GAZA, September 16, 2014 (WAFA) – Palestinian Saber al-Maghni’s attempts to find his home in Shujaya neighborhood, east of Gaza, have failed due to the complete change in the features of the area, which became unrecognizable as a result of the Israeli aggression.
Al-Maghni’s home, which has completely vanished, was bombarded during the Israeli aggression on Gaza, which began on July 8th and lasted for almost 50 days before a ceasefire agreement was reached under the Egyptian auspices.
Al Maghni, 30, along with many other Palestinians who were displaced due to the aggression, took the opportunity of a brief humanitarian ceasefire, which took place on July 26th, and returned to their neighborhood en masse, wandering through the bombarded streets in search of their homes, but to no avail.
‘It’s as if the ground has opened up and swallowed everything,’ described the residents.
“A lifetime of hard work was gone in a matter of seconds …Allah is sufficient for me and how fine a trustee he is,” stammered Maghni, whose clothes were covered with dust from the rubble.
Al-Maghni kept on searching for any sign that could lead him to his house, asking friends and relatives to help him find his ‘beautiful home’, which he has not finished paying for.
“I moved to my [new] house seven months before the aggression began,” said heartbroken Maghni with teary eyes that turned red from the intensity of his anger, while several of his relatives attempted to calm and comfort him.
He went on explaining that he had to borrow money in order to be able to build the house he always dreamed of, stressing that it was deliberately destroyed by Israel during its onslaught on Gaza.
Whole neighborhoods were wiped away as if nothing and no one has been there before.
A member of Mehesen family said: “In al-Qubba area, located to the east of Shujaya, some of my relatives owned around 70 dunums of land planted with years-old olive trees; not a single branch was left.”
“Cattle and poultry farms were buried under the ground,” he said, adding that more than 30 houses belonging to his relatives were also bombarded at al-Qubba area.
Mohammad Faraj, another resident from Shujaia, added: “the occupation forces destroyed my 5-storey house, which can no longer be found after it was buried under the ground, leaving 10 of my family members without a shelter.’
Other residents from Harara family added that almost 20 houses belonging to their relatives, located in Al-Matar Street, were either leveled to the ground or buried under it.
Roads, power and telephone poles, in addition to infrastructure, were also a target of the deliberate bulldozing and destruction.
To the north of Gaza lies the town of Beit Hanoun, where the situation does not differ much from that in Shujaya; residential areas were also bombarded and destroyed by Israeli bulldozers and artillery attacks.
Abu Ahmad al-Kafarneh, a local resident whose house was destroyed, said: “citrus trees, which Beit Hanous in famous for, in addition to almond and olive trees, were not an exclusion from the destruction.”
The Gaza Under Fire Report of the Palestine Liberation Organization has showed that 9,600 structures were demolished, 7,600 structures were partially demolished, 40,000 homes were damaged and 277 schools were also damaged; 141 government schools and 136 UNRWA-run schools.
Almost 2130 people, most of whom are civilians, mainly children and women, were killed and more than 40,000 homes were destroyed either totally or partially. An estimated 500,000 people have become homeless or left their homes seeking shelter in safer places.