The United Nations has said that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020, due to the complete economic blockade imposed by Israel. Since 2008, Gaza has experienced three wars between Israel and Hamas, causing the deaths of more than 3,550 Palestinians and 92 Israelis. Because of the restrictions on movement, Gazans are unable to flee the fighting when it breaks out. Once the fighting ends, repairing homes is nearly impossible, as Israel tightly restricts the entry of construction materials.
The Gaza-Israeli war of 2008 forever changed the life of Taha Mqat, his wife and their seven children. When the bombing started, they were at their neighbor’s house. They watched through the window as weapons destroyed their home. Mqat, overwhelmed with desperation, ran toward his house to try and save something, but to no avail, and the bomb’s phosphoric gases left two of his children permanently disabled.
After the war, Mqat and his family rented a home for two years. When they could no longer afford the rent, they moved into tents on their property for two more years. They were finally able to receive assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to rebuild their home, but the new home was damaged in the war of 2012.
Taha Mqat sits outside of his house in Gaza. MCC photo/Mostafa Al Naffar
When a ceasefire between Gaza and Israel was reached, they decided to fix their house, borrowing money from friends. But the repaired home was damaged yet again, in the fighting in 2014. Mqat says, “It is a miracle we are still alive.” All he wants, he says, is to live like any other human being: with a job, no war, in peace and security.
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