'We are documenting war crimes': Citizen journalists capture reality of Gaza Strip

In an atmosphere of disinformation and denial, brave young Palestinians are recording the devastation of the war

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Palestinian content creators and journalists are offering a harrowing and surreal first-hand account of the devastating effects of Israeli air strikes on Gaza and those who live there.

Their footage gives insight to viewers and shares an unfiltered perspective into the human toll and widespread destruction of the Gaza Strip.

Videos and pictures show the destruction of buildings, every day civilian life and the resilience of Gazan communities.

I walk around my neighbourhood and cannot recognise it any more
Hind Khoudary, Palestinian journalist in Gaza

Hind Khoudary, a Palestinian freelance journalist, has been documenting her experience in Gaza city using her camera and mobile phone since the conflict began on October 7.

“Many people want to know what is happening inside Gaza,” Ms Khoudary told The National.

“We don't deserve such war crimes happening to innocent people.”

The Palestinian returned to Gaza two months ago, before the conflict began, after spending four years in Turkey during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her Instagram account now shows scenes from local hospitals as they struggle to cope with the increased number of casualties, houses reduced to rubble and life on the ground amid dwindling food and water supplies.

There are also other, more graphic, posts of civilians and children, who have been killed.

“War must stop as soon as possible. There are thousands of dead people and injuries. The scale of devastation is too large.

“I walk around my neighbourhood and cannot recognise it any more,” she said.

Ms Khoudary is stationed near Al Shifa Hospital where she sleeps in her friend's car. Her fellow journalists are sleeping outside without cover.

“We feel that we will all die. About 18 journalists have been killed in this war and counting. It's catastrophic,” she said.

Ms Khoudary and other content creators start their work by visiting hospitals and destroyed buildings and posting it to their social media platforms.

“It's an ongoing cycle of storytelling. My cousin was killed in an air strike along with a group of my friends. My mother's family were extracted from under rubbles after an air strike, while my husband's family house was destroyed,” she said.

“We all became refugees in our own land.”

Abed Elhakeem Abo Riash, 34, who also lives in Gaza, is another Palestinian freelance content creator aiming to show the world the reality of the Gaza Strip.

His Instagram account also shows photographs and videos depicting the destruction of Gaza, and Palestinians mourning family members.

“Israeli aggression is targeting children, women and innocent people. We are using our cameras and phones to document their war crimes,” he told The National, before rushing to take photos of the Israeli air strike on the Al-Shati refugee camp on Tuesday, where 50 Palestinian civilians remain under the rubble.

“Every minute there is a new massacre against civilians, journalists, paramedics and civil defence members. We will not stop our coverage.”

Mr Abo Riash said content creators play an important role in showing the brutality of air strikes in Gaza.

“Using social media has a notable impact on the world. We are on day 18 of the conflict and we hope our coverage has helped to shed a light on the brutal aggression,” he said.

“We hope our determination to document and share our experiences are invaluable in raising global awareness and mobilising support for the people of Gaza during this challenging time.

“The world should not stand still.”

Updated: October 26, 2023, 11:20 AM