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Evacuation from Gaza Leaves Families Split by Citizenship

by Ryan Lee
7 comments
fokus keyword: Gaza Evacuation

As an increasing number of Palestinians holding foreign citizenship depart from Gaza, many families are finding themselves separated due to varying passport statuses. For the second consecutive day, numerous Palestinians possessing international passports traversed through the Gaza Strip’s sole exit, seeking refuge from Israel’s intense blockade, only to encounter the barren Egyptian desert. This hurried departure, however, has resulted in a painful divide for families differing in citizenship.

Nizar, a 41-year-old humanitarian aid worker residing in Gaza City, embarked on a perilous journey with his family towards the southern Rafah crossing. Their route was fraught with danger, heightened by the ongoing bombardment. Their motivation stemmed from their daughter, Zainab’s, American citizenship – a consequence of her birth in San Francisco. This citizenship was potentially their sole escape from the conflict that has wreaked havoc in Gaza and traumatized their daughter.

Upon reaching the congested Rafah terminal, Nizar’s hope was short-lived when he was informed by the border officials that only U.S. citizens were permitted to evacuate, leading to the heart-wrenching separation of many families.

The situation, as described by Nizar, was one of sheer bewilderment. “The prevailing sentiment is one of utter disarray. Numerous families are distraught, unable to unite with their kin and exit,” he commented.

The outcome of weeks-long intense discussions involving Israel, Hamas, and Egypt over evacuations from the crossing saw some progress. However, the ongoing turmoil and stringent military protocols underscore the challenges surrounding diplomatic endeavors over the Rafah crossing, now the sole gateway for civilians.

The U.S. embassy in Israel has yet to issue a statement on the family separation matter. Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, is slated for an official visit to Israel soon. Meanwhile, disputes persist, with the U.S. pointing fingers at Hamas for the Rafah delay, and Egypt holding Israel accountable for its continuous bombardments and tight restrictions.

Jammal Qaoud, an American citizen present at the border, recounted a terrifying experience when an Israeli bomb detonated nearby. Despite the hazards, Qaoud, unlike many, managed to safely enter Egypt without facing familial separation.

A roster of dual nationals eligible for evacuation encompassed a diverse range of nationalities. The criteria and selection process, however, remained elusive, leaving Palestinians seeking clarity.

Jason Shawa, an American-born translator, expressed his exasperation with the evacuation process, emphasizing the discriminative undertones he perceived in his interaction with a U.S. State Department representative.

The situation was further exacerbated as injured Palestinians awaited passage to Egypt for medical attention, a day after a significant number had already been transferred for treatment. Simultaneously, foreign aid personnel were also evacuated.

As hours passed, the crowd at the crossing swelled. Among them was Ward Abu Shaaban, an expectant American citizen. Despite being eligible for evacuation, she faced the agonizing choice of leaving her husband behind due to his lack of foreign citizenship. Eventually, after much deliberation, they decided to part ways.

Abu Shaaban, accompanied by her young daughter, proceeded towards an uncertain future in Egypt, while her spouse, a Gaza City electrician, retreated in the opposite direction.

Report by DeBre from Jerusalem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: Gaza Evacuation

What is the main reason for the evacuation of Palestinians from Gaza?

The increasing number of Palestinians holding foreign citizenship are departing from Gaza to seek refuge from Israel’s intense blockade.

Who is Nizar and what challenge did he face at the Rafah crossing?

Nizar is a 41-year-old humanitarian aid worker from Gaza City. He faced the challenge of being separated from his family at the Rafah crossing because only his daughter, Zainab, had American citizenship, which was the only ticket out of the war-torn region.

What has been the U.S. embassy in Israel’s stance on the family separation issue?

The U.S. embassy in Israel has yet to issue a statement on the family separation matter.

Who is held responsible for the delay in reopening the Rafah crossing?

The United States has publicly blamed Hamas for the delay in reopening Rafah. In contrast, Egypt accuses Israel of continuously bombing the crossing and imposing tight restrictions.

What challenges did Jammal Qaoud face at the border?

Jammal Qaoud, an American citizen present at the border, faced the threat of an Israeli bomb that detonated nearby. Despite the hazards, he managed to safely enter Egypt without facing familial separation.

Who is Jason Shawa and what discrimination did he perceive during the evacuation process?

Jason Shawa is an American-born translator. He expressed his exasperation with the evacuation process and perceived discriminative undertones in his interaction with a U.S. State Department representative, especially concerning the status of non-American family members.

How did Ward Abu Shaaban’s evacuation process unfold?

Ward Abu Shaaban, an expectant American citizen, was eligible for evacuation but faced the agonizing choice of leaving her husband behind due to his lack of foreign citizenship. After much deliberation, they decided to part ways, with Abu Shaaban and her young daughter proceeding to Egypt while her spouse remained.

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7 comments

Mike T. November 2, 2023 - 10:01 pm

I can’t even imagine what these families are going through. The world needs to take notice. its so tragic.

Reply
Mandy L. November 3, 2023 - 1:52 am

Seems like politics always gets in the way of human lives. I hope every family affected finds peace and safety.

Reply
Karl O. November 3, 2023 - 9:28 am

Reading about Ward Abu Shaaban… I can’t. How do you make such a decision to leave your husband behind. this is so sad.

Reply
Lena P. November 3, 2023 - 11:01 am

why isn’t the U.S embassy saying anything? they should be at the forefront of this. So frustrating!

Reply
Brian G. November 3, 2023 - 11:47 am

The story about Nizar and his family is heartbreaking. Wish there was some way for families not to be separated in times like these…

Reply
Raj K. November 3, 2023 - 1:26 pm

People in Gaza have been suffering for so long. This article really puts things in perspective. Its so different from what we see in mainstream news.

Reply
Sarah J. November 3, 2023 - 2:05 pm

Does anyone have more info about the Rafah crossing? First time hearing about it and sounds really important.

Reply

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