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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora