Imagine your house had been bulldozed, you’d been given 5 minutes to leave it, not been allowed to collect any of those cherished possessions, you’d not had the foresight to gather all the most important documents and memorabilia and keep them by the door anticipating such an event, you’d been commanded to run away run to the nearest city or you’d be killed, you’d watched from a distance as the military dozer ate your house, and you’d been too terrified (with reason) of being shot at if you tried to later return and collect belongings …so terrified you didn’t.
That was Manwa and Sharifa, mother and daughter, living in a house just a hundred metres from Gaza’s eastern border.
Stately Manwa, short and broad and strong and smiling. A month and a half ago when we met she’d grinned, grinned, in welcome and in her customary nature. She’d already lost much of her land to Israel’s “buffer zone” the 300m (in other areas more than half a kilometer) band of land along Gaza’s borders with Israel. This ‘buffer zone’ is one of Israel’s many contrived ['for security'] land-grabs, as is the Separation Wall ['security barrier'] eating the West Bank, the closed military zones throughout the West Bank, the Jewish-only roads dissecting the West Bank, and Israel’s latest: the extended ‘buffer zone’ now declared a ‘closed military zone’ from the eastern border out 1 km. Manwa’s is but one of many households who’ve been forced off their land –in Gaza!! in Gaza!!! NOT in Israel. This is Palestinian land, it must be highlighted. Palestinian land, it must be screamed –after Israel’s military assault on Gaza (the one that has killed over 1400 now…).
At 2:30 pm January 17, 4 massive Israeli tanks and 1 towering military bulldozer accompanied a smaller military bulldozer and invading, occupying Israeli soldiers as they blazed towards Manwa’s, yelling through a megaphone, ordering them to get out of the house. Sharifa, 22, left first. Soldiers asked her if there were any men inside the house, to which she replied ‘no’. Manwa came next, also with hands in the air. The question was repeated, soldiers not believing the women could stay by themselves, telling the women as much.
It was 3 weeks after Israel’s Gaza-wide air-strikes began, and the fact that Manwa and Sharifa had stuck it out alone in that isolated area is incredible.
“They told me our house was now in a closed military zone,” Manwas said. “They said it was a ‘decision from the top’ and that we had to leave immediately and walk towards Gaza,” she said. “I refused, and tried to negotiate with them for time to gather our belongings. They refused.”
Manwa was a safe distance away, watching, when the Israeli soldiers bulldozed her house at 5 pm that day.
Read more at the In Gaza blog.
– I would go out tonight
11 months ago