Muslims celebrate end of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr amid hunger and destruction in Gaza

On Wednesday, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The breaking of the dawn-to-sunset fast, often symbolising a time of feasting and hospitality, is traditionally celebrated with family reunions and delicious food. In Gaza, too, Eid al-Fitr used to be a joyous occasion. Now families gather to mourn their dead and losses. 

Israel's ongoing military campaign in Gaza already cast a shadow over the holy month of Ramadan. Today, a ceasefire seems as far away as ever, so Eid too will be marked by a yearning for the celebrations of a year ago. Before the war, families would gather to share food, exchange presents and spend time with their loved ones. Now, many relatives are displaced and live in makeshift homes and plastic tents. 

Still, many try to experience the joy of Eid despite the war. Improvised decorations have been put up and thousands of people are gathering at markets across Gaza. But the atmosphere remains grim. Severe water and food shortages persist and the ground military operation in Rafah, where more than 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering, seems inevitable. 

At least 33,360 Palestinians have been killed and 75,993 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel. Meanwhile, Israel is seeing growing criticism of its conduct from the international community. In an interview with a Spanish TV station yesterday, US president Joe Biden said prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to Gaza was a mistake and urged Israel to declare a ceasefire. Biden’s comments were some of his strongest criticism yet of Netanyahu.


A displaced child shows a packet of sweets at a camp on the first day of Eid al-Fitr | © AFP MOHAMMED ABED

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