The Abu Shahla family has been living in their house in Gaza City for two weeks despite the Israeli army’s ground operations. The constant shaking of their walls and the fear in their hearts eventually forced them to leave their home. This situation reminded Amal of her grandparents’ forced displacement in 1948 during the creation of Israel, known as the Nakba or “catastrophe”. She felt like she was experiencing a similar forced displacement.
Amal described the pain of leaving her home, knowing that it would likely be destroyed, and she wouldn’t be able to return to it. The family has taken refuge in Amal’s aunt’s one-bedroom apartment along with 15 other neighbors. They are surrounded by Israeli tanks and can only leave when there is no fighting around the house. They have limited access to food, aid, and medical treatment.
Despite the difficult circumstances, the family refuses to leave Gaza City. They believe nowhere in the Gaza Strip is safe, and they fear permanent displacement. They are determined to stay steadfast in their land and confront uprooting, just like their ancestors did in 1948. Amal’s grandfather, Abu Rushdi, emphasized the importance of their land, Palestine, and their determination to stay.
The prospect of their home being demolished by Israeli bombing or bulldozers brings grief to Amal. Leaving home meant losing more than just walls and property; it meant losing their sense of familiarity and belonging in their neighborhood, city, and homeland. The family feels like refugees, torn apart from their identity.
As winter approaches, families in Gaza are vulnerable, especially with the recent end of a weeklong truce. Despite the challenges, Abu Rashdi refuses to give up and insists on staying in their land. He believes that they have the right to live and enjoy the basics of a human life in Gaza and all of Palestine once the nightmare is over. The family remains resolute in their decision to stay in Gaza City, despite the fear all around them.
World, News, Human Interest