Thursday, May 22, 2008
Rami Almeghari writing from occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 21 May 2008
"At the southernmost area of the Gaza Strip, where the Philadelphia route separates the coastal enclave from Egypt, there are scores of knocked down buildings. The destruction dates back to 2002, when Israeli army bulldozers demolished the houses of the Palestinian inhabitants of this border line.
Among the houses that used to stand here was that of Ali Shaath, a 75-year-old Palestinian refugee from the Beer al-Saba' village of historical Palestine, the current site of the Israeli town of Beer Sheva.
Ali's 39-year-old son, Marwan Ali Shaath, relayed the story of what he called "a Nakba [catastrophe] of my own, other than that my father had endured in 1948."
"Lucky me, my father lived two Nakbas, but I only lived one, maybe because I am younger. Or maybe I will be forced to live one more Nakba, who knows," said Marwan satirically.
"Our family house was placed exactly here before it was knocked down in 2002 by the Israeli army bulldozers," Marwan said, pointing at the ruins of a two-story building, home to all members of Ali's family.......
The story of 77-year-old refugee Rezeq Abu Taialakh, a neighbor of Marwan at the Badr refugee camp, demonstrates that the Palestinian story is one of constant dispossession. "I shot back at the Jewish armed groups in Beer al-Saba' while I was only 18 years old. Since 1948, up to this moment, we have been forced to move from a place to another, from Beer al-Saba' to Khan Younis refugee camp, to Abbassan, to Rafah and [within] Rafah again."
Rezeq added, "We have suffered quite a lot in this life, moving from one refuge to another. We ask God to relieve us and take our rights back from such repressors."
However, as Palestinians young and old cope with the ongoing Nakba, in the Gaza Strip such relief seems far off as Israeli media report that the Israeli army is ready to carry out a massive military offensive in the Strip to stamp out the Palestinian resistance. Israel acknowledging the Palestinians' right to return, enshrined in international law and upheld by numerous UN resolutions, seems as far off as ever.
"As you see, my brother, I am wrapping my tent. Maybe I or my children might need it one day," said Marwan."