Testimony: 1500 Palestinians returned to Gaza
14 November 2023
Below is direct testimony from one man who is one of hundreds of Gazan workers sent back into the Strip. He is a family member of Palestinians currently supported by Positive Action in Housing.
I am in my sixties and one of 1500 Gazan workers who worked in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities before the start of the war on October 7th.
After the beginning of the war, many Palestinian workers were attacked by the Israeli civilians and police.
I fled to the West Bank with the help of an Israeli Arab smuggler to save my life on October 8th.
We were placed in a camp for Gazans in Jericho. This camp was established in a civil defense centre affiliated with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
5 days ago, members of the Palestinian Authority told us that whoever wants to return to his family in Gaza must submit his name to the Palestinian authorities and he will be transferred to the Gaza Strip under the supervision of the Red Crescent.
I know my family hadn’t tasted bread for 5 or 6 days. I bought a lot of bread and some clothes for my displaced children in Khan Yunis to wear in the approaching cold of winter.
We were supposed to be transferred to Gaza 3 days ago. I didn't sleep for more than 3 hours in total since then because they were telling us that we would be boarding buses at any time without warning.
On the morning of November 10, the buses that had collected the rest of the workers from other cities arrived and took us to begin the journey to Gaza.
After half an hour of walking, the buses stopped, the Red Crescent and the Palestinian Authority members disappeared, and the Israeli army took us to one of their camps.
We were searched very humiliatingly. It was the Druze army members who spoke to us and insulted us because they spoke Arabic. They took all the bread I bought for my family and took my phone and all the money I had. They covered our eyes, tied our hands behind our backs, and tied each of us together by the ankles.
We returned to the buses and they were very slow. Many of the workers wet themselves because they were not allowed to relieve themselves and were afraid. When the blindfold accidentally fell from someone's eye, an Israeli female soldier would come and beat that person.
We arrived near the Kerem Abu Salem crossing in the city of Rafah, and we were taken off the buses. They ordered us to run as quickly as possible towards the border of the southern Gaza Strip, which is about 3 kilometers away, otherwise we would be shot. My legs cramped while I was running, so I fell to the ground. They started shooting at me, but no bullets hit me, and I continued running until I reached the border.
No one was waiting for us. I walked for about two and a half hours until I reached the city of Khan Yunis. By the time I reached the place where my wife and children were I was crawling.