Portraits of Gazans and the Destruction of the Israel-Hamas War

Declan Walsh and

Samar Abu Elouf, a photojournalist, spent weeks documenting five Palestinians in Gaza whose lives had been shattered by the war. Declan Walsh is an international correspondent for The New York Times.

Feb. 4, 2024

A toddler, a teenager, a mother, a photojournalist.

Their lives were ripped apart in one of the deadliest and most destructive wars of the 21st century.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, now in its fourth month, is often conveyed in stark numbers and historical comparisons: Some 27,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Gaza health ministry. Nearly two million are displaced and more than 60 percent of residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed in a territory smaller than Manhattan.

Yet the lives behind those statistics are often hidden from view. Internet and cellphone services are frequently cut; international reporters cannot enter Gaza except on escorted trips with the Israeli military; and dozens of Palestinian journalists have been killed in a military campaign prompted by the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.

Samar Abu Elouf, a photojournalist for The New York Times, spent weeks following a handful of Palestinians who seemed to have lost everything: a boy with charred limbs, a journalist who lost four of his children in an Israeli strike, an orphaned toddler who may never walk again.

Then The Times evacuated Ms. Abu Elouf and her family in December as the Israeli ground offensive extended across southern Gaza.

Since then, Gaza has spiraled toward famine. Some residents say they are eating grass and animal feed to survive. Giant bombs fall near the last functioning hospitals. Torrential rains pound disease-ridden tent camps. Exhausted medics make harrowing choices.

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