News / Middle East

Palestinians Weary of War as Conflict with Israel Goes On

Gaza Grows Weary of War as Cease-fire Deal Falls Throughi
X
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)
x
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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs