Gaza, (Palestine Telegraph) Elderly man, Haj Salem, displaced 4 times in 70 years.
Elderly man, Salim Awwad Abu ‘ Amra, 75 years represents the Palestinian cause through his history which included many displacement and displacement.
At Deir al-Balah prep school, Abu Amra lay down on his mattress which he carried from his house before he fled along with over a thousand civilians who escaped with him from Eastern areas of Deir Al Balah.
Abu Amra who can’t remember his date of birth, said that he lived the early life with his family in Beer Sheva. He remembers how he became refugee with his family for the first time at the age of 10.
“We ran away from our houses because of the bombing of Israeli aircrafts. On the way, Israel built the barriers and checkpoints to kill the youths. We escaped from the military jeeps by walking in rugged roads to avoid death.” Added the old man.
After that his father was killed on their way to Gaza strip, where Israeli soldier shot him dead while he was on the camel. Then the family returned to his town to bury the father before they continue their journey to Gaza where they settled in Al mawasi area in the city of Khan Yunis.
Abu Amra got married at the age 20, on august 1957. He has 36 sons and grandchildren. His eldest son is aged 60 years died in an accident in Deir Al Balah.
He recalled the memories of his house which was a prison like due to its close location to the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom East of Deir Al Balah, at the beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada in the year 2000. He was not allowed to leave his house after 4 pm as ordered by Israeli army via sound speaker every day. His house was circulated by sand barriers placed by Israeli army.
Abu Amra was displaced for the second time from his house during the war in 2008 where he took refuge at his cousin’s house in Al Hikr area in Deir Al Balah. He was forced to leave his house due to the intensity of rockets and bombs that fell near his home where dozens of people killed.
His third time of displacement has was repeated during the war of 2012. He left his home to the UN shelters located within the schools which have been opened to receive displaced people western Deir Al Balah.
Since the start of this 2014 war, Abu Amra and his family have to escaped their home for the fourth time because the location of his house eastern Deir Al Balah which was exposed to Israeli tank shelling and bombings.
“I want to go back to my home even though I know its ruins and rubble, I know that the house has been destroyed because it is made of asbestos. They evacuated us by ambulances”
During talking with Abu Amra, he pointed that this war is the most difficult and the hardest one since the war 1956, where the Israel occupation burnt the youth then killed them in Gaza strip.
Few meters away, Al Hajja Rabe’a Mosleh 90 years old sat where Israel occupation destroyed her home few days ago in Al magazi are. She escaped with her kids coincidently few seconds before bombing her home.
Moslah said “I left my village in 1948 when Israelis were committing crimes and killing. My father, uncles were killed before my eyes. Later, my son was killed in Gaza in Deir Al balah and the second was killed in Al Burej refugee camp. I was displaced in 2008 and again now.”