Surviving off one’s flattened house in Gaza

Kader sells material sifted from rubble

  • By Nasser Najjar, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:00 January 15, 2011
  • Gulf News
Abu Ali Kader

  • Abu Ali Kader sifts through the rubble of his house that was destroyed in Israeli invasion to find materials to sell.
  • Image Credit: Nasser Najjar/Gulf News
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Gaza: Hauling a shovel and a hammer Abu Ali Kader makes his daily trip not to work but the rubble of the house he once owned to complete its demolition.

“For over 20 tough years, I’ve saved up every single penny working as a construction worker within the Israeli region with the intention of building this house. Yet all the money, time and effort spent on this house vanished in less than a minute,” Abu Ali in agony said.

The hands which built the house are now digging through the remains to find anything worthwhile to sell.

“It took me over 20 years to build this house block by block with my own two hands; it all holds so many memories.

“I lost my way back to my own home after the withdrawal of the Israeli armies as soon as the war was over and staggered at the devastating sight of the whole neighbourhood being turned upside down. In fact, I felt as if I had lost one of my own children at the sight of my own home left in smithereens.” he said.

Unemployed father

Kader, a father of 12, has been unemployed since 2000 and living on aid. He currently lives in a 100 square metre room that he built on his own on a small piece of land belonging to his nephew in northern Gaza strip in Ezbet Abd Rabo, not far from the Israeli border.

Ezbet Abd Rabo is one the villages that bore the brunt of the 23-day 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza.

According to official medical reports, the biggest number of deaths in the war on Gaza were of residents in that area and the destruction is visible even two years after the war. Piles of rubble strewn around the area, people living in tents, and structures still standing riddled with bullet holes.

“We heard a lot about the renovation of houses destroyed but nothing changed with me so I decided to sell the remainder of my house in an attempt to build a smaller one that can shelter my family”.

The attack on Gaza strip destroyed a lot of houses and altered some people’s lives beyond recognition.

According to the ministry of public works and housing, over 14,000 homes had been damaged during the war on Gaza strip, 3,500 totally destroyed and 1,500 left unsuitable to live in.

The estimated cost of rebuilding and repairing the damage of civilian houses in Gaza strip is around half $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion).

From the left over pebbles to the steel from his destroyed house — Kader desperately tries to sell anything for which he can find a buyer. In fact, with the Israeli ban on construction materials, it is easy to find a buyer.

“Just like these days two years ago our house was demolished and although we tried to rent out a house for a while, we just couldn’t afford it; it cost so much and we don’t have enough money to” he added.

Rents range between $200 and $300 a month which exceeds an ordinary employee’s salary in Gaza strip.

“I’m doing well in this small house and even if the Israeli army … destroyed my new house once again, I would simply build another one, this is my land and I’m not going anywhere!”

gulfnews : Surviving off one’s flattened house in Gaza.