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Former Israeli military base becomes open park in Gaza
Former Israeli military base becomes open park in Gaza
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Gaza, Alray - Umm Mohammed Bushnaq in her sixties get accustomed to leaving her home in the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood west of Rafah on a daily basis, going away from the brunt of high temperature to the spacious sand hills.

Accompanied by her children and taking barbecue accessories with her, Bushnaq to spend a good time that might extend to midnight enjoying the outdoors away from constant blackouts at home.

The golden hills ranging from 6 to 10 meters in height, next to the Saudi neighborhood, give the city of Rafah a spectacular sight that attracts its citizens who find it a clean place to picnic.

Fresh air

On one side of those hills, Umm Mohammed using some sticks make fire to serve her family a grill, their favorite dish for lunch, in an atmosphere of joy mixed with the fresh air, she told Alray reporter "my children prefer sitting here to going to sea because it is a quiet place close to our home,"

The hills get crowded every day during the twilight hours with tens of young men, women and children practicing some sport activities, gazing at the glorious golden sand, or flying kites that color the clear sky.

Ibrahim Abu Taha, a resident of the Saudi neighborhood, makes a living thanks to the picnicking on the hills, through peddling some snacks and toys "I sell the comers who spend hours here toys and corncobs so that I can earn a living,"

Source of Danger

For his part, Fadi al-Absi who lives off the hills explains that this place was a source of danger for the residents of the neighborhood about seven years ago "the hills were occupied with the Israeli settlements surrounded by tanks and surveillance towers, which at a time were showering the neighborhood with live bullets,"

Absi noted that he feels comfortable and happy when he sees the visitors nowadays amusing themselves with the breezy air on the hills, a bliss for those living in narrow, airless apartments and houses during hot summer.

Under its unilateral disengagement plan, Israel had dismantled its settlements established since the occupying of the Gaza Strip following the 1967 Six-Day War. 9,000 Jewish settlers were evicted and their homes bulldozed, while military bases were demolished.