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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
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 Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
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 Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs