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A Palestinian worker disinfects streets of the Al-Shati' refugee camp as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of COVID-19, in Gaza City on March 16, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh’s fear of the coronavirus is based on his late grandfather’s death during a Tuberculosis epidemic in Gaza’s refugee camps during the mid-1960s. “I have no idea what the future holds for the refugee camps in Gaza,” Abu Al-Tarabeesh writes, “but I do know when it comes to infectious diseases and viruses, the past has been alarming.”

Palestinians flee with their belongings from the Shejaiya neighborhood of the Gaza Strip, on August 19, 2014. (Photo: Ezz al-Zanoun/APA Images)

Five years on Hamza Abu al-Tarabeesh remembers the 2014 war in Gaza when he was a young journalist. That summer one of his senior editors was killed in an Israeli airstrike, and photojournalist he worked alongside lost a brother. “At the moment of impact the electricity cut, smoke and dust covered the office, and I heard shrapnel hitting the exterior. One of my colleagues started sobbing.”

Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh writes, “For many of us who are Palestinians, we fight and sacrifice for those things we have yet to touch, experience, or see. In the 27 years of my life I have never smelled or gazed upon land that was once Palestinian and now part of Israel. Therefore it is through the eyes of others that I tell this story. Recently some friends managed to obtain much coveted permits to visit Israel, which in Gaza is commonly referred to as ‘our occupied lands.'”

Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh shares stories from the first two weeks of the Great March of Return in Gaza. Despite the fact Yousef Abu Eida, 26, was shot in the leg last Friday, he was back today using crutches and a metal brace. “I came today despite the pain to send two messages,” he tells Abu Al-Tarabeesh. “The first is that I will not give up the right of my return to my occupied town ‘Ashdod’ and another message to the Israeli sniper that we are not afraid of him.”