Friday, 15 February 2013

Refugees once more: From Syria to Gaza

GAZA CITY (IRIN) -- Ahmed Dweik’s family knows a thing or two about the refugee experience. Theirs started in 1948, when his father fled his Palestinian home town as Israeli forces captured the village of West Batani near Ashdod in present-day Israel.

From there, he settled in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, further south, until the 1967 Arab-Israeli war pushed him to search for an easier life abroad. He went first to Egypt to study, then to Yemen to find work.

That is where Dweik was born. But like his father, he too sought better opportunities, migrating to Syria to look for a better paying job and settling close to Yarmouk, the largest camp for Palestinian refugees in Syria.

“But what happened to my father after the 1967 war happened to me in 2012,” Dweik told IRIN.

In mid-2011, Dweik was in Yarmouk when the authorities opened fire on demonstrations and he was forced to take shelter for a few hours until it was safe to be on the street.

“I knew it was time for me to leave, but where to?”

Yemen, where he grew up, was facing its own unrest, and other Arab countries have made it harder for Palestinians to enter. more