Sun. May 26th, 2024

A Vancouver Palestinian restaurant held an open house fundraiser, this weekend, raising money for conflict victims in Gaza.

The Tamam: Fine Palestinian Cuisine restaurant served food for donations on Saturday. The restaurant was packed with community members when the event started at 2 p.m.

“We are just trying to do something in this horrendous time. It’s painful to see what is happening in Gaza, regardless of why … what is happening is very difficult to process,” Sobhi Zobaidi, the restaurant’s owner, said.

“We are two proud Palestinians, me and my wife, and we opened up our restaurant because we are proud of our culture and our cuisine. We are doing this so we can, hopefully, help at least a little bit.“

Zobaidi said he is waiting to hear back from people in Gaza, who will tell him which organizations he should send the funds to.

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The restaurant owner said he has many close friends and distant relatives in Gaza as he used to live there.

“It is terrifying honestly,” he said.

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Some local community members spoke with Global News regarding the fundraiser. They believe in the restaurant and showed up to support the local eatery.

“We wanted to make sure we came here and let them know we support them and the people in Gaza,” Chris Zaritkay said.

“Also any time you get to eat (this) food … it’s a great time.”

Zaritkay’s wife, Yvonne Connors, said the restaurant is an integral piece of the community and knew it was important for them to support the Zobaidi family.

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“We have known them for a long time and we have been coming to this restaurant for a long time. We just need to support them, they are the kindest people we know,” said Connors.

Zobaibi is also calling on the Canadian government to help support the victims in Gaza.

“Canada can help both Israelis and Palestinians.”

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Mansour Shouman, a Canadian currently in Gaza, says basic necessities such as food and clean water are becoming more scarce as Israel expands its ground operation.

At the time of his interview with Global News on Saturday, Shouman said the last 24 hours had been “chaos” after Israel’s bombardment over the weekend.

“I’m seeing less food, less clean water available. I’m seeing that the hospitals are full of refugees sleeping on the floor. I’ve seen injured people with casts, instead of sitting in their beds, they are right now sitting outside,” Shouman told Global News.

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“The doctors are complaining that they are running out of medical supplies. The fuel is so much less than before.”

Tanks and infantry pushed into Gaza over the weekend as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a “second stage in the war”.

The attacks knocked out most communications in the territory late Friday, cutting off Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from the rest of the world.

“It seems the Israeli side has cut all forms of communication. No cell phones, calls can’t be made, there’s no internet,” Shouman said.

“We don’t really know what’s happening around us.”

Communications were restored to much of Gaza early Sunday.

The Israeli military said Sunday it had struck over 450 militant targets over the past 24 hours, including Hamas command centres, observation posts and anti-tank missile launching positions. It said more ground forces were sent into Gaza overnight.

A massive blast also killed hundreds of people at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Oct. 17, according to hospital officials, with both Israel and Hamas trading blame.

The widening ground offensive has come as Israel also targeted Gaza from all fronts more than three weeks after Hamas’ initial Oct.7 attack against Israel where 1,400 people died.

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— With files from Naomi Barghiel

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