Palestinian families separated by the war in Gaza

Palestinian families separated by the war in Gaza

It has now been a little over 9 months since the war in Gaza has killed, injured and… separated. Since the start of the intervention of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, France has evacuated 260 Palestinians or Franco-Palestinians. Among them, 14 injured children. Each is accompanied by a single parent. All these families had hoped upon their arrival on French territory to be quickly reunited, as promised by the French authorities, but none has yet been able to be reunited. The wait, the separation, is torture for these mothers, the majority of whom have left their other children behind.

Raja’s heart is cut in two. This Palestinian mother has been sharing a hospital room in the suburbs of Paris for 5 months with Asef, her youngest son, aged 12. In September, he will start school in France, where Raja is trying, as best he can, to project himself.

For Asef, Gaza is a hellish place where we can no longer imagine living. Especially since Asef lost a leg. How could we go back there when the streets, schools and the houses were destroyed? » Raja explains that it would be unfair for his son to go back: “ Instead of improving our lives, we would take a leap backwards. »

A reality that has become a nightmare

Raja confides: “ Regularly, [mon fils] relives the accident in his dreams, while we are in France. How could I then return to such a hostile place? ? »

The teenager recounts this airstrike on the neighborhood where his family lived, a week after the start of the war: “ I was playing football. Suddenly there was a bomb. I thought a big stone had hit my leg. I wanted to move it but when I looked I saw that my leg had been cut. » He pursues : This dream always happens again. It’s a reality that has become a nightmare. »

After spending two months in a Gazan hospital, Asef and his mother were transferred to Egypt. It is there that a French diplomat suggests that they be evacuated to France.

Read alsoFrom Gaza to the Emirates, the evacuation of injured Palestinian children

Children trapped in the hell of Gaza, French authorities in the dark

Raja did not think of leaving without his children: “ When I arrived in France, the last thing I could have thought was that I was abandoning my other children. Especially in such a difficult time. ” She tells : ” In Egypt, I asked the French diplomat “When will they be able to join us ?” He replied: “You can already consider that your children are with you.” »

Five months later, her five other children are still in the hell of Gaza. Without a legal guardian, since their father died a few years ago. Raja manages to talk to them once or twice a week, depending on the internet.

I feel lost between Asef’s situation and that of my other children. So much so that today I thought about returning to Gaza. It becomes psychologically unbearable. » Raja is desperate: « When my son tells me that it has been three days since he found anything to eat, what can I do? ? I prefer to die with them. »

This 46-year-old mother keeps photos of her children in her cell phone: Mohamed, 19, and Aïcha. The teenagers refuse to send him photos of themselves because they have changed too much. There is also Mohayed, 18 years old, Ahmad, 16 years old, and finally Inès, who is 13 years old. A photo of his forearm shows multiple cut marks. Raja reveals that “ [sa fille] injured herself. She is in a state of depression. »

The procedure is underway, this is almost the only response Raja gets from the French authorities. The only one that she can also pass on to her children who beg her to get them out of Gaza.

Read alsoPalestinian territories: children, first victims of the war in Gaza