News / Middle East

Amid Break in Fighting, Gazans Visit Destroyed Homes

Gazans Visit Destroyed Neighborhoods After Israeli Withdrawali
X
Scott Bobb
August 04, 2014 10:30 PM
For some residents of Khan Younis, 7-hour humanitarian cease-fire allows first return home — or what used to be home — since the Israeli ground operations began more than two weeks ago. VOA’s Scott Bobb has more.
Scott Bobb

Hundreds of Gazans returned to their homes Monday during a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire declared by Israel.

For those returning to one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods — an agricultural area in Khan Younis, several hundred meters from Gaza’s boundary with Israel — only more devastation was there to greet them.

Ahmed, who gave only his first name, was making his first trip back since Israeli ground operations began more than two weeks ago.

"It was three stories high," he says, showing where his family home once stood. "Now there is nothing.

“This is the first time that our building is destroyed. We don’t even know why. Every time there is a war, [Israel] just destroys our houses," he adds. "It’s just simple people living here. They don’t have any ties to militants.”

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza four weeks ago to destroy infiltration tunnels and rocket sites that Hamas-led militants use to attack Israelis.

Khan Younis was one of the most heavily hit areas.

An estimated 200,000 displaced Gazans have moved in with family members in other parts of Gaza. One-quarter million have taken shelter in United Nations facilities such as schools — some of which have been hit by Israeli airstrikes — while others camp out on the streets.

Some hope to return to their homes when the fighting dies down, but not everyone can. Om Omar al-Najar, a Khan Younis resident whose family owns a farm near the border, says their home was damaged beyond repair and all its furnishings burned.

Her family will return to rebuild, she says, but it won't be the first time.

“They bombarded the neighborhood before and we came back and re-built it, and we will do it again. We will do it every time they destroy it because we have no other land. We will never let Israelis take our land.”

The future for the homeless is uncertain, and housing them will be only a part of the massive relief effort that will be needed in Gaza when the fighting ends.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs