Atef Abu Saif

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Palestinians walk amid the rubble of destroyed buildings in Gaza City on the northern Gaza strip on November 24. (Photo by AFP/Getty Images)

The house where I grew up, where I was born, was destroyed a little over a week ago. No one was inside at the time the Israeli missiles hit, flattening it into a perfect pile of rubble.

In losing my family home, I’ve lost a little part of me.

It was in that humble concrete structure, sitting at my grandmother Eisha’s feet, that I heard my first stories. I grew up to become a writer so that I could share them with the world, revisit the life she once had in a grand villa in Jaffa. That was before the Nakba of 1948, before she came to live in this narrow little house in the Jabalya refugee camp, having walked over hot sand with thousands of others, her young children in tow.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘I Want to Be Awake When I Die’

Atef Abu Saif was visiting family members in Gaza with his 15-year-old son, Yasser, before Oct. 7 and has kept a diary of the war since it began. Here is his entry for Nov. 21, the day he decided to leave the Jabaliya neighborhood in the north of the territory for southern Gaza, en route to the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

We cannot stay here any longer. We have decided.

The shells over the last two nights have been so close to the apartment we are staying in that I didn’t just see the light and hear the thunder of their explosions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Two women struggle in a cloud of tear gas at the border fence with Israel on Tuesday in Gaza.Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For the past seven weeks, every Friday morning a small group of teenagers had met at the corner of my street. They would exchange “Good mornings,” chat amicably for a while and then head east to the protests at the border with Israel. On Monday, they gathered again, this time to demonstrate against the opening of the new American embassy in Jerusalem. Tuesday was supposed to be the protests’ climax: It commemorated Nakba, the catastrophe, when Palestinians were expelled from our land by Israel in 1948. But somehow President Trump managed to add a day to our calendar of infamy, and it may be the crassest yet.…  Seguir leyendo »

Illustration by Michelle Thompson; Photograph by ymphotos/Shutterstock

“Are you still living there?” he asks.

“Where else should I live?” I answer.

It’s the same conversation I have every time I catch up with this one Palestinian friend in France. Same question, same answer. Life in Gaza is hard. Then it gets worse and we think it’s intolerable. Then it gets even worse.

According to the World Bank, youth unemployment in Gaza hit 58 percent in 2016, and nearly 80 percent of the territory’s two million residents received aid. The United Nations has warned that the place might collapse. Despite a reconciliation deal in the fall, tensions remain between Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, and Fatah, which leads the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.…  Seguir leyendo »

Eight Days in Gaza: A Wartime Diary

Sunday, July 27

For the last two hours we’ve heard nothing but sonic booms and the sound of rockets and mortars. Shells have fallen on our street a few hundred yards from my father-in-law’s house, where my wife and I, and our five kids, are staying, and on the street behind us.

My wife, Hanna, is arguing with the kids over what to buy to celebrate Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. She has forbidden them to go to the grocery store, and she’s adamant that they won’t visit the Internet cafes or the PlayStation shop near my father’s place.…  Seguir leyendo »