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Gaza Native in UK Hospitalised After Two-Month Hunger Strike Protesting Israel-Gaza War

Arafat, who moved to Bristol from Deir Al Balah when he was young, is urging for a ceasefire in the conflict.

Wael Arafat, a 28-year-old man originally from Gaza now residing in Bristol, has been hospitalised after being on a hunger strike for nearly two months to protest the ongoing Israel-Gaza war. Arafat, who moved to Bristol from Deir Al Balah when he was young, is urging for a ceasefire in the conflict.

His mother, Patricia Davis-Thomas, expressed concern about his deteriorating health, stating that he is “very unwell.” Arafat has lost 17 family members in the conflict, and his mother highlighted the impact of the war on her son, saying, “He’s been traumatised, but he’s always had a very strong link to Palestine.”

The hunger strike has taken a toll on Arafat’s health, prompting a call for an ambulance just seven days after he began the protest. Speaking to BBC Arabic, Arafat conveyed the urgency of his message: “I probably have a week or two before I die. I want the world to do something for the people of Gaza, for the children, the elderly, and the youth.”

Patricia Davis-Thomas, who took Arafat in when he was 14, emphasised his strong connection to Palestine and his distress over the harm caused to children in the region. Arafat, speaking about his hunger strike, expressed that he won’t stop until the world hears their plea and a ceasefire is achieved in Gaza. 

Ms. Davis-Thomas shared her concerns about potentially losing her son and emphasised the need for people to think about those in Palestine running for their lives. She encouraged Arafat to consume some fluids but acknowledged the critical condition he is in.

Meanwhile, Israel has reported that aid has entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing for the first time since the conflict began in October. Various countries are increasingly calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mentioned ongoing efforts to recover hostages held in Gaza, emphasising the need for military pressure on Hamas. Talks are reportedly underway, with Egypt and Qatar allegedly involved, although Hamas insists on a complete halt to aggression for negotiations to take place.

Kiki Garba

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