‘I See You at the Graveyard’: Gaza Horror Stories You Are Now Allowed to Know

On 13 May 2023, the Nabhan family received a phone call from the Israeli army warning them that their home was about to be bombed. Belal Nabhan and two of his children with special needs. (Photo: Mahmoud Mushtaha, WANN, Suppliers)

By Mahmoud Mushtaha

According to the Gaza Ministry of Social Development, 459 families were displaced as a result of the Israeli war. They are now homeless, 2,516 people in total, including 1,180 children.

On May 9, Israel attacked Gaza with ferocity. For five days, he bombed the besieged Strip, killing 33 Palestinians and wounding hundreds more. Not much of that horror was televised, however.

On May 13, 2023, the people of Nabhan received a phone call from the Israeli army warning them that their residence, located in the neighborhood of Jabalia, in the besieged Gaza Strip, was about to be bombed.

Falestine and Belal Nabhan are both 35. They have four children with special needs. They were horrified by that distress call.

“We were having dinner when the Israeli army called us and ordered us to evacuate our house in ten minutes,” Falestine told the Palestine Chronicle.

Clan Navan. (Photo: Mahmoud Mushtaha, WANN, Suppliers)

“Frightened, I quickly threw myself on the stairs. I also forgot to wear my hijab,” Falestine continued.

Her husband Belal told us that his first thoughts were only for the children.

“We only had ten minutes to leave our house,” he said. “Even for a healthy person this is hardly enough, imagine for a disabled person.”

“I couldn’t even bring their medicines and wheelchairs with me,” said Belal, with the sadness of that moment still far away.

The Nabhan family home, once filled with memories, is now in ruins. The family is now homeless.

“Where can we seek refuge? My children with disabilities did not deserve such a fate,” Falestine told us, with tears.

The people of Nabhan are still homeless because none of their relatives’ houses could accommodate their large number.

‘I will see you’

The Banat family was also a victim of the devastating five-day Israeli attack on May 9, which destroyed their three-story home.

Faraj Banat, 38, is a father of six. During the most recent war, he was at a relative’s funeral when he received a call from the Israeli army.

“I got a call from an Israeli intelligence officer. He ordered me to return home and told me he would see that I was at the cemetery,” Banat told the Palestine Chronicle.

Banat told the officer that he is a simple farmer, who has nothing to do with any Resistance movement. The Israeli official, however, was determined. “Go back and evacuate your family within 10 minutes,” he said.

Faraj Banat. (Photo: Mahmoud Mushtaha, WANN, Suppliers)

Banat asked for more time to collect his belongings or clothes before the bombing, but the Israeli official refused.

Then, the Israeli official asked him to warn his neighbors, because they meant to target the “entire square” – a reference to the entire block of houses.

“I will bomb your house and the house of your two brothers,” the officer told Banat. The Israeli voice on the phone seemed devoid of any humanity.

The house, in fact, all the houses were destroyed as promised by the Israeli official.

“More than ten families have now been displaced,” said Banat. “Why did they bomb my house? Where should we live now?”

Their financial situation does not allow the Banat family to find another housing solution. So, the family is now living in a tent in front of their demolished house.

The Banat family. (Photo: Mahmoud Mushtaha, WANN, Suppliers)

Lost Memories

In Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, another family has experienced a similar trauma.

On May 12, two Israeli F-16 destroyed a building belonging to the Taha family. In fact, this is not the first time the family has lost their home due to Israeli bombing.

“During the 2014 attack on Gaza, they bombed my house,” Samir Taha, 62, told the Palestine Chronicle.

“Our family was homeless for two years before we could rebuild our house. And now, after all that suffering, the Israeli occupation bombed our house again,” the man continued.

Samir’s son, Mohammed, told us that they were also warned 10 minutes before the bombing to evacuate.

“More than 42 people lived in this building. We started running outside without taking anything,” said Mohammed. “This is nobody.”

The Taha family house after the Israeli bombing. (Photo: Mahmoud Mushtaha, WANN, Suppliers)

Taha’s family plans to set up a tent near their home until they can rebuild it.

“Unfortunately, the tent does not protect us from cold and heat, nor can it protect us from stray dogs, but we have no other choice,” said Mohammed.

“I grew up in this house. I lived here and married there, but all our memories are lost now.”

In its ongoing attacks on besieged Gaza, Israel has destroyed entire civilian infrastructure, buildings and residential neighborhoods.

Various international human rights organizations have said that Israel has committed war crimes that amount to war crimes.

But this is what human rights experts often say. It did not prevent Israel from attacking and killing Palestinians, nor did it provide any justice, or even shelter for the Palestinian victims.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Social Development, 459 families were displaced as a result of the Israeli war. They are now homeless, 2,516 people in total, including 1,180 children.

– Mahmoud Mushtaha is a freelance journalist and translator based in Gaza. WANN contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.

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