‘We Will Not Leave’ – Palestinians in Rafah Ask the World to Stop Israel’s Invasion

Displaced Palestinians in Rafah. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

“Stop the killing, stop the occupation’s crimes, and restore our lives,” a displaced Palestinian in Rafah told The Palestine Chronicle.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israeli occupation forces will invade the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, despite international calls to abandon the plans.

World leaders and human rights groups have repeatedly warned against a catastrophic ground offensive in the overcrowded city, where an estimated 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have been pushed to escape horrific Israeli bombardment across the Strip.

The Palestine Chronicle spoke to displaced Palestinians who are currently sheltered in makeshift refugee camps in the southern city. 

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‘We Will Not Leave Gaza’ 

“Every day, we hear statements from occupation leaders about the imminent invasion of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip,” Khader Al-Auja told The Palestine Chronicle. 

“Moreover, the occupation links the invasion of Rafah to the completion of the invasion of Khan Yunis city. These statements create fear and terror for more than 1.5 million Palestinians who have been displaced to the tents of Rafah over 80 days ago,” he added.

Al-Auja explained that all the displaced Palestinians in Rafah left their homes in the north, in Gaza City and in the central regions to flee from Israeli airstrikes. 

“The occupation declared Rafah a safe area and asked us to evacuate to it,” he said. That didn’t turn out to be the case at all. 

“We have been living in these tents in Rafah for over 80 days now, without water or food. Rainwater flooded the tents several times, and our children were exposed to cold weather,” Al-Auja continued.

“Despite all of this, we chose to stay in the tents to preserve our lives and the lives of our children. Now, the occupation has been threatening us for days, claiming that they will invade Rafah”.

“But we will stay in Rafah, and we will not leave the city except to return to our homes. We are tired of war and bombardment, and we are looking for security, but we cannot find it anywhere in the Gaza Strip,” Al-Auja concluded”.

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‘We Dream of Returning’

“Everyone knows that the occupation is working to displace the people of the Gaza Strip to Sinai, and this is what the occupation leadership announced from the early days of the war,” Samaher al-Qan, another Palestinian currently displaced in Rafah, told The Palestine Chronicle.

“The occupation pushed us to migrate towards the southern Gaza Strip, then to the Egyptian border. Now it threatens to invade Rafah to push people to migrate to Sinai, but people want to return to their homes. They do not want to leave Gaza,” she added.

Al-Qan recalled the journey she and her family undertook some weeks ago. 

“We fled from the north to Rafah city, but we will not flee from Gaza, and we will not migrate from Gaza. Every moment, we dream of returning to our homes,” she said.

“We will never leave Gaza; we were born in Gaza, and we choose to die in it rather than migrate from it.”

Commenting on the repeated threats by the occupation to invade Rafah, al-Qan told us that she expects the world to translate words into action. 

“We want real movements to stop the war and ensure a safe return to our homes. We want strong international interventions to stop the occupation’s crimes, end this war, work on rebuilding Gaza, and ensure a decent life for the besieged residents of the Strip,” she said.

“Stop the killing, stop the occupation’s crimes, and restore our lives.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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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