Gazans leave the city to the southern Gaza Strip (Anatolia)

With tears and hugs, this was the scene when Iman Abu Hasira was finally able to see her family for the first time in nearly a month, with the temporary cessation of fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Maha al-Husseini, a Gaza-based journalist and human rights activist, began her article in Middle East Eye about the exploitation of the truce by separated Palestinians to reunite with their loved ones after weeks of separation.

"I didn't think I'd see them again," Iman Abu Hasira said, referring to her father, mother and four brothers.

Iman lives in the Nasr neighborhood of Gaza City, minutes away from her parents' home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. But after constant Israeli bombardment and frequent communications cuts, I broke away from them in the third week of the Israeli offensive that began on October 7. So when the temporary truce went into effect last Friday morning, Iman, 28, had only one destination in mind.

"I took my children and went to sleep at my family's house. My husband also went to visit his family for the first time in about a month. I slept in their house for two days, and then I followed my husband."

In the early days of the Israeli bombing campaign, Iman could still visit her family, despite all the risks involved.

Very risky

"I left my children with their father at home because I knew I could be martyred at any moment on my way to them," Iman told the website, adding that she was able to make the trip three times in the first three weeks. But she said that after the fourth week the risk was too high.

Iman's fears for her cancer-sick father, who relies on her support, have been exacerbated. The communications blackout imposed by Israel on October 27, at the beginning of the army's ground operations, exacerbated matters. "This was the scariest hour. I didn't know if my parents and siblings were still alive or martyrs."

Two Palestinian women bake on wood fire outside their destroyed homes in the Khuza'a district on the outskirts of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip after weeks of Israeli shelling (French)

The Israeli occupation army is forcing the people of Gaza to leave the north to the south, while at the same time bombing people in those areas classified as "safe."

However, Huda Ghalayini believed that this designation could mean at least relative safety compared to the north, so she left her home on October 13 with her husband and four children, and found shelter in the Zawaida area in the central Gaza Strip. Her parents and siblings took refuge in a relative's house in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, about 13 kilometres away. Despite their proximity and presence in the "safe" south, Huda told Middle East Eye that she was never once able to visit her parents.

I never saw my mother.

"When we came here, we thought that the occupation would only target places in Gaza City, so they asked us to evacuate here," she said. But that's not true, most neighborhoods have been targeted here and we don't feel safe at all. That's why I couldn't visit my family all these days."

"My father came to see me about three times, but he was just passing by and didn't get out of the car that stood in front of the house. He stayed for only two minutes and then came back because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to go back to my mother and siblings."

On the second day of the truce, Huda finally felt safe to visit her family, but she was not "satisfied with their company" because the visit was short, and the likelihood of another visit is uncertain.

"All those days, I didn't see my mother once. Who can believe that I am the one who visits her parents every two days, I will not be able to see them for almost 50 days?"

"I don't know what I'm going to do now after the truce ends? If I spend another 50 days without seeing them, I'll go crazy."

Like hundreds of thousands of Gazans, Huda's brother, whom she has not seen so far, refused to comply with the occupation's orders to leave the north. "So I think I won't be able to see him until the war is over and we are allowed to go home," Huda said.

Source : Middle East Eye