• Khan Younis

  • Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 6:36:34 AM
    Last Update : Monday, March 11, 2024 at 2:10 PM

Displaced Palestinians keep Their Home Keys in The Hope of Returning to Gaza

(AWP) - Displaced Palestinian Sami Abu Hamad feels the keys to the house he left behind in the town of Abasan al-Kabira in Khan Yunis, as he hangs on to the hope of returning one day despite the continuous Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip for five months.

“These are the keys to my house, which we left in the war with the understanding that we would return, but unfortunately there is no home or place left to return to. This is a decisive war, rather a final war, because what happened during it equals what took place over the course of the past hundred years,” he said.

“Enough of the displacement, injustice, and oppression of our Palestinian people, who have endured so much. We used to hear slogans about the peoples of the world and stories about the world's revolutions and what happened in them. All of that is simple compared to what is happening to the Palestinians in the current war. This war destroyed people, trees and stones. Even the graves of the dead were not spared,” Abu Hamad added.

Despite the overwhelming feelings of oppression and fatigue, the 62-year-old is still adamant to return and rebuild the house he describes as his homeland.

“I will go to the ruins of my house and do everything I can to live above my house, even if it is destroyed. I will plant trees again and build a house again. We will live on our land, and we will not do without our homes, even if they are destroyed,” he added.

Sami’s mother lost the door of her house, which she left when she was displaced from the city of Jaffa in 1948, under the rubble of her house recently bulldozed by Israeli tanks in Abasan al-Kabira.

After living through the displacement catastrophe of Nakba in 1948 and the following countless wars in Palestine over the past century, the old lady still keeps the images of her memories.

“I have witnessed all the migrations, but I have never experienced anything like this. This war has destroyed people, and by God, we are no longer able to bear it,” she bitterly said after her displacement due to the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

The keys to destroyed homes in Gaza are a symbol of the Palestinians’ rejection to displacement. They keep them as an expression of their commitment to return home at some point.

Amjad Abu Amer says that the keys to his house, which was demolished by an Israeli raid in Abasan al-Kabira, represent a painful memory that he will never forget.

Nonetheless, he guards the hope of returning no matter what happens.

“This key is a symbol that forever immortalises a memory that we will never forget, for homes of which nothing remains except these keys. God willing, we will return home, even after a while. We will return, as long as my key is in my hand, I will return to my home, God willing,” Amjad Abu Amer said.

In a tradition that has its roots in the history of the Palestinian cause, many people still keep the keys to the homes from which they, their families, and their grandparents were displaced in the past century, beginning with the 1948 Nakba and ending with the ongoing war.