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A month into the Israel-Hamas war, where do things stand?


One month ago, Israelis and Palestinians woke up to war. Israeli officials say the Hamas massacre in southern Israel on October 7 killed an estimated 1,400 people.


Authorities in Gaza say Israel's response has killed at least 10,000 people so far. But those numbers, as devastating as they are, cannot fully describe the scope of the suffering.

INSKEEP: NPR's Daniel Estrin has covered this first month of war and joins us now from Tel Aviv. Hi, Daniel.


INSKEEP: So arriving back here in Washington from a visit to the region, I'm reminded that not everybody in America has the geography in their heads, so I just want to remind people. Israel is attacking this rectangle of land. It's only about 25 miles long, so you could drive it in half an hour if it weren't for the rubble in the way. It runs very roughly north to south. So where does the Israeli offensive on that land stand?

ESTRIN: Well, Israeli troops are still surrounding Gaza City. That is in the northern Gaza Strip, and it's where Israel says Hamas is headquartered. It's also where many Palestinian civilians still are. There's fierce fighting there. And in the last few days, Israel has announced safe passage, what they call, for Palestinians to flee south. But that road where they've been fleeing is so battered that, you know, even elderly people I've spoken with say they've had to walk miles on foot.

INSKEEP: Yeah, we've closely followed your reporting on that. How are Palestinians facing this moment one month in?

ESTRIN: They're really in survival mode, Steve. I mean, even those who have fled south - and this is an area where Israel has declared a safe zone - they, too, have been caught in Israeli bombings. Our producer in Gaza, Anas Baba, rushed to the scene of one of those bombings yesterday. It was at the southernmost edge of Gaza. And he met one woman, Alaa al Adi (ph), with her young daughter. They were shaking, they were caked in debris from an airstrike. They were sitting on the steps of their home, and the airstrike was just seven buildings down the street.

ALAA AL ADI: (Speaking Arabic).

ESTRIN: She's saying, the smell is in my throat, it's this terrible smell. It tastes like black. I want to throw up. She says her feet were full of glass. And our producer, Anas Baba, described the woman's little daughter.

ANAS BABA, BYLINE: She's holding her own toy, I do believe, a little dinosaur that's totally colored with pink and some purples, holding it very tightly.

ESTRIN: And, you know, at that southernmost tip of Gaza, the Egyptian border is now open, but very few Palestinians are being allowed to leave Gaza through that border, only those with foreign nationalities or affiliations with foreign institutions.

INSKEEP: How are Israelis across the border reflecting on this month of war?

ESTRIN: This morning there were radio broadcasts, marked a moment of silence, and there's going to be a memorial ceremony with music this evening in Tel Aviv. But this is very not a moment to look back. It's still, for Israelis, an ongoing nightmare. There's Hamas rocket fire ongoing, people running into bomb shelters every day, a nightmare especially for the families of more than 200 hostages held in Gaza. And we met a grandfather, Shmuel Brodutch. He was wearing a T-shirt with the photos of his three young grandkids who are being held in Gaza. And he thinks Israeli leaders are not prioritizing their release.

SHMUEL BRODUTCH: They don't feel that the children there are their children. That's my problem. I want them to feel that it's their children. I want them to go to sleep with these pictures.

ESTRIN: And meanwhile, Steve, a quarter of a million Israelis have been displaced from their homes.

INSKEEP: How does this war in size and scale and human suffering compare with other wars that you've covered there?

ESTRIN: Well, this is - the magnitude is historic, Steve. This is the deadliest round of fighting between Israelis and Palestinians since the 1948 war, which - where Israel was founded, where Palestinians were uprooted from their homes. So Palestinians in Gaza are fearing yet another mass displacement like that formative time. Israelis and Jews are experiencing this as the biggest single day of loss that they've had since the Holocaust.

INSKEEP: And it's nowhere near an end. NPR's Daniel Estrin in Tel Aviv, thanks so much.

ESTRIN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.