Thaer Al Sheesh, 30, father of three girls and a four-months-old boy, from Beit Lahiya, had his house destroyed in the last war almost three years ago. He is still living in a tent with his 53-year-old mother, Intisar, and his family, as they wait for their house to be rebuilt. His baby was recently attacked by a dog which entered their tent at night
Life is difficult and there is no work. There is the blockade, too. I used to work in a sewing factory. I used to earn 30-40 shekels per day. Since the blockade was imposed, work stopped and the sewing work came to halt. This has affected all youth, not just me. After that, the war started and we got displaced when our house was bombed. We took refuge in shelter schools that were open for the displaced. We stayed there during the war, which was very hard on us. Children were dying, my daughters were terrified; we were all terrified. It wasn’t just us, but the whole Gaza Strip was terrified.
When the war ended, we returned home and we found that it was completely destroyed. We stayed again in schools for a while, then we rented a house for a month or two. I had no money to pay the rent, nor work. The landlord used to come to me asking for rent and I couldn’t pay him. So Ibuilt a tent and stayed in it for three years, while waiting for Gaza to be rebuilt. We’re still living in it.
The crossings were closed, there was no money flowing into Gaza. It was difficult for everyone to survive. I wanted to work but where could I find a job? We used to get our basics from the mini market without paying for months, then when I receive some money after three months, it would be entirely used to pay my dues to the shop. I need milk for my children, diapers, food, beverages, cooking gas... I’d like to have a fridge and an oven, and many other things for my children, but I can’t get them.
We are alive now because death hasn’t bothered to take us yet. It will be way better for us to die, as we won’t face problems anymore. Death is mercy for us, more merciful than our current life. Those who have others to back them up will live well, and those who don’t, will not.
We hope the crossings would open, everyone gets whatever he or she wishes for, and that people can travel to earn money, which is better than sitting and doing nothing. We’re hoping to migrate to Athens, which is better than our life here. We’re living in a tent here among dogs, donkeys, cats, rats and other animals. Life is too difficult. I hope I can live with my wife and kids in a house just to secure shelter. I hope the UN supports Israelis and Palestinians to make peace. I hope they end the blockade and I hope peace prevails between us and Israel. We just want to live in peace, two countries without any war.
Photo: Ahmad Mashharawi/NRC
4 May, 2017