The Guardian, Monday 5 January 2009
Faysal Shawal, businessman in Gaza City
"We haven't been outside in a week. We have no electricity, we have no water. There is shelling and air raids and they don't stop, especially last night. There were raids everywhere - from the sea, air and ground. They destroyed the school that my kids go to, the American school. What did this school do to the Israeli army? They are bombing everything. It's a living hell. My children are petrified. I feel responsible for them, they are innocent but I can't help them.
The five of us sleep together but we don't sleep. The noise is terrifying. I feel like a 100-year-old man. My business has been shut down now for 20 months because of the siege. We don't know where we are going. There's no justice in this world."
Narnin Serraj, works for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and lives in Gaza city with her three children and husband
"For eight days we've lived in fear. No place in Gaza is safe. My kids are scared. I have three children. Adam, who is nine, has asthma. We don't have electricity so whenever he has an asthma attack we have to put the generator on so he can use the ventilator. Then we turn the generator off again because there's very little fuel.
We sleep in the hallway where it's a bit safer because when the bombs drop, the whole building shakes. If anything happens, I hope it happens to me. I feel guilty for having children here.
Gaza has never been safe or healthy, and now I have three children whom I cannot protect. My youngest son is three and all the time he's telling stories about bombing. It's hard for my children to see me falling to pieces. I have lost all attachment to this place.
What you see on the television is the physical devastation but you don't see what it's doing to our emotions. The only thing I think about is where they are going to bomb again."
Ahmed Al Dabba, 26, lives in eastern Gaza
"Last night about 9pm we heard the tanks starting to cross into Gaza. I jumped up on to the roof, I saw them entering through Karni crossing. They started firing artillery shells, it was very heavy, hundreds of shells. Eight landed on my uncle's house nearby. A neighbour's house was burnt. They called the fire service but no one came because the trucks were destroyed in raids. I spent most of the night counting the shells. In one hour I counted 200 shells. There was shooting but I don't know where. Now there are two tanks stationed at the end my street. From 9pm till 5am I was unable to sleep. I'm tired and exhausted."
Majeda Al Saqqa, community worker at the Culture and Free Thought Association, in Khan Yunis
"Every single night we hear explosions everywhere then all of a sudden the town goes quiet and you don't know what's happening. We don't have electricity most of the time and the phones often don't work.
My brother lives in Gaza City in front of the port where there's a lot of action. It's very hard to call him. I manage to call him every 12 hours, sometimes every 24 hours. We watch the television to see what's going on.
[The children] don't sleep at all and they are scared all the time. They ask us questions and we really don't know what to say. The smallest boy keeps asking why the birds keep flying away and why the planes are targeting them. They ask why the planes bomb our neighbours and why they bomb the mosque. They've never seen Israelis, they don't know who they are. We don't want them to grow up with hatred. It's very, very difficult and we are really tired of this."
Asma Al Ghoul, a journalist, working for the Palestinian paper Al Ayyam which Hamas banned from Gaza
"The planes attack everything that moves in the streets, nothing is safe in Gaza. When I see the children in the hospitals I start crying. The children lie there without arms, without legs, without speaking, they don't even cry.
In my work as a journalist everything is happening too quickly, we don't have time to write about it. It's all crazy. Hamas keeps spreading rumours, that it has kidnapped soldiers, to lift the people's spirits like Hezbollah did during the Lebanon war.
The victim here isn't Hamas or Israel. Hamas has become more popular. The victims here are the civilians, the ordinary men, women and children.
At night I try to sing to my son and to create new stories for him to distract him from the bombs. Yesterday he told me that he didn't want to hear the stories any more. He's just four years old."