMe.

All are welcome to the walk on Sunday or visit the GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/hike-for-hajjaj-family