UK Friends of Standing Together @omdimbeyachadUK

“Too many mothers are mourning the loss of their sons and daughters.”

This address was given by Dr. Farheen Khan, a supporter of Notts Friends of Standing Together, at the regular vigil held by the group on Sundays in central Nottingham.

We are Notts Friends of Standing Together. Standing Together is an Israeli grassroots Arab-Jewish social movement fighting against war, occupation, and racism, and for social justice and equality.

On Mothers’ Day [10 March], we should reflect on the plight of mothers during this senseless war. In Israel, mothers of hostages are having to plead with the Israeli government to prioritise the release of their daughters and sons over the destruction of Hamas. Too many mothers are mourning the loss of their sons and daughters to a war in which there can be no victor. Since the invasion of Gaza, 247 IDF soldiers have been killed in battle, and 308 have been severely injured. On 7 October, according to the Israeli government, of the 1,200 people killed by Hamas, there were 764 civilians, including 14 children under the age of 10.

In Gaza, mothers are trying to keep their children close to them – not because they think they can keep them safe, but because they do not want to be parted in death. Of the more than 30,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza, Israel has killed around 12,800 children. On 19 January, UN Women released a statement saying that two mothers are killed every hour in Gaza. Gaza is a protection crisis for women, with close to one million women and girls displaced and seeking food and shelter. UN Women estimates that during this war, 3,000 mothers have become widows.

And what of new mothers? Around 180 women are giving birth every day in Gaza, some in tents, some in toilets, many with no medical assistance. According to Action Aid, when women do get to hospital, there is often no painkillers, and caesareans are performed without anesthetic. And now, in addition to the fear of bombs, tanks, and snipers, the fear of starvation.

In Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, several children have already died of starvation. Yazan Al Kafarne, 10 years old, died of starvation on Monday. On Tuesday, Unicef issued a statement saying: “The babies of thousands of women who are due to give birth in the next month in the Gaza Strip are at risk of dying.”

This week, Standing Together attempted to take a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid that they had collected for the people of Gaza through the border, but they were blocked by the Israeli police – something the Israeli government claims not to do.

On social media, Standing Together responded by saying: “There is no reason to let people starve to death in Gaza. This does not benefit any of us, not the people living in Gaza, and not the people living in Israel. We demand a ceasefire agreement that will bring back the hostages and stop the killing of innocent people in Gaza.”