Inside Gaza’s gorgeous beaches and markets before Hamas’s widespread devastation

Footage shared by a Palestinian freelance journalist has shone a light on what life was like in Gaza prior to the horrendous October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas.

Yousef Alhelou’s TikTok video showed everyday Gazans doing ordinary things in the north of the Strip, including adults and children swimming in the sea and playing on the beach. Others were shown playing football on astroturf and shopping in an indoor market.

Israel commenced a bombing campaign concentrated on northern Gaza, after Hamas terrorists launched a stunning incursion into Israel in which around 1,200 were killed and 240 were taken hostage.

It was the deadliest attack in Israel’s history and in response Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to act to wipe out Hamas and bring the hostages home.

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Mr Alhelou, who boasts more than 39,000 followers on TikTok, shared the nine minute video on Saturday and since then its been viewed more than 1,300 times.

The video of “beautiful Gaza” was filmed “just before” October 7 and shows bustling streets, an idyllic beach and pristine parks.

Despite, this a United Nations in July of this year branded Gaza an “open air prison”.

Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories, claimed that Israel had engaged in arbitrary detention of Palestinian citizens since the 1967 Middle East war.

@yousefalhelou beautiful Gaza that you neevr saw before. Filmed just before Oct 7th, 2023 غزة العزة الجميلة التي تتحدى الانكسار ������✌������������������ #Gaza #GazaWar #WarOnGaza #Israel #Shifa #ShifaHospital #GazaStrip #غزة #مستشفى_الشفاء ♬ original sound- يوسف الحلو Yousef Alhelou

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She told reporters in Switzerland: “There is no other way to define the regime that Israel has imposed on the Palestinians – which is apartheid by default – other than an open-air prison.

“By deeming all Palestinians as a potential security threat, Israel is blurring the line between its own security and the security of its annexation plan”.

She added: “Palestinians are presumed guilty without evidence, arrested without warrants, detained without charge or trial very often, and brutalised in Israeli custody.”

Israel at the time rejected Ms Albanese’s assertions.

Following the attack on October 7 by Hamas, what once appeared idyllic is now a mountain of rubble.

According to the Financial Times more than half the buildings in northern Gaza may have been damaged by IDF bombing between the day of Hamas’ incursion and November 17.

There is currently a four-day ceasefire in place, which ends on Tuesday morning. During the break in hostilities Israeli hostages have been swapped with Palestinian prisoners.

Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden, are hopeful that the ceasefire will go “beyond” Tuesday.

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