Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Living in a ruined neighborhood in Gaza

A few days ago, Hillary Clinton, in her first trip to the Middle East as secretary of state, traveled to Egypt, where Palestinian donors raised $5.2 billion for the Palestinian economy and to rebuild the destruction from last month's Israeli incursion into Gaza. The United States has pledged $900 million — $300 million will go directly to Gaza, and $600 million to the Palestinian Authority. To understand where the money for reconstruction will go, look into the eyes of 10-year-old Mahmud Khadar, and scan the wasteland that used to be his middle class neighborhood. Wonder how surreal it must be to live in a landscape that looks as shattered as your world feels.

The Khadar family, and many of their neighbors, just moved back into the concrete remains of where they lived before the war. There is no electricity, no running water. Nothing that gives the homes any advantage over the clean white tents offered to refugees by the UN. Except that a tent feels like a tent, and this new rubble, with its Daliesque patterns and nonsensical angles, feels more than ever like home.


The ruins of Hasan Abed Rabbo’s home. He says the area was “a nice village decorated with trees and beautiful houses, buildings and factories. Most of the people who live here are cultured: doctors, teachers and intellectuals.”
The ruins of Hasan Abed Rabbo’s home. He says the area was “a nice village decorated with trees and beautiful houses, buildings and factories. Most of the people who live here are cultured: doctors, teachers and intellectuals.”

A YOUNG BOY'S EYES:

As part of her first trip to the Middle East as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton traveled to Egypt last week, where donors raised $5.2 billion for the Palestinian economy and to rebuild the destruction from the Israeli incursion into Gaza. The United States has pledged $900 million in all; $300 million will go for the reconstruction of Gaza, which will be funneled through Western nongovernmental agencies to ensure it is not used by Hamas. The other $600 million will flow to the Palestinian Authority. To understand the point of the rebuilding fund, look into the eyes of 10-year-old Mahmud Khadar, standing near the remains of his home in Abed Rabbo. He’s still plagued by nightmares. In the three-week Israeli offensive in Gaza, more than 1,300 people were killed and more than 5,400 wounded, mostly civilians, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics. The Abed Rabbo neighborhood was especially hard hit. Many neighbors have moved back into the concrete remains of where they lived before the bombing. There is no electricity, no running water. Nothing that gives the homes any advantage over the clean white tents offered to refugees by the United Nations. Except that a tent feels like a tent, and this new rubble, with its Dali-esque patterns and nonsensical angles, still feels like home.

[JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

PICKING UP THE PIECES:

Children salvage designer tile from the home of Yossef Abu Eida. He had worked as a teacher in the United Arab Emirates after earning a degree from Toledo University in Ohio and later moved to Gaza, where he owned a chicken farm like the Khadars. His was destroyed, too. "I do not have a future," he says. "I have 12 sons. I do not know how to feed them."

[JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

ANY HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?

Ahmed Jonaid, right front, sits with family and neighbors in front of his home. Before the second intifada, he had worked inside Israel as a builder, but Israel closed the borders to Palestinian workers so he had to seek work in Gaza. Why did Israelis level the neighborhood? "I think the Israelis attacked our area because it is a border area with the Israeli lands and they try to secure themselves," said Hasan Abed Rabbo, whose home is shown above. Echoing other neighbors, he said no rockets were fired from the area. His family has been living in Gaza for several generations. As Secretary of State Clinton visited the Mideast, broad U.S. outlines became clear: Open doors to Syria and isolate Iran; hope to offer cover to Arab states and moderate Palestinians to negotiate with Israel, forcing Hamas to ease its hostility toward the Jewish state. Eventually that could lead to a calm in the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

[JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

Living in a ruined neighborhood in Gaza 03/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 18, 2010 11:39am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New DEP secretary says there's no conflict in political side businesses

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — When Noah Valenstein, the newly appointed head of the Department of Environmental Protection, was applying in April to be the state's top environmental regulator, he left one thing off the application: Companies he started and his wife runs have been paid nearly $1 million by politicians and lobbying …

     Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. He will take the helm on June 5, with a salary of $150,000 per year. [Florida Governor's Office]
  2. Trump says 'we can use peace' during meeting with Pope Francis

    Religion

    VATICAN CITY — President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, two leaders with contrasting styles and differing worldviews, met at the Vatican City on Wednesday, setting aside their previous clashes to broadcast a tone of peace for an audience around the globe.

    Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. [Associated Press]
  3. Pinellas construction licensing board looking for ways to fill financial hole

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board's interim leader told the governing board Tuesday that the troubled agency is looking for ways to climb out of its

  4. Adam Putnam calls for special session on medical marijuana

    Blogs

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam wants state lawmakers to come back to Tallahassee in a special session to finish the work on medical marijuana that they started but didn't finish earlier this month.

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is a candidate for governor in 2018.
  5. We Tried That: Working on a food truck for a day

    Cooking

    What we tried: It seems like everyone and their mother wants to open a food truck.

    Carlynn Crosby prepares food at the Empamamas food truck in the Cigar City Brewing parking lot in Tampa this month. For a variety of reasons, food trucking is not for the faint of heart.