News / Middle East

On the Scene: VOA’s Scott Bobb Reports From Gaza

Gazans Clear Rubble, Re-Live Traumai
X
Scott Bobb
July 29, 2014 9:17 PM
VIDEO: Israel's offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip enters its fourth week with little sign of letting up. After a night of particularly heavy Israeli strikes, Palestinian officials say more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, while Israel reported the deaths of five more soldiers. As VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City, the mood is somber as some residents stock up on food or clear debris from their streets.
VIDEO: Israel's offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip enters its fourth week with little sign of letting up. After a night of particularly heavy Israeli strikes, Palestinian officials say more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, while Israel reported the deaths of five more soldiers. As VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City, the mood is somber as some residents stock up on food or clear debris from their streets.
Scott Bobb

After three weeks of intense Israeli bombardment and military invasion, Gaza Strip’s residents have developed a siege mentality.

People here are fearful, nervous, angry, and despairing. Everyone has experienced some hardship, some level of discomfort or deprivation. Everyone knows someone who has been wounded and at least one person who has been killed.

VOA Correspondent Scott BobbVOA Correspondent Scott Bobb
x
VOA Correspondent Scott Bobb
VOA Correspondent Scott Bobb

I’ve been Voice of America’s Jerusalem bureau chief for three years and have visited Gaza at least five times, usually for several days at a time. I was here during the Israeli-Hamas conflict of September 2012 and stayed until after the cease-fire negotiated by Egypt. 

This feels more intense.

When I arrived Tuesday morning, after what local residents described as the most violent night since the current fighting began July 8, I visited the remnants of the Amin Mohammad mosque.

One of Gaza City’s principal mosques, it was destroyed, gutted, with a fire in the basement. A house across the street, belonging to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, sustained light damage.

Israel accuses Hamas of concealing weapons and rocket-launching sites in mosques, schools and other civilian places. As a result, the sites become targets.

Chaotic scenario

The chaos breeds confusion and misinformation. Some news accounts said children were playing in a park Monday when a missile struck. It’s not a park, it’s a residential street.

But it was where eight children and two adults were killed, and many others were wounded. A rocket landed in the garden of nearby Shifah Hospital, where they were taken to be treated. Hospital workers say they’re starting to run short of supplies.   

Palestinians seem to have adopted a fatalistic attitude that there’s nowhere safe to go. Even one of the schools operated as a shelter by the United Nations – which now is housing more than 100,000 people – was hit last week.

To get out of Gaza, you need special permission from the Israeli authorities. Very few receive it. Right now, all the border crossings to Israel and Egypt are closed to all but a few -- journalists, VIPs, some relief workers.

Humanitarian cease-fires in recent days allowed people to leave their homes to re-stock their food and take care of basic necessities.

But basic supplies are becoming scarce. Blockades and bombed gardens have made food expensive. Refrigeration has been difficult, because Gaza was only getting a few hours of power a day.

Tuesday’s bombing of Gaza’s main power plant will cut electricity to places that don’t have generators. Many hospitals and commercial operations, and residents with sufficient means, already have bought them. Otherwise, they can’t charge their mobile phones or get news.   

Sanitation woes add to challenges

Sanitation poses a growing problem. Garbage hasn’t been collected – either because the streets are impassable or workers are fearful – and bombings have damaged the sewage system. The stench of rotting garbage and sewage pervades everywhere.

Health officials say a shortage of clean water means a looming crisis. But Gazans are more worried about surviving the night.

If recent days are any indication, some won’t.

Basel Meqdad heard a blast Monday, when his younger brother was outside playing with dozens of children. He ran out and saw his younger brother, Mohamed, lying on the pavement.

“He was dying,” he told me and my interpreter. “He was telling me there is something in my heart. I looked at his heart and I found it was outside his body. I told him, don’t be afraid. You will be OK.”

Seven other children and two adults also died in the blast. Israel said it came from a misfired Hamas rocket. But no one here believes this.

In recent days, Israeli strikes also hit the fishing port, a government office building and a major hospital

Gazans say they feel helpless in the onslaught. But they say it only hardens their resolve to resist. 

 

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Pam Miller from: United States
July 29, 2014 10:25 PM
This article is not reportage; it is opinion with one or two alleged "facts" thrown in. "This 'feels' more intense." The piece was written entirely from an Arab perspective with not one word about the thousands of rockets targeting Israel daily -- or about Hamas' absolute REFUSAL to live with Israelis. This is supposed to be Voice of America -- not Al Jazeera. I realize the USIA is no more and Edward R. Murrow is long dead but the VOA can at least live up its ideals and *try* for fairness. There's none to be found here.

by: Jim Radburn from: USA
July 29, 2014 5:03 PM
estroy radical Islam. Israel must destroy the disease that is trying to infect the world. Do not stop until Hamas is destroyed. The U.S says it is a terrorist organization, so they are happy to have it destroyed.

Radical Islam is infecting Pakistan, Afganistan, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, Libya, Kenya, Somalia, etc. The virus must be eradicated before it destroys the world.

Not many seemed to care when Egypt destroyed its Islamic virus the Muslim Brotherhood.

These brainwashed Islamic nuts should all blow themselves up and get their 40 or 72 virgins, unfortunately, all they will get are maggots and rats to eat their blown up body parts.

by: MarkS from: New York
July 29, 2014 4:57 PM
Zionism is not Judaism - tragically this cold blooded murder of people is being committed by Zionists in the name of Judaism and all Jews with the only result being countless Palestinian lives being lost and anti-Semitism being bred - resulting in the State of Israel claiming they need to protect and defend themselves. Zionism does equal terrorism.
In Response

by: MarkS from: New York
July 30, 2014 2:12 AM
Joseph - spoken like a true Zionist. BTW, I'm Jewish.

Let's look at the facts - the Palestinians are living in an apartheid country and cannot travel into or out of Gaza, with very few exceptions - this isn't a debatable point, this is a fact - that's generally called a prison and hence many have come to refer to Gaza as an "open air" prison. Somehow I think if tables were turned and the Zionists were locked up in Gaza and the Palestinians were on the outside, all of a sudden you would support the Zionists fighting back to get out of Gaza.

Hamas is fighting the State of Israel for a variety of reasons - all justified, even if their tactics sometimes aren't - and certainly understandable if one really appreciates how terrible the situation is in Gaza and even makes a remote attempt to be honest with oneself - Zionists are not known for their intellectual honesty or objectivity.

They are known for being able to rationalize anything - generally the way it goes is: Israel is just about always justified in their actions, most Palestinians and certainly all of Hamas are just a bunch of savages and terrorists who's only goal in life is to kill all Jews - actually, for the average Zionist, this extends to all Muslims as well.

Let's be clear - when one sees little children being killed - not just one, but literally 100's in Gaza - that's cold blooded murder by a bunch of butchers who hide behind Judaism to justify their inhuman, barbaric acts. This is not Judaism. Hence, the term Zionism is quite fitting to represent these extremists.

Blaming the victims and/ or saying this is war, civilians will get killed, it happens - demonstrates a complete lack of humanity that is reminiscent of any genocide you would care to pick from recent history.

Israel has all the firepower and most of the control - they've killed 1200 Palestinians - the vast majority civilians and an enormous proportion being children. Israel has lost 4 civilians and about 50 from the Israeli military - so whose targeting the civilians - the vicious Hamas terrorists or the Israeli military?

You're a fool if you can't see the obvious or intellectually dishonest if you won't acknowledge it. Given that you're obviously pro-Zionist, it would seem you're both.
In Response

by: Joseph from: New York
July 29, 2014 5:38 PM
Israel did not initiate this war, Hamas brought it upon themselves. unfortunately as in every war innocent civilians die, with that said there would be less casualties in Gaza if Hamas would not use children and innocent people as human shields and would not use violence to force citizens wanting to leave their neighborhood for safe ground to stay in war zone.

by: Ali baba from: new york
July 29, 2014 4:47 PM
The articles describe in details the nightmare which people in Gaza live. Unfortunately, this has no difference to Hamas And Israel. Israel want to give Gaza people a lesson. It is disgrace to Israel. Hamas is paid by Arabs and Arab who live in Europe and USA. Hamas leaders have their own Houses and They have a good life .the real victim are people you met .
In Response

by: yaa from: usa
July 30, 2014 2:00 AM
What nightmares do the israels live in all they know from propaganda is that palistines want all Jews dead and that they are trying to start another holocaust

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs