Another Gaza generation takes flight amid fear of violence

Villagers were urged to flee for their own safety - but only found greater danger

Gaza

Jawhar al-Adar has experienced the harshness of fortune on Gaza during her life of 90 years. “I was here for the British occupation, the Egyptian occupation, then the Israelis,” she said. “The only one I missed was when the Ottomans were here”.

She has had to flee her home in the face of violence in the past and she was forced to do so again as war once again came to her village, travelling three hours on the back of a donkey to the refuge of a school.

Thirteen members of her family made the same journey, including three year old granddaughter Reem; strife spanning the generations.

Earlier this week, the Israeli military dropped leaflets, advising that Mrs al-Adar and others like her move from their homes and into Gaza City: “For your safety we demand you evacuate your houses immediately and move towards the centre of Gaza City,” the leaflets said.

Many did not find the place of safety they had expected. “We went to Gaza City, but there were bombs from the first night we got there, it just went on like that, we thought we had just come to another place to get killed” 22 year old Amir Abu-Halima was convinced.

He and 11 relations left the UN camp they had gone to as soon as they heard on the radio that an agreement had been signed. They found that half a wall of the house had gone. “They had fired something heavy through it. There was no reason to do that, we shall just have to repair it” he said. The rebuilding will have to be done with the debris and what other material is collected; cement, which can only be smuggled into Gaza because the Israelis maintain that it can be put to military use, is expensive.

Today, on the first morning of peace, Mrs Al-Adar sat in the sunshine on a plastic chair in front of the family farmhouse, dotted with bullet holes. The leaflets dropped by Israeli military asking residents in the area to leave strewn where the children, relieved to be home, played in the dust.

“We thank Allah and we thank everyone who helped to end the fighting, we don’t want this suffering to continue” she was at pains to stress. “Will the peace last? We shall all pray that it does.”

Throughout the morning, families in the villages in the north of the Strip, along the border, were returning to their lives. Some had left after shells and missiles came near their homes, others following Israeli warnings dropped from the air.

Fatria al-Ghandor was on her way back home with four of her children. They were frightened and tired. She would also have to cope with all the windows of her home being broken; there was no one to help her, she said, her husband had gone away.

The home of Munza Abu-Halima remained undamaged. But there was another problem, a farmer also holding the rank of major in Fatah, he was only too aware that the latest conflict, and the terms of the ceasefire, has greatly increased the prestige of Hamas and diminished that of his own organisation.

“Yes, Hamas did well in this. We have been negotiating for more than 60 years with the Israelis and what have we gained? We are still getting bombed, people can see that more can be gained through resistance” he observed. “What we need now is unity, Hamas and Fatah must get together and present a strong front to the outside world.”

There were plenty of unity marches through Gaza City in what has been declared ‘Day of Victory’. But there was no doubt about who held the whip hand. Hamas, by fighting back, reaching Tel Aviv with its rockets had won concessions of the kind Palestinian premier Mohammed Abbas could not achieve through talking, was the consensus on the streets.

That was certainly the message that Ishmail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister of Gaza, was eager to put over on returning from signing the deal in Cairo. “Our brave resistance fighters have changed the rules of the game. They had the Koran in one hand and the gun on the other. The option of invading Gaza has gone forever for the Israelis” he declared. “I blame the government in Ramallah who just sought justice through negotiations. It was the people demonstrating in the West Bank who showed they are with us in Gaza”.

Mr Haniyeh and the rest of the Hamas leadership went underground after the Israelis assassinated the movement’s head of the military, Ahmed al-Jabari. The killing he insisted was “silly”. It had galvanised the people into “intifada and enhada” - rising and renewal.

Mr Haniyeh was also confident enough to publicly thank Iran for the help given in launching attacks against Israel. “I thank Iran for the money, for the support and the weapons they have given us and everyone who has made it possible for us to receive these” he stated.

Some Fatah officials were keen to capitalise on the current mood. Fadhi Abu Wardha, the general secretary of its youth movement, Shabiba, kept asking people if they were aware that the Al-Aqsa brigade, its military arm, had carried out the Tel Aviv bus bombing, which injured more than 20 people on Wednesday.

He did not get a sympathetic hearing from some. “That is the reason it was so in ineffective, someone just threw a package into the bus and ran away” snorted Yassin Anwar Karim, a Hamas member. His companion, Ibrahim Raidhi pointed out that the bombing could have jeopardised the peace deal. “They do nothing to help us when we are getting all those bombs coming down on us and then they do something which could have cost us the victory in Cairo. That is what Fatah is like, they sleep and then wake up when it’s too late and do something without proper planning.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?