Home News Egypt to resume aid deliveries to Gaza

Egypt to resume aid deliveries to Gaza


Faced with the prospect of another uprooting of Gazans who have been forced from their homes time and again during more than seven months of Israeli incursions and bombardments, some residents of Rafah have at least temporarily postponed leaving.

More than 800,000 Palestinians have fled the southern city of Rafah and its surroundings in the past three weeks as Israel launched a military offensive, according to the United Nations. But many are holding on to what was once considered the safest part of the Gaza Strip, where more than a million people have sought refuge.

They are exhausted, hungry, and know that the next place they flee to will likely not be safe either. Israel continues to bomb Gaza, even in areas previously designated as safe.

This month, Israeli forces dropped leaflets in eastern Rafah ordering people to evacuate and launched a military offensive that is moving deeper into the city. The United Nations’ highest court appears to have ordered Israel to stop the offensive, but Israel has so far said it will continue.

Some people in western Rafah are waiting to be evacuated. Others have even fled and returned because they have not found safety or the necessities of life elsewhere.

“The meanest word I hate to say or hear is ‘displaced,'” Randa Naser Samoud, 30, a math teacher in northern Gaza, said Thursday as Israeli troops advanced in the Strip. To the city center“Evacuation means the loss of the value of life, and means endless suffering and pain.”

Ms. Samood, her husband, a dentist, and their three children have been displaced four times. They now live in a tent near a UN warehouse, and while their area has not yet been ordered to evacuate, about three quarters of the people around them have already fled.

As Ms. Samood was walking with one of her sons on Thursday, she saw trucks on the street being loaded with belongings of families preparing to flee.

“The topic of evacuation is not an easy one to discuss or decide,” she said. “I always discuss plans with my husband if necessary, but it’s still hard to decide.”

Her father suggested they move to a school in the city that many people have fled. But Ms. Samud said the school-turned-shelter was not a good option because it lacked sanitation and was littered with garbage. She worried that the children would get sick.

Each time they are displaced, Gazans have to start over, as they often cannot take much with them. Transportation costs can run into the hundreds of dollars.

“The most horrible thought in my head was that at that moment I had to flee the tent and leave everything I had collected or bought behind,” she said, pointing to the clothes, dishes and food in the tent.

Ahlam Saeed Abu Riyala, 40, said she and her family of eight have remained in western Rafah after being displaced four times out of fear for access to water.

For months, they have lived in a tent just steps from the Egyptian border – close enough to talk to Egyptian soldiers on the other side. As Ms. Abu Rialla stood outside her tent talking to her neighbour, a nearby water truck was pumping clean drinking water for the displaced people in the camp.

“We are in a state of indecision; I think we should leave Rafah while we still can, but my husband says ‘no,’” she said. “But we cannot leave for many reasons, and water is the priority.”

The sounds of the Israeli air and ground incursions have kept them on edge. They can hear tanks, she said, and sometimes armed Israeli drones broadcasting “safe” messages in Arabic, or dogs barking.

Even if they choose to leave, the cost of such a long journey may be beyond their means.

“I was exhausted mentally, physically and financially, and the word ‘evacuate’ was enough for me,” she said. “I hated my life and all this pain.”

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