'I'm not ready to die': Residents in Gaza, Jerusalem fear leaving their homes amid violence
TORONTO -- Violence in the Middle East has disrupted lives on both sides of the conflict, with residents in Jerusalem and Gaza saying they are scared to leave their homes for fear of being bombed.
Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes on what it said were militant targets in Gaza and militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel on Tuesday as the fighting entered its second week.
Maram Faraj, who is a writer and lives in Gaza, told CTV's Your Morning on Monday that she used to go to work in the mornings, and spend time with family and friends in the evenings. Now, she says "everything has changed."
"I'm not able to do anything because I'm scared. I'm scared that in any second I would be killed," Faraj said.
Living in Gaza, Faraj explained that she does not have access to certain safety measures those living in other cities may have, including bunkers or safe rooms.
When she hears a bombing, Faraj said she grabs her mother and they sit under the kitchen table or behind a door for protection if their home is struck.
Faraj said she has experienced the "worst things that you would ever imagine" living in Gaza during the last two weeks.
"I saw children dying, people mourning their loved ones, mothers bidding farewell to their children, and homes turned into ashes within seconds," Faraj said.
"Whenever I hear a bombing, I just pray to God, 'Please God, don't kill me, please God I'm not ready to die'," she added.
Faraj said the violence is "like a nightmare" and has immobilized her and many others currently living in Gaza.
"I can't sleep, I can't go to work, I can't eat. I can't even go to the bathroom because I feel that if I went to the bathroom, I would be bombed and killed," Faraj said. "It's really insane."
CTV's London Bureau Chief Paul Workman says the violence has created growing concerns of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Workman told CTV's Your Morning on Monday that there has been severe damage to infrastructure, including the power grid and water system that residents rely on.
"As you have this military campaign going on, rockets going into Israel again today, Israel bombing the Gaza Strip, real concerns on the ground about how much suffering Palestinian people are going through now," Workman said in an interview from Jerusalem.
He added that up to 50,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee their houses amid the fighting and are now living in United Nations schools.
However, Workman said one of the crossings into Gaza was opened on Tuesday to allow for aid to be brought in.
Since the fighting began, the Israeli military has launched hundreds of airstrikes it says are targeting Hamas' militant infrastructure. Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 3,400 rockets into Israel.
At least 212 Palestinians have been killed in heavy airstrikes since the fighting broke out on May 10, including 61 children and 36 women, with more than 1,400 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not break the numbers down into fighters and civilians.
Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed in the ongoing rocket attacks launched from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel, according to The Associated Press.
Despite the violence, Workman says life has not stopped for those living on either side of the fighting. He explained that those who live in Gaza are having to search for water, food and shelter on a daily basis, while those in other southern Israeli cities are running into "bomb shelters all the time" or fleeing to safer parts of the country.
Roz Mogani told CTV's Your Morning that living in Jerusalem has been a little easier as the city isn't being constantly bombarded with rockets. However, she said there are mobs and riots across the city.
"It's really tense, and people are not going out as much. It’s not life as usual, that's for sure, and we're not even hitting the brunt of it here," Mogani said.
Now, she says, everyday noises such as the garbage truck scare her.
"You don't know where the rockets are going to land next. Right now we're OK, but we hear stories constantly of loved ones and friends in other cities that are just being bombarded," Mogani said.
Mogani said she is fortunate to live in a modern building in Jerusalem that houses a safe room in her bedroom. When an airstrike siren sounds, she said people in Jerusalem have a minute and 15 seconds to get to a safe room or bunker.
"As soon as you hear a siren, you go straight into your safe room, or if you're out in public on the street, you lie down on your stomach, cover your head and you cover the children with your body," Mogani explained.
She added that they are to stay in their safe rooms until given the go ahead to vacate, which usually lasts about 10 minutes.
"We had one here, and we heard an Iron Dome actually intercept the rocket. You could hear it, and you could feel it. That was only one a week ago and I'm still traumatized over that," Mogani said.
"You are just constantly on edge," she added.
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that he supported the idea of a ceasefire, but added that the United States would not pressure the two sides for one.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a ceasefire on Tuesday, saying the violence must stop. Speaking at a press briefing, Trudeau said Canada will work with the international community to de-escalate the situation so there is no more loss of civilian life.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the fighting will continue for "as long as necessary in order to return calm and security to all Israeli citizens."
With files from The Associated Press