By Ian Fisher 21 February 207 New York Times
The trailer in Beit Hanoun where Samaher al-Masri lived with her family for two years. Gazans are rebuilding after living through wars, but some still live in makeshift housing. CreditWissam Nassar for The New York Times
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — In her new home, finally finished after she lived two years in a trailer across a dirt road, Samaher al-Masri, 40, showed a video on her cellphone of a cute preschooler: her son Majdi. He was singing:
“I am a son of Palestine, I have a right and a cause …
Even if they shoot me and I die as a martyr, I will not forget the cause.”
Majdi, who was 6, lived through two Gazan wars, though his old family house was toppled by bulldozers in the 2014 fighting with Israel. But the day after he ended kindergarten last year, he caught his hula hoop in a metal door in the trailer. The door was heavy, the frame shoddy. It fell on him and crushed his skull, killing him.
“Something is missing,” his mother said eight months later, in the living room of her house, built on the rubble-cleared plot of the old one. “You asked me if this is better. Yes, it’s better. But I’m missing him. His bedroom was waiting for him.”
So it is in Gaza, outwardly rebuilding and moving on from war, inwardly far from recovered. Gaza seems at a loss for what might be next. After so many years of isolation, residents of Gaza find themselves ever further from Palestinians in the West Bank, their future clouded by rising doubts that they could ever unite and work toward a lasting peace.
Two million tons of rubble have been cleared — about a ton for each person who lives in this cramped coastal strip. Two-thirds of the 160,000 damaged homes have been rebuilt, as have half of the 11,000 that were destroyed. Roads are better, travel faster. People gawk at their first real mall, with a food court and 12 escalators, both rarities in Gaza.