Monday, July 19, 2010

200 Palestinians homeless 18 months after war

Eighteen months ago, Israel led an armed offensive against Hamas ruled Palestine. The Israeli army bulldozed buildings close to the border when they entered the territory.

The demolition of those houses made for new homeless people within Gaza. Eighteen months after the war, 225 families who had their homes destroyed still haven't found a place to live.

The blockade against Gaza has made it difficult to rebuild. As the blockage does not allow for any construction equipment to pass the borders. Israel fears that equipment will be used to make weapons.

From this Associated Press story that we found at WPIX, writer Karoun Demirjian describes the conditions for the Awaja family.

A bulldozer flattened the Awajas' house on the first full day of Israel's ground offensive, when tanks and troops swept into Gaza neighborhoods near the Israeli border.

As the family fled, bullets hit Kamal, 49, his wife Wafa, 34, and their 8-year-old son Ibrahim — who bled to death in the street.

After a brief stay with Kamal's first wife — he has two, but is separated from the first — and her seven children in their tiny apartment in Gaza City, the Awajas pitched a tent on government land near Beit Lahiya. Municipal officials told them to vacate.

"I told them I'm not leaving... I'm afraid to go back there, close to the border," Kamal said.

They now occupy three tents and have had a sixth child, a baby girl named Leyali.

They tether the tent to the ground with cinderblocks and rugs. They siphon electricity from nearby lines to power a refrigerator, microwave, oven, TV and computer, all salvaged from their old home or smuggled through underground tunnels that connect Gaza to Egypt.

Wafa is constantly busy cleaning wind-blown dust off dishes and clothes, chasing away rats and stray dogs, and protecting belongings from thieves.

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