News / Middle East

Palestinians Weary of War as Conflict with Israel Goes On

Gaza Grows Weary of War as Cease-fire Deal Falls Throughi
July 15, 2014 10:31 PM
Israel resumed airstrikes on Gaza Tuesday after a proposed cease-fire deal fell through, while Hamas militants continued to launch a barrage of rockets into southern Israel. As VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from Gaza, the people there are growing weary with war.
Related video: "Gaza Grows Weary of War as Cease-fire Deal Falls Through"
Gabe Joselow

The week-long Israeli military operation in Gaza has displaced tens of thousands of people and destroyed hundreds of homes. As Palestinians grow increasingly weary of life during wartime, a cease-fire deal remains a distant hope.
Anwar Mohammed trudges through the wreckage of his home in Gaza City.  He lived up on the third floor with six members of his family.
Now, there is a gaping hole in the ceiling, broken glass strewn across a child's playroom, and a tiny bird, one of the family's pets, flapping helplessly with a broken wing in a pile of shattered plates and glasses on the kitchen floor.

Anwar Mohammed holds part of a rocket that destroyed his family's home in Gaza during Israel's Operation Protective Edge targeting Palestinian militants. (VOA / Gabe Joselow)Anwar Mohammed holds part of a rocket that destroyed his family's home in Gaza during Israel's Operation Protective Edge targeting Palestinian militants. (VOA / Gabe Joselow)
Anwar Mohammed holds part of a rocket that destroyed his family's home in Gaza during Israel's Operation Protective Edge targeting Palestinian militants. (VOA / Gabe Joselow)
Anwar Mohammed holds part of a rocket that destroyed his family's home in Gaza during Israel's Operation Protective Edge targeting Palestinian militants. (VOA / Gabe Joselow)

They were at home on a Friday, watching the evening news, when they got the warning: first a phone call and then the infamous "knock on the roof" -  a rocket fired at the home as a warning that the next round is going to be devastating.
"When we got the call to evacuate the building we thought it was a joke," Mohammed said. "Then the warning shot hit, we all ran out and just made it to the next street before they bombarded the building."
Mohammed counted three or four minutes between the warning shot and the final blow.
The strikes are part of the Israeli military operation Protective Edge, launched last week in response to rocket attacks aimed at southern Israel from Gaza.
Israeli forces say they are targeting positions used by the militant wing of Hamas - the ruling political authority in Gaza.  According to the United Nations, most of those killed in the strikes have been civilians.
Mohammed says no one in his building was part of any militant group.
"Being a Palestinian means you are a target for the Israeli airstrikes," he said.  "We are just normal people, they do not just hit militants, no one in this house is a member of a resistance movement."
Thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes in Gaza, some 16,000 have sought shelter at U.N.-run schools, like this three-story boys' prep academy in Gaza City.
Families huddle together in classrooms, staking out space on the floor.
Many received warnings in leaflets or text messages sent by Israel to leave their homes in the north end of Gaza to avoid being caught up in a major military operation.
Seham Abu Khosa holds her four-day-old grandson.  She says since arriving at the school, they have received no assistance other than water.
She blames the people in power for her plight: the Israelis, Hamas and the Arab states for not getting involved.
"We want good people in positions of power, not the bad people who are responsible for our suffering," she said. "The good ones should help us because no one else in the world is experiencing what my family is going through right now."
A week into the conflict, there has been little public progress on a cease-fire agreement.  The Israeli air force continues to strike Gaza and rockets continue to fly into southern Israel setting off alarms and sending residents running for bomb shelters.
This is the third extended conflict between Israel and Hamas militants since the deadly war in 2008-2009 that left more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says in a VOA interview that there must be assurances that any cease-fire deal is adhered to.

"How can we believe now that the third time of cease-fire the situation will be respected?  We want to stop this war first of the occupation.  After that we want a guarantee to [end] all of the injustice and all the conditions we are suffering from," he said.
Barhoum said any potential agreement should enforce the terms of the last deal that ended a conflict in 2012 and lift the blockade on Gaza.
Israeli officials have been quiet about any deals, while the military is calling up more than 30,000 reservists in preparation for a possible escalation.   

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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