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

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

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares 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: 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.
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