The Palestine Chronicle paid a visit to Kamelia Kuhail, who lives with her family in a house built by her husband on the eastern side of the Sheikh Shaaban cemetery, the oldest in Gaza.
Her six children play on the graves and earn some money fetching water for mourners to ‘water the graves’ during burial ceremonies. The children keep wondering when they will move somewhere else.
According to the Gaza Deputy Housing Minister Naji Sarhan, Gaza’s growing population is estimated to reach 4.8 million in thirty years. The besieged Strip is already overcrowded with a population of two million. For housing developments to keep up with the population growth, Gaza requires 14,000 new housing units per year.
“If the dead could speak, they would tell us: ‘Get out of here’,” Kuhail said, adding that she has lived in the cemetery for 13 years along with her husband and children. Many other Palestinian families resort to living among the graves due to the lack of proper housing.
Gaza has been under a hermetic Israeli siege since 2006 when the Palestinian group Hamas won the legislative elections in occupied Palestine. Since then, Israel has carried out numerous bombing campaigns and several major wars, which resulted in the death of thousands of people.
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)