Norske Basem’s parents are still in Gaza

Norske Basem’s parents are still in Gaza

Basem Sawva’s parents are among the approximately 60 Norwegian citizens who have not yet left Gaza. They fear for their lives.

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While 212 people with ties to Norway have left Gaza in the past week, there are still 60 Norwegian citizens in the war-torn country.

Among them were Basam Sawwa (31) parents Mohammad (67) and Rim (59).

In Bærum, Basem sits alone in the apartment he usually shares with his mother and father. Whatever he does, his mind wanders to his family in Gaza. As of Wednesday afternoon, they hadn’t heard from them in two days.

About 14,000 people have been killed in Israeli attacks in the six weeks since the start of the war.

Basam’s parents traveled in mid-September to visit their two children, who still live in Gaza, and to see their grandchildren for the first time in five years.

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The family’s home is in the heart of Gaza, near Tufa in Gaza City. Now this is suddenly one of the most dangerous areas to stay in. The road to the Egyptian border was long and dangerous.

Couldn’t escape

The Israeli Defense Force has asked civilians to flee to the southern Gaza Strip to escape the worst ravages of the war. But Basem’s father’s ill health makes it difficult for the Norwegian couple to embark on the journey.

Both the family home and the couple’s eldest daughter’s house were bombed, so now the family lives with more than 70 others at Bassem’s grandfather’s house.

Rim and Mohammed’s names were on the list of those to be expelled only on Friday last week. Bassam says the reason parents can’t cross the border is two-fold.

— Now it is very dangerous to get round, and to go to the frontier involves great danger, especially as my father is too ill to walk.

But the other reason carries at least as much weight: Bassam’s two siblings, and their young children, hold Palestinian passports and must stay. Thus Rim and Mohammed are asked to leave their children and grandchildren in the war to save themselves.

– It is inhumane to ask someone to leave children in such a situation. Surely no one would do that, leaving their children at war? It’s not normal, Bassam tells VG.

Before the War: A year before the start of the current war, Baram talks to his sister (third former) and nieces and nephews in Gaza.

The mayor of Bærum contacted the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask if Basem, along with his two children and four grandchildren, could evacuate his parents.

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He says the answer is no. Affection reacts to what he experiences as discrimination.

– Really, Norway doesn’t have the ability to keep six pieces for a while? Basem asks.

UD: – According to instructions

The Ministry of External Affairs tells VG it cannot comment on individual cases, but responds to VG’s questions about Basem’s family as follows:

– Those assisted by the Norwegian authorities to leave Gaza and assisted by us to leave for Norway are mainly Norwegian citizens and persons with residence permits in Norway. In addition, they include some parents traveling with minor children who are Norwegian citizens and minor children of Norwegian citizens traveling with siblings who are Norwegian citizens. In line with the Ministry of Justice’s instructions regarding an assisted exit from Gaza, Foreign Office spokeswoman Helen Sandbu writes to the WJ.

Bombing: On November 5, this is what it looked like in parts of Gaza City.

Many others are not listed

For various reasons, some Norwegian citizens are still not allowed to cross the border in Gaza, except for those who did not arrive at the border while on the deportee list. The Ministry of External Affairs writes to VG that there could be various reasons for this.

– There are many actors that influence who can travel from Gaza and who comes across the border. “We are in constant contact with the Israeli and Egyptian authorities, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto rulers in Gaza, helping to ensure the departure of Norwegian citizens who wish to leave,” Foreign Ministry’s Ryeng writes to VG.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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