Gazans Who Are Israeli Citizens Don’t Have a Country to Save Them From Hell

Palestinians and dual nationality holders fleeing from Gaza arrive on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing in December.

Amira Hass writes in Haaretz

On a recent Saturday evening her bags were packed. Jihan (a pseudonym) said her farewells – to the displaced people like her who have been huddled in a school in the central Gaza city of Deir al-Balah for more than five months, to the 40 women and girls she lived with all that time in one classroom.

She also said goodbye to the sea, which though soothing to the eyes is also a menace because of the Israeli warships that bombard the land from it.

And mainly, Jihan parted from her husband. She and their three children, who fled Gaza City due to the bombings, are Israeli citizens. They were assigned to a group of other Israeli citizens whose evacuation from the bombed and starving Gaza Strip was scheduled for April 8 and 9, a Monday and Tuesday.

But on the Sunday before those two days, an employee of the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement phoned Jihan and informed her that the group’s departure to Israel had been postponed. Again. It had already been postponed at least three times, for different reasons, since the second week of March.

Jihan has another reason to panic. Her mother, a citizen living in Israel, was recently hospitalized. The first thing Jihan intended to do was go see her.

“When my father died about 20 years ago, it wasn’t possible for me to leave the Strip, and I didn’t say goodbye to him. I don’t want my mother to die too without me being by her side,” Jihan said by phone Thursday. They last saw each other in July.

The group that’s set for release is made up of 46 Israeli citizens and one East Jerusalem resident who are married and live in Gaza or were visiting their families and were stranded when the war broke out. All of them – 23 children and 24 adults – have been waiting for a month or more to leave through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

Each time a date was set, they packed their bags and said their goodbyes, and then, almost at the last minute, someone from the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories informed Gisha and the HaMoked Center for the Defense of the Individual that no, departure wouldn’t be possible at the scheduled time.

So once again they’re all waiting, on the edge of their frayed nerves, in tents, schools or relatives’ homes. They anxiously hear about Israeli plans to invade Rafah in the far south of Gaza, not knowing who will still be alive or unharmed if that happens, because Israeli warplanes keep bombing.

This is the fourth group of Israeli citizens and residents designated to leave Gaza since October 7.So far, 102 Israeli citizens and residents, including 45 children, have left for Israel on November 16, December 6 and February 19.

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