29th December 2008, Rafah, Gaza Strip:
A resident of Yibna camp is staying in his house despite the evacuation of the camp by the Red Crescent following expectations of intensified Israeli attacks on the area.
In Yibna Camp in Rafah, Ahmed Mansour has been forced to choose between his life and his home.
“I cannot leave my home. If I leave and they destroy it, what can I come back to? They have taken away any stability in my life, I will not give up my house. I know the Israeli’s will destroy homes close to the border, but I cannot leave.”
This night, the Red Crescent in Gaza is evacuating people from the neighborhoods in Rafah located along the border with Egypt. Mansour has ensured that every one of his family members is in another location, away from a probable incursion. He has decided to stay in his home tonight.
Since the deadly air strikes by the Israeli Air Force, Mansour’s family has been abandoning their homes at midnight to stay in other areas of Gaza. The twenty-two members of his family must find relatives and friends to stay with on a nightly basis, for fear of attacks in the Rafah area. They come back in the early morning, hoping that their houses are intact and that they can still return. The air strikes against Palestinians in Gaza are not restricted to one area, so every time they leave Rafah it is in hope that another area will be less dangerous.
He is one of the 1.5 million people that have no choice, but to make impossible decisions. Civilians are left with one option, to hope that their homes are not the targets of Israel’s military offensive.
Mansour is staying in his house, the last piece of his former life.
“Under the guise of humanitarian efforts, people are being informed that their homes are about to be destroyed. After an inhumane siege that left Gaza with little to lose, people are being asked to say goodbye to the last remains of their former lives. ” Fida Qishta, Palestinian resident of Rafah, International Solidarity Movement
“After days of coordinated bombings all over Gaza, the pretense of avoiding civilian casualties is nonsensical. The offensive bombing of sites in Gaza has already lead to over 300 deaths and 1,000 injuries. To pretend that Israel wants to avoid unnecessary deaths is to ignore the facts.” Jenny Linnel, British citizen, International Solidarity Movement