CAIRO, EGYPT/OSLO (Aftenposten): Newly married Hanan is ready for Norway. But at the Gaza Strip border, she finds herself far behind in the queue. Why is it taking so long?
The short version
- Hanan wants to join her husband in Norway, but she is stuck in Gaza.
The summary is created using artificial intelligence (AI) and quality assured by Aftenposten journalists.
They got married in February, Hanan and Mohammed. The only thing the 24-year-old wants is to move to her husband’s house in Askøy, near Bergen, and start a new life, start a family and put her nursing training to good use.
She hasn’t seen him in months. The wedding seems so far away that she can’t look at the photos without crying.
Hanan is ready. A half-hour walk is what separates a life at war and a life in peace.
She is one of 250 people on the Foreign Ministry’s list who have been living in the war for more than a month. Now they are coming out. But they still don’t know when. And a few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
Since the start of the war, more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, according to figures from the Hamas-controlled health ministry in the besieged enclave.
– Everything is getting worse and there are no solutions. There is nothing here: electricity, water, Hanah told Aftenposten.
– I hear bombs all the time and I can’t get water or bread.
Back from the queue
Thousands of people in Gaza now find themselves in the same situation as Hanan. Satellite images of the war-torn area show people flying white flags heading towards the Egyptian border.
1 of 4Photo: AHMED ZAKOT / REUTERS / NTB
The refugees visible in Tuesday’s satellite images were just south of Gaza City. The main vein from north to south; The Salah Al-Deen road is used as a so-called humanitarian corridor for those fleeing.
At times, civilians are promised free rent here. This has failed several times. Around 15,000 people fled from the north to the south on Tuesday, according to the AP news agency.
2,000 people left Gaza City on Monday, 5,000 on Monday, according to the UN Human Rights Office, according to AP.
Some of them also fled the Gaza Strip, crossing the Egyptian border. The United States and Canada have evacuated many of their citizens.
Why are these countries ahead of Norway in the queue?
– Most foreign citizens have not gone out, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide tells Aftenposten.
They are now working diplomatically to move Norway higher on the list.
– We are trying to complete this queue as quickly as possible. We don’t have anything special or verses, but Egypt accepts one number per day because they have to be checked upon entry, he says.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs points out that many of those arriving have lost their papers and lack vaccines.
– That takes time. I hope we reach the Norwegians as quickly as possible, but I can’t say when. Our last call with Egypt was today. We talk to them every day, explains Barth Eide.
The exit order does not follow any clear logic, explains Cecilie Skjennald, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Aftenposten.
Norway is one of around fifty countries that have not removed any of their citizens from Gaza.
– We continue to work to get Norwegian citizens out as quickly as possible. We are very concerned about their lives and health. There are no safe places in Gaza, Skjennald says.
It is therefore difficult
On the ground in Gaza, the war has entered a new phase. On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers divided the Gaza Strip in two and surrounded Gaza City. The objective is to crush Hamas’ tunnel system.
The attack is so violent that the UN secretary general declares that Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children.
The IDF, the Israel Defense Forces, posted this video on Tuesday on X (formerly Twitter). They show civilians fleeing to the south of the Gaza Strip to avoid the Israeli war. The video is from the same area as the Maxar satellite images:
Here are the reasons why it is difficult to get people out of the war zone:
1. War: The conflict makes it difficult for Gaza residents to evacuate. It is dangerous to walk. Driving is dangerous. Like when a message was sent this weekend that it was safe to travel on the road south. And then the road was bombed.
2. Bureaucracy: Another element is bureaucracy. First, people who were already on the list when the border closed will be allowed to cross. There were no Norwegians there.
3. Major policies: Additionally, this is a policy issue. The border is managed by three parties: Egypt, Israel and Hamas. Egypt and Israel want to prevent Hamas fighters from crossing the border at all costs.
This is little consolation for anyone in the Gaza Strip wishing to escape the war.
– Leaving my heart behind
Days inside the Gaza Strip are spent searching for information about the exit. Hanan is ready to leave the country as quickly as possible, but at the same time he does not do it with a light heart.
– I want to go there and get safe. It’s difficult. I leave my family here – and my heart.
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