• Khan Yunis

  • Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at 1:29 PM
    Last Update : Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 5:29 AM

Um Yasser’s Emotional Glimpse of Peace After Truce Extension for Two More Days

(AWP) - An elderly Palestinian woman living with her large family in tents on the roadside near the remains of her house describes the tragic circumstances she faces after Israeli forces bombed her home in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip.

Hajja Um Yasser al-Qarra retrieved cooking pots from the rubble and brought firewood to light the fires, as a clay oven is her only means of preparing whatever food she can for her extended family of more than 50 people.

On the sideroad in the town of Khuzaa, east of Khan Yunis, she cooks as much as she can to feed her many grandchildren, who gather around the clay oven waiting for a loaf of bread that might be their only meal of the day.

The 71-year-old woman explains that their food consists solely of bread and lentils, a meal she can only cook after borrowing ingredients from her neighbours.

She says, “We received this as charity from the neighbours. We made this and baked bread, but it’s not enough for the whole family. How can it be enough for seven families when each family has seven, eight, or ten children? What is one person’s share? We manage it with care. Life is management. The war is ongoing and we are living our lives by managing.”

With the outbreak of the war and the bombing of her home, Um Yasser and her large family were forced to evacuate to a school affiliated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), where they faced very harsh living conditions.

She returned to the area near the rubble of where her destroyed house once stood after the truce between Hamas and Israel began on Friday morning.

She lives under extreme anxiety, fearing that negotiations to extend the truce, which was meant to end on Tuesday morning, would collapse.

Like all Gaza residents, Um Yasser received two more days of tense peace after the Qatari mediator announced that Hamas and Israel had agreed to an extension.

However, she lives in constant fear that brings her to tears. Any mistake or incident could claim the lives of her children and grandchildren, who live out in the open not far from the Khan Yunis border with Israel.

Wiping away her tears she says, “I cry because of what I see. You can see for yourself... you know the destruction that occurred. They destroyed our homes. There are three or four [destroyed] floors and there are two floors that you saw with your own eyes. I mean, life is difficult. One cannot bear seeing their own house demolished before their eyes. When the news came to me [that my house was bombed] – may God protect you from my evil – when I received the news... they said the houses had been demolished... I said, is it possible? They said yes."