Creating new perspectives since 2009

Gaza: Palestinian returns to his area but hardly recognises where he lived

February 7, 2024 at 12:37 pm

Civilians, personnel carry out search and rescue operations at, around buildings hit, collapsed, heavily damaged in Israeli airstrikes on the city of Deir Al Balah, Gaza on February 05, 2024 [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

Tamer Kaskeen managed to return to his neighbourhood in Gaza City recently, but he hardly recognised the place where he lived. It was hard for him to locate the site of his home, which was destroyed by Israel during its devastating onslaught against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

When he finally identified the place where his house once stood, Kaskeen, 50, broke down in tears at the loss of his home.

His neighbourhood, known as Almukhabarat Towers area in the north of Gaza City, came under heavy Israeli ground attacks that destroyed almost all buildings and infrastructure. Kaskeen and his family were made homeless amid the cold weather, and lost hope of ever returning to their home.

“I thought I could return to my home, to find a room inside, but I found nothing, I can’t stop shedding tears,” Kaskeen told Anadolu. “The house of my neighbours — Al-Ghoul family — was not destroyed but was set on fire. It is also uninhabitable, and the family is scared to stay in it as its cement structure is weak.”

He added that he had worked for years to build his house and suddenly, in a matter of minutes, it was gone. “Should I wait 10 years for it to be rebuilt? When will my turn come to have it rebuilt?”

When asked about the situation regarding food and medicine in the northern areas of the Gaza Strip, he said: “There is no medicine and food for our children at the moment. We can bear such circumstances, but the children’s immunity is weak… The Israeli occupation forces are fighting the children and women.”

According to Kaskeen, he tried to shelter his family in one of the buildings in the area which is still under construction. “I am tired, I don’t know what to do. I went to schools but found them destroyed; I went to the Egyptian Towers but they were also destroyed.”

The Israeli army left a swathe of destruction in the areas it attacked, which became very apparent after their withdrawal from several areas in the north of the enclave. That’s when Palestinians posted videos on social media showing the scale of the destruction.

On Thursday, the Israeli army withdrew from several areas in the north of Gaza City and other areas in the north of the territory for the first time since the start of its military ground operation on 27 October.

The apartheid state has since been engaged in a genocidal offensive in Gaza, which has killed at least 27,585 Palestinians and wounded 66,978 others. Although nearly 1,200 Israelis were said to have been killed in the Hamas incursion in Israel on 7 October, it has since been revealed that a number were killed by the Israel Defence Forces.

The Israeli offensive has left 85 per cent of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine. At least 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

READ: Israel to discuss Hamas response to ceasefire proposal

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.