Shattered televisions, clothes and food scattered everywhere, clogged toilets, walls covered in drawings, stolen jewelry. These are the scenes that awaited Palestinians in Gaza upon returning to their homes that were used as IDF military posts.
By Alexandr Nabokov
The devastation is total. Furniture is overturned, clothes are torn out of the closets and scattered around. Though I try to avoid it, I trample on them as I walk over broken glass, food scraps and cartridge cases. The walls are scribbled with Hebrew writing; large maps of the surrounding houses, along with guard schedules. I am inside a house that seems to be the one from which Salem Shamaly was shot dead in Shejaiye, the young man who died a few meters in front of me when he tried to evacuate his relatives during what was supposed to be a humanitarian ceasefire.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen destruction inside a house like this. It is one of four houses I have walked through that was used by Israeli forces during Operation Protective Edge, and the destruction in them is similar. I guide a TV crew around the house, pointing at the ‘X’ spraypainted outside the windows; a signal to fellow soldiers not to attack. I show the the crew the sandbags in the windows, how the soldiers made use of pillowcases belonging to the house’s inhabitants and filled them with sand; that is why the floor tiles are broken – to gain access to the sand beneath.