News / Middle East

Displaced Gazans Fear Returning Home Despite Israeli Assurances

Displaced Gazans Fear Returning Home Despite Israeli Assurancesi
X
Scott Bobb
August 03, 2014 9:59 PM
The Israeli military has told residents of several neighborhoods in Gaza that they may return home, seeming to indicate that the operation to destroy infiltration tunnels has ended in these parts of the enclave. However, most Gazans say they do not believe they will be safe. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.
Scott Bobb

The Israeli military has told residents of several neighborhoods in Gaza that they may return home, seeming to indicate that the operation to destroy infiltration tunnels has ended in these parts of the enclave. However, most Gazans say they do not believe they will be safe.
 
Late morning in Beit Lahiya, north of Gaza City. Although it is a work day, this is a ghost town. Most residents fled during the Israeli military incursion here.
 
The purpose of the incursion was to eliminate tunnels and rocket sites of the Hamas group that controls Gaza.

Residents were warned ahead-of-time to leave the area for their safety. But some chose to stay. Hassan Gabayen was one of them.
 
“We are staying in our homes for our land and our God. We’re trying to protect our people here. We’re not going to leave. We will only leave as martyrs,” says Gabayen.
 
He says some families came back after the Israeli announcement.  But most just took a few belongings and left again.
 
Many of them took refuge at facilities like a U.N.-run school in Gaza City. It is now a village of 2,100 inhabitants. Officials say no one is leaving. Eman al-Kahlot, who stays here with her extended family of 18, explains why.
 
“We don’t believe in what Israel says because yesterday (Saturday) a family from here went back. They bombarded and the family died. So the Israelis say one thing and do something else,” says al-Kahlot.
 
Residents say the facilities are strained but there is enough help to survive. Yet, even here they are not safe. Several U.N. schools have been hit recently. Dozens of people were killed.
 
“For me there is no future. I hope in the future our children will have their rights, have their freedom as in other countries. Because the life we have here is nothing,” says al-Kahlot.
 
Back in Beit Lahiya, Mahmoud al-Atar expresses a similar despair.
 
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re staying here. Maybe we’ll die. I don’t know, but it will be an honor. We’re not going to a U.N. school because people are dying there, too. We prefer to die in our homes.”
 
Some residents no longer have homes to return to. For the others, any cease-fire will only announce more hard times, of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

You May Like

Asian Stocks Plunge on Weak Factory Activity

Official survey finds China’s manufacturing sector contracted at its fastest pace in three years More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Faiyaz Ahmed S M from: india
August 03, 2014 10:38 PM
Gazans are right in disbelieving Israel's assurances for returning home. The recent calls made by the Chief Rabbi of New York and a senior minister of Israel's cabinet -besides many columnists and political minions- that were not condemned by the Israel PM or U S President- that genocide is an option for ensuring "longterm quiet" is a pointer towards what is in store for the gazans whether they return to their homes or not. President Obama condemned the capture of a soldier which was proved to be untrue but he failed to condemn the irresponsible statements made by prominent Jews. Pray, why, Mr. President?
In Response

by: Lou from: Atlanta
August 04, 2014 8:35 AM
But Hamas (and Gazans) need to come to the realization that Israel has the capability of destroying each and every one of them AND turn the entire Gaza strip into a large piece of glass. So for Hamas to provoke Israel makes no sense to me.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs