​1 year after Gaza War, Palestinians still live amid ruins, thousands homeless

It has been a year since Israel launched its offensive against Gaza, killing thousands of people, damaging and destroying their homes. RT’s Lizzie Phelan has visited the besieged enclave, witnessing how people still live amid the rubble of war.

Somaya, a resident of an eastern town in the Gaza strip located near the Israeli border, is forced to find any bits and pieces for cooking fuel, including cardboard and wood from the temporary container home.

“It would be better to live in a tent, amid the ruins of my own home than here,” she says. “I have dreams that I am back at home but then I wake up and realize I am living in a container.”

Thousands of Gazans are observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan amid the rubble of their homes, Phelan reports from Gaza. Even going to pray has become harder, as Israel’s missiles hit mosques – and little of what was destroyed has been rebuilt.

“This is the worst humanitarian condition that Gaza has ever witnessed,” Amjad Y. Shawa, head of the office of the Palestinian NGO Network, told RT.

“One year after the war, the rubble is still on the streets. This is the rubble of thousands of Gaza houses. Tens of thousands of families are living during Ramadan under the rubble of their houses.”

Israel launched its military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which it dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” on July 8, 2014. The operation, which was in retaliation to Hamas rocket fire, claimed the lives of some 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 72 Israelis, according to the UN.

The 50-day war destroyed or damaged 18,000 homes. The rebuilding has been stalled by border restrictions and political tensions.

“The Israeli military destroyed our homes with airstrikes and then bulldozed entire neighborhoods,” a resident of East Gaza, Abu Mohamad Kadaih, told RT.

“People were promised that their homes would be rebuilt but that never happened. We can’t rebuild ourselves because the war left us with nothing.”

According to a report Monday by global children's charity Save the Children, around 100,000 people in Gaza are still homeless.

The report added that, according to the latest estimates, some 551 children were killed during Israel’s offensive, while 3,436 were injured and an estimated 1,500 lost their parents.

“Many children in Gaza have now lived through three wars in the past seven years, the last one notable for its brutality. They are emotionally and, in some cases, physically shattered,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children.

The report said that the majority of children, up to 75 percent are showing signs of severe emotional distress, including high levels of bed wetting and nightmares. Meanwhile, 89 percent of parents reported that their children suffer consistent feelings of fear, and more than 70 percent of children said they worried about another war.

READ MORE: ‘I feel only pain’: Gaza children suffer emotional trauma one year after war – report

"We saw our home being destroyed. I was crying because we have memories and dreams there, from the day of our birth. My memories, pictures, clothes, toys ... everything is gone. I can't live, I only feel pain," the charity quoted a 12-year-old girl as saying.

The latest UN report, published in June, has accused both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of possible war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict, calling the devastation “unprecedented.”

“The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come,” the commission’s chairwoman, New York judge Mary McGowan Davis, said in a statement.