"March 2 Incursion" Khan Yunis by PrincessTigra
Khan Yunis Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 3 photos
On February 28, we arrived in Gaza. The Gaza checkpoint was much larger than what I had seen in the West Bank. It looked and felt like a prison. We had our passports checked on the Israeli side, and received clearance to enter. We walked a couple of minutes towards the next checkpoint; two young IDF officers greeted us. There was a problem with our paperwork, so I sent Ben back to take care of it, and hung out with the officers. One was 18 and the other19, they asked if I felt safe in Israel, and if it was safer than NYC. I told them the only time I didn’t feel safe was when we were tear gassed in Dehesia. Neither of the boys had ever been in the occupied territories, but urged me to be safe. Ben and I continued on.
After a long walk we arrived at the PLO checkpoint. It seemed they were trying to have some resemblance of authority in the reoccupied area. The two guards, took our passports into a small shack, asked us what we were doing there, and waved us through. I can’t help but wonder if they were the two guards killed last week at the checkpoint.
Ten minutes later we arrived at the Al Mezan Center for Human Right’s, where we met Muhmoud, a 30 year old Palestinian who Ben worked with last year. Muhmoud took us to his house where we stayed while in Gaza. His wife, who is my age 26, made us dinner while we played with their three children, then turned in for the night.
The next morning we got up, and took a cab to Khan Younis, where Muhammad, a field officer for Al Mezan, was to take us to the latest home demolition. The Israelis had pulled out of the area within the last hour, but it was still chaos. While on the main street we found ourselves in the middle of what turned into a mini rally, it was a procession of about a two hundred people, returning from the hospital back to the demolition site. They were chanting “God it Great” in Arabic, holding Hamas flags, and firing guns into the air, this was a bit unnerving.
This demolition had taken the lives of three people, two of which were children, injured dozens, and left over eighty people homeless. The news and IDF reported there had been firing from the house, but after being there I saw that it was logistically impossible because other buildings around it were higher, and the only clear view to the Israeli side was too far away to facilitate small arms fire. Although only one “home”, and to clarify all the homes there are apartment buildings, was to be demolished, the one across the street was shelled, and the two building on either side were severely damaged. The building to the left was another apartment building, which was not uninhabitable, and to the right was a Mosque, which I could only see partial damage of because females are not allowed inside.
The site was filled with hundreds of people digging through rubble, trying to find salvageable personal belongings. This place made the West Bank look like a 5-star resort. Women were wailing, they would occasion look at me and scream, “Why, Why,” in Arabic. I had no answer for them. As I stood on top of what used to be a seven-story building, I saw why many of the people of Palestine have little hope.
As I walked around, surveyed the damage, and took pictures, children would surround me, and ask where I was from. I always answered America, although the thought of answering Canada did cross my mind, and they would say, “Good people, bad government.” It was amazing that children in these conditions could still differentiate, I could not have blamed them if they had not. The kids followed me everywhere, as there are few westerners in Gaza, and even fewer western women. I kept finding myself telling them to be careful, and worried about their safety, as most of them were barefoot. They climbed through the rubble, over jagged pieces of concrete, through the sewage, over exposed electrical wire barefoot, but they were concerned about the Israelis that had them in the sites of their guns, not a tetanus shot.
We then hiked into the home of Ramiz, who had lived in the building next to the actual demolition target. He and his son sifted through piles of concrete and rubble, his son was trying to find his schoolbooks and papers.
Most of southen Gaza is very conservative and women are not allowed to smoke in public. Most individuals will not care,... more travel advice
It customary to eat while sitting on the floor with you shoes removed. more travel advice
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