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A 22 year-old woman from Gaza describes her family's economic situation and the day her husband was shot in the leg working close to the border with Israel.
Wala’ J. is a 22 year old Palestinian woman from the Gaza Strip. Wala’ is married and has a son who is
nine months old. Like many families in the Gaza Strip, Wala’s husband is unemployed. He used to work in a sewing factory but he lost his job a long time ago because of the tight closure imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel. Having looked for a job without any success, Wala’s husband, Ahmad, decided to collect gravel from the “buffer zone” along the border with Israel where the settlements used to be. Gravel used in construction is a rare commodity in the Gaza Strip; Israel has banned its importation into the strip since it imposed a tight closure on the Strip. Ahmad sold the gravel he collected to construction workers who used it to build and maintain homes destroyed during the war on Gaza in 2008. “My husband brought home 30 Shekels ($9) every four day or so and we managed” says Wala’, “I had nothing to complain about”.
On April 6th, 2010 Wala’s husband was shot in the leg by Israeli soldiers while collecting gravel and as a result lost his ability to work. Wala’ was devastated; her family’s only source of income was suddenly lost and with it her dreams. This forced her to take tough decisions like the one to move back to her parent’s home. “I moved to my parent’s house for two reasons” says Wala’, “my house is made of tin and it gets unbearably hot during the summer. I also moved so that my parents can support me and my son, I have no money to buy food for him, I can’t bear to see him lose weight”.
“My husband visits us from time to time but I can hardly say I have a relationship with him; we are not a family anymore. I am waiting for a miracle to happen for my life to change but it don’t look like anything might happen soon, I have no money to buy milk for my son, I have no money to buy food for my family, I have nothing”.
“I regret ever having had a child, I feel I brought my son to a situation he does not deserve.”
- UN Fact Sheet (July 2011) - 38% of Gazans live in poverty.
- UN Special Focus (2010) - Death and injury in the live-fire zone
- The Guardian - "Israel troops accused of shooting children in Gaza"
- Haaretz - "Gaza teens brave IDF fire to collect salvaged building materials"