Palestinians return to destroyed homes as truce begins

GAZA: With children and pets in their arms and their belongings loaded onto donkey carts or car roofs, thousands of displaced Gazans headed home Friday as a four-day Zionist-Hamas truce began. The din of war was replaced by the horns of traffic jams and sirens of ambulances making their way through crowds emerging from hospitals and schools where they had taken refuge. For nearly seven weeks, Zionist strikes on the Gaza Strip had been relentless.

But on Friday morning, no more shots were heard in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Palestinian territory. “We are civilians,” said Mahmud Masood, standing in front of flattened buildings in Jabalia, northern Gaza. “Why have they destroyed our houses?” A woman sat on top of a mound of debris with her head in her hands, crying.

Hayat Al-Muammar was among those hurrying to take advantage of the truce deal. “I’m going home,” said the 50-year-old, who had been sheltering in a school. “We fled the death, destruction and everything,” she told AFP. “I still don’t understand what happened to us — why did they do this to us?” she asked. The lives of Gazans have been turned upside down since Oct 7. Weeks of sustained Zionist bombardment has killed nearly 15,000 people, around two thirds of them women and children. Some 1.7 million of the territory’s 2.4 million people are estimated to have been displaced, and more than half of homes damaged or destroyed.

A multitude of men, women and children travelled on foot, carts or tuk-tuks with the few belongings they had taken with them when the war started. One woman carried her cat in her arms through the streets. Some families tried to retrieve some living basics from under the rubble before getting back to school shelters, as panic ensued when some unexploded missiles were sighted inside the houses.

Large parts of Gaza have been flattened by thousands of air strikes, and the territory faces shortages of food, water and fuel. Zionist warplanes dropped leaflets warning people in the south not to head back to the north, which it has previously told Palestinians to leave for their safety. “The war is not over yet,” they read. “Returning to the north is forbidden and very dangerous!!!”

Even so, Ghadi Salamat was considering going back from the south. “We’re fed up of being here. It’s no life. We hope that we can return to Gaza City, even if it’s to set up a tent in the rubble,” he said. Abu Qussai, however, had no intention of returning. “It’s a ghost town. When we left, there was already nothing but rubble,” he said. “Why would I go there? To see my destroyed house? To see the bodies of my dead cousins? To be cold outside?” he asked.

Khaled Al-Halabi said he would like to see his home in northern Gaza but did not plan to risk the journey back. At least with the truce “we will finally breathe after 48 days”, he said, welcoming the arrival of aid trucks from neighboring Egypt. Raed Saqer, who took refuge in Rafah, said he hoped the promises of increased aid would come true. “We needed this truce to treat the wounded, so that people could recover a little, because people displaced from the north are experiencing an unspeakable tragedy,” he said. “We hope it’s the first step towards a definitive ceasefire,” he added. – AFP

more recommended stories

Terms of Use:

  • This website Arabian Daily is an individual’s property, not used for any commercial or sales purposes. What you see here are one’s random thoughts in action. I, by no means, endorse any product or party through this, unless stated explicitly.
  • All work you will find here is copyrighted unless stated otherwise. No part of this work can be reproduced in any way with the exception of a) if you share our work, it should link back to this website; b) if you quote any part of our work, it should be properly credited to us with a link to this website.
  • All images used on this website have been taken from open source image websites on the Internet. If any of them are copyrighted to you and you want us to take them down or add credits, please feel free to contact us here, or by using the contact form on this page.
  • The views expressed on Arabian Daily are solely ours. They do not represent any party or any particular school of thought. This website does not promote racism in any form.
  • Privacy Policy:
    This website will respect the readers’ and the writer’s privacy. We do not sell any of their personal or contact information to another company. We do not put your information on spam lists. Also, and more importantly, we are not responsible for the privacy practices of any of our advertisers or website commenters.
  • Reserve Rights: We reserve the right to change the focus on this website, to shut it down, sell it or to change the terms of use at our own discretion.