‘We Will Never Leave Gaza’: Palestinians in the Devastated Strip are More Rooted than Ever

Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip continue. (Photo: The Palestine Chronicle)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

Will Israel succeed in displacing Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip? The Palestine Chronicle spoke to Palestinians on the ground. 

Will Israel succeed in displacing Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip? 

This question has dominated much of the discussion following the Israeli war on Gaza which has killed, to this date, nearly 5,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and wounded over 14,000 more. 

The Israeli war on the Gaza population followed a daring attack by Hamas fighters at Israeli targets, which killed, according to Israeli sources, over 1,400 people, including hundreds of soldiers and also civilians. 

The war on Gaza was ultimately the war on the Gaza population, especially as news began emerging since the start of the war that Israel intends to forcefully displace Palestinians from their homeland, particularly into the Egyptian desert. 

On October 8, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip, saying that the Israeli army would turn the region “into rubble”, the Turkish Anadolu agency reported. 

Egypt, along with other Arab countries, strongly opposed the dispossession of Palestinians, mostly for their own national security, as clearly conveyed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. 

But little media coverage has been given to the population of Gaza, which told the Palestine Chronicle that they have no intention to leave their homes, no matter the consequences. 

The steadfastness of Gazans was communicated best by Gazan intellectual Hibah Abu Nada, who was killed on October 20 by an Israeli shelling of Al-Zahra, in the central Gaza Strip.

“In heaven, there is a new Gaza, without siege, which is being built right now,” she wrote on Facebook.

“If we die, please know that we are contented, and steadfast. Convey to the world that we are a people of justice, whether those who die or those who wait for liberation.” 

This sentiment is being felt all across the devastated Strip. 

Mohammed Ismail, a young refugee in his 20s, from the Nuseirat refugee camp, was ready to get married to the love of his life, a refugee girl from the same overcrowded camp in central Gaza. 

His fiancée was killed by Israel, but Ismail told the Palestine Chronicle that he will remain steadfast, as all the people of Gaza. 

Baha’ al-Din Adnan is a Gaza lawyer, who has lost nine members of his family, and 20 members of his wife’s family. 

“Even then, we will never leave Gaza. Our generation will not go down in history as the one who left the land of their birth,” he told the Palestine Chronicle. 

“For us, Gaza is everything, and we will only leave it to go back to our original towns and villages that the (Israeli) occupation has stolen in 1948.” 

Sumiya al-Jamal, 57, knows too well what happens to Palestinians who are forced to leave their land, they are never allowed to return. 

Her family originally came from Aqer, a Palestinian village that was destroyed by Israel in 1948. 

“My father told me how my grandfather, Ahmed, refused to leave Aqer,” when Zionist militia attacked the village 75 years ago. 

“He refused to leave, remained committed to his land, fought the occupation until he was killed in the village’s school,” she said. 

“In this war, I lost my brother, and his whole family. My childhood home, filled with memories, was destroyed, but I will take the same path as my grandfather. I will not leave Gaza. If I do, it is only to Aqer.” 

Mohammed Abu ‘Oun is an English teacher in the Bureij refugee camp. He lost his son and daughter in an Israeli strike at their home. 

“The thing that hurts me most is that I cannot retrieve their bodies, still trapped under the rubble. They have been there for days,” he told the Palestine Chronicle. 

Yet, Abu ‘Oun vehemently rejected the idea of leaving Gaza under any circumstances.

Here in Gaza, no one is even entertaining the idea of leaving, and the more civilians are killed in Israeli attacks, the more rooted people become. 

Leaving means betraying the legacy of those who died, those who are fighting, and those whose bodies are yet to be recovered from underneath the rubble. 

– Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist and writer. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a contributor for The Palestine Chronicle from the Gaza Strip. His email is abdallahaljamal1987@gmail.com

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