Internet InfoMedia middle east crisis israel says it will send more troops to rafah defying international pressure
Internet InfoMedia 16mideast header 930amET bktq facebookJumbo

Last week, Ra’fat Abu Tueima, 62, and his family were displaced for the sixth time since the war in Gaza began, after Israel launched an offensive in parts of the southern city of Rafah that forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee.

Mr. Abu Tueima, a taxi driver before the war, is staying in a tent inside the courtyard of a United Nations-run school in the city of Khan Younis with his wife, their young son and eight children from his late first wife. Outside the school on Thursday, a few trucks carrying humanitarian aid drove down the street while children tried to grab whatever they could, a few making off with bags of sugar.

Few other relief supplies, including food or tents, are available for the thousands of Palestinians who have fled to Khan Younis over the past week and a half, since the Rafah operation began.

“No one here helped us with anything,” Mr. Abu Tueima said, beginning to break down in tears.

“Life here is not fair at all for us; we want to live in peace like others,” he said. “In Rafah, people and charities offered us a little money, but here, not one single person asked about us. No one even cares about all of those children and women here.”

Israel’s offensive in Rafah has stopped nearly all aid from getting through the two main border crossings in southern Gaza. The United Nations’ World Food Program warned on Wednesday that its food and fuel stocks would run out in a matter of days, saying in a statement that “the threat of famine in Gaza never loomed larger.”

The agency also said it had difficulty reaching its main warehouse in Rafah because of the Israeli offensive and fighting in the area.

Fuel in Gaza has been in short supply ever since Israel announced a “complete siege” of the territory on Oct. 9, two days after the Hamas-led attack. The lack of fuel has threatened the operation of trucks, hospitals, generators, sewage pumping plants, desalination systems and other basic services for 2.2 million people.

Children receiving food rations from an outdoor kitchen, in Khan Younis, on Tuesday.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

At least 600,000 people have fled Rafah in just the last week, according to the main U.N. agency that aids Palestinians, known as UNRWA. Another 100,000 have been displaced from their homes and shelters in northern Gaza amid renewed evacuation orders from the Israeli military, which said it was engaged in intense fighting with Hamas fighters who had returned to the area.

In Khan Younis, “no one is distributing anything, no one is helping, nothing enters to help the people,” said Mohammed Aborjela, who arrived from Rafah days ago. The few goods arriving in the city on commercial trucks are being sold at high prices, he said.

The 27-year-old, a project coordinator with a development organization, said that Palestinians fleeing Rafah and other areas were paying hundreds of dollars for transportation on the backs of trucks and donkey carts, leaving them little money to pay for food or tents, which sell for at least 1,000 shekels (about $270) and as much as twice that.

“People don’t have this money,” he said. “People are sleeping in the streets waiting for aid groups to come and help them build a tent.”

The Tueima family fled Rafah a week ago and managed to bring only blankets and clothes. They had to pay 250 shekels for a van to transport them from the embattled city to the U.N. school in Khan Younis where they are now sheltering.

His wife, Najah Abu Tueima, 42, miscarried with twins days into the war after the family was forced under bombardment to flee its home near the Israeli border.

“We are here on our own,” Ms. Abu Tueima said. “I’m fed up and over-exhausted with the repeated evacuation journeys and suffering.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optimized by Optimole