Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Yasser Abu Moailek's Letter From Gaza

Three Years On, Israeli Soldiers Still Occupy Gaza Family's Home

Yasser Abu Moailek's Letter From Gaza


For Nafez Abu Nahyeh, the imminent Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is his only chance at regaining his former normal life, one in which he did not have to share his home with the enemy.

Every morning Abu Nahyeh wakes up from a disturbed sleep, as he is reminded of the fact that, for more than three years now, he and his family have always begun the day to the accompaniment of the thuds and rumblings of the Israeli soldiers who occupy their house's rooftop.

"I dream about their disappearance every single day, but when I wake up they're still there, enforcing their positions more than ever. And I know that the nightmare goes on," he said grimly.

On March 6, 2002, Israeli forces seized Abu Nahyeh's 300-square-meter, three-storey house, in which he, his wife and their four children live near the central Gaza Strip town of Deir El Balah.

The soldiers transformed the house into a military outpost, claiming that this measure was necessary to ensure security for the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom, approximately 500 meters north of the house.

Abu Nahyeh cannot even begin to imagine that the nearby settlement will soon be evacuated and that the Israeli occupation of Gaza is about to end.

"Only a few days ago [the soldiers] opened big holes in my roof and brought in more heavy guns," he said wearily. "When I asked them what they were doing they ordered me to shut up and go away."

The Abu Nahyehs are prisoners in their own home as the Israeli soldiers do not allow them to leave the house all at once, demanding the presence of at least two residents when someone wants to leave. Neither is the family allowed to go up to the roof without coordinating with the soldiers and obtaining their approval.

In addition, the Abu Nahyehs have been denied access to their nearby agricultural land, because of its proximity to the settlement, and are thus deprived of a significant source of livelihood.

"With every passing day that they occupy the house, I lose hope in the withdrawal. I want them to go away and leave us alone," Abu Nahyeh said, adding that he missed having a normal home life, free of military orders and random gunshots.

"We cannot invite guests to our home anymore and we cannot participate in social events as a family, as some of us always need to stay home to comply with the Israeli orders, and we are also not allowed into the house if we return late at night." Abu Nahyeh said.

Life in the house is also constantly being interrupted by the noise and movements of the heavily armed Israeli soldiers, who use the same staircase the family uses when they go out of the house or change shifts.

Describing their situation as "living in a border crossing", Abu Nahyeh explained that the Israeli soldiers open the house's door for the family members when they return "home", and search all their personal belongings and the things they bring back with them.

"If a guest decides to visit us, we have to inform the soldiers of his name and ID card, and when he arrives, he must undergo a thorough security search, as if he were passing through a military checkpoint," Abu Nahyeh said.

Due to these measures many of the family's friends and relatives have stopped visiting and the family itself has stopped receiving invitations to attend social events, "because either they know we won't be able to attend or there's no one willing to venture into our area to deliver the invitation".

Abu Nahyeh used to own and operate a currency-exchange shop in Deir El Balah, but after the occupation of his house and the strict measures imposed upon his movements, he was obliged to close the shop, incurring immense losses and falling into dire economic conditions.

As a matter of fact, the Abu Nahyeh's situation, while sounding surreal, is actually not such a rare occurrence in the Gaza Strip. The presence of several Palestinian houses around the 21 Jewish settlements throughout the Strip has prompted Israeli forces to either demolish or commandeer these houses and turn them into "free-of-charge" outposts, under security pretenses.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza has asserted that occupying these houses and forcing some residents to stay inside at all times aims to create "human shields" for the occupying soldiers, thereby preventing Palestinian militants from targeting the house due the presence of civilians inside at all times.

With the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza just a couple of weeks away, Abu Nahyeh dares to hope for an end to his nightmare.

"I always feed the hope inside me with the notion that this occupation is ending, sooner or later, and that my family and I will return to our previous life - to the happiness and security we yearn for with every sunrise."


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news