Palestinian Exodus From Rafah: ‘Where Do We Go?’

Palestinian journalist Yousef Fares reports from Gaza for Al-Akhbar.

This is the eighth time that Mohammed Abu Amsha has been displaced. His journey in search of safety has taken him from the city of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip to the Nuseirat refugee camp, then to Maghazi, then Khan Yunis, and finally to Rafah. At each stop, the man moved from one house to another, from one shelter to a hospital. Yesterday, Abu Amsha packed his bags and returned from the Shaboura camp to the Nuseirat camp. The 30-year-old man says to Al-Akhbar, “By God, I don’t know where I’m going. I have a family to care for, and the shrapnel burned the tents we were sleeping in two days ago. I’m heading from Rafah into the unknown. They told us Rafah was safe, but if it is safe and they killed more than 100 martyrs in one night, what would they do if it were a battlefield?”

The road from the eastern and western neighborhoods of Rafah, passing through the al-Awda junction, is crowded with thousands of families who have boarded cars, trucks, and carts pulled by animals, carrying with them tents and firewood. On all departing faces, even those overwhelmed by gloom and silence, one phrase is read and heard from those speaking: “Where do we go?” For these people, the repeated Israeli threats against the city of Rafah necessarily imply an intention and plan to invade the city.

As for the hundreds of statements issued by the international community and national capitals, Abu Khalil Al-Muzayn describes them as follows: “If they were useful, they would have stopped the dozens of massacres that started in northern Gaza and will end in Rafah. This war has proven that Israel is not accountable to anyone. If it decides to invade the city, it will trample over the skulls of a million displaced people without any humanitarian restraint, so there is no way we can leave the fate of our families to analysts and estimates.”

As for the living conditions in Rafah, a reliable source in the Government Emergency Committee of Gaza confirms that the city has plunged into a food crisis. This is exacerbated by the Israeli occupation’s blockade that has been preventing aid trucks from entering for over a week. The source adds in conversation with Al-Akhbar, “Everything that enters represents just a drop in the ocean of daily needs. We are talking about nearly a million and a half people squeezed into an area not exceeding 30 kilometers. With the limited aid entering, there is a shortage of many products, and there has been a significant increase in the prices of basic goods, including vegetables.” He pointed out, for example, that “the price of a kilo of onions has reached 50 shekels, while a single pack of baby diapers is nearly $100.”

As the international warnings about catastrophic consequences in the event of the occupation army storming the city of Rafah continue to grow, writer and political analyst Ismail Mohammed believes that the totality of warnings about the Israeli ground operation in the southern city is not aimed at preventing the occupation from doing it, but is a warning addressed to the Hamas movement. A warning that urgent concessions should be made at the negotiating table to prevent the tragedy that will start with a ground operation in the city. “It is understandable that everything that the enemy is doing now is seeking to achieve victories at the negotiating table, and it is even more understandable that the world, which could not stop Israel’s crimes that have been going on for 130 days, will not stop them today,” Mohammed adds. “Israel, all Arab and regional countries, and the international community stand as one front to exert pressure on the resistance at the negotiating table. Therefore, there is a high possibility of a military invasion of Rafah.”

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