• Deir al-Balah

  • Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 5:20:52 AM
    Last Update : Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 5:20 AM

Displaced Palestinians Opt for Cafés to Communicate with the Outside World

(AWP) - Displaced Palestinians in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip are forced to travel long distances to reach a café in Deir al-Balah to access the internet and follow the news on TV amidst the continuous power outage and lack of services at shelter centres where they’ve been staying since the beginning of the Israeli war on October 7th.

Mohammed Abed, the café’s owner in Deir al-Balah, said about one of his customers, "He comes from far away. The shelter centres do not have electricity, television, or news. Whoever has a radio cannot buy a battery to be able to listen to the news, so he is forced to come to a place like this that has the means to follow the news – there is no other source."

Abed adds that many people have lost their jobs because of the lack of internet connecting them with their employers abroad.

He explains, “Programmers come to work from here. They say that their livelihoods could be cut off if they don’t communicate with those they work for abroad and that they cannot deliver their work and that they are helpless. When someone like an engineer comes to you, for example, and tells you that his livelihood will be cut off, what do you do? He needs electricity, he needs the internet, he needs a place to sit, because he is sitting and living on the streets.”

Yasser Washah, a displaced man from al-Nuseirat refugee camp, says that he comes to the café to access the internet and to communicate with his brothers who have become displaced across various areas of the Gaza Strip.

He says, “We come here for the internet, so I can communicate with my brothers because we are not all together. There are brothers here in Deir al-Balah, and others who went to Rafah, and some who went to Khan Yunis, so I come here for the internet, and to follow the news. There is no internet on the street or anywhere else, so we come here as a meeting point.”

According to Youssef al-Harazeen, another displaced man from Gaza City, coming to the café represents a “happy moment” for him, reminiscent of life before the war.

“This moment is a happy one, because we are communicating with family, with loved ones, with cousins, and with brothers. We feel that it compensates for a small part of what we are living through.”