Mohammed Al-Diri, a Palestinian national, misses the many wonderful, joyful times he shared with his family in his home throughout the years, especially during Ramadan.
Al-Diri and his family of seven have been living in a leased house since last Ramadan, after their residence in Gaza City’s Al-Sabra district was devastated by Israeli bombs.
The attacks also destroyed sixteen flats, which housed roughly 120 people; the residents are currently living in rented homes as refugees, with the rent paid by the UN Relief and Works Agency.
“It is our fate to be displaced over the years,” Al-Diri said. “Our grandfathers were displaced from Sarafand during the 1948 Nakba, and we, too, have suffered the anguish of displacement after 70 years.”
He stated, “We have lost our home and everything we own.”
This is Al-and Diri’s his family’s first Ramadan outside of the neighborhood where he was born and raised for many years. “Houses are more than just structures constructed of stone; they are our safe havens where we have created memories and spent wonderful days.” These are things that we miss now, and I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to spend Ramadan with my children for the first time,” he said.
During Ramadan, families like the Al-miss Diri’s out on social gatherings and prayers with their neighbors.
Al-Diri and hundreds of other Palestinians who lost their houses during the war hoped to rapidly rebuild and return to them, but due to the slow speed of the rehabilitation process, they are now living in a different reality.
According to official numbers from Hamas’ Ministry of Public Works and Housing, barely 5% of what was destroyed in Gaza has been rebuilt. Many people in Gaza share Al-and Diri’s his family’s feelings of despair and concern.
According to data from Gaza’s Government Information Office, war has destroyed or severely damaged 1,335 housing units, while another 12,886 have been partly or partially affected.
Alaa Shamali has experienced homelessness twice: once when an Israeli airstrike demolished his family’s home in the Shejaiya district of Eastern Gaza in 2014, and again after his apartment, which he had purchased in installments, was completely damaged during the last war.
Shamali, a local journalist, claimed that an Israeli bombardment demolished the apartment building where he and his family of five lived.
He and his family miss their flat, which he described as a “dream abode,” where they spent the Ramadan months. “We only lived in the flat for a few years, but it is filled with a lot of love and great memories, which we miss during Ramadan,” he said.
“The atmosphere of Ramadan this year is different, and it is overwhelmed by sadness, pain, and even a great deal of despair,” Shamali continued.
Shamali and his family’s Ramadan practices reflected their melancholy thoughts. He did not purchase the Ramadan lanterns and decorations that the family usually purchases to decorate their home this year.
“Ramadan arrives in Gaza this year in difficult circumstances, and not just for those whose homes have been damaged. “Everyone in Gaza is suffering from terrible living conditions, which have lately exacerbated as a result of the significant price increase,” he stated.