'We rebuild and then it gets destroyed again,' says a Gaza resident as airstrikes pound his city

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: Imagine being on your balcony and watching bombs falling all around you. That's what you're about to hear, a man in the Gaza Strip and, in a moment, an Israeli woman sheltering in a kibbutz. We're not going to focus on the Israeli defense forces and their strikes in Gaza and we're not going to focus on Hamas rockets. We're just going to meet two people on either side of this crisis, both trying to live their lives. We start with Amjad Shawa.

Amjad Shawa: I'm living in the middle of the Gaza city, which is now under intensive air strikes from different areas from these fighters and from helicopters. Right now I'm on the balcony and with my family for sure. I left my family in order to talk with you. The children are scared. Every minute we have an air strike, so they are really scared about what's happening.

Werman: How many children are there in your house?

Shawa: I have four children, two boys, two girls. The youngest is the fourth, he's four-years-old, so he's very scared.

Werman: How are they dealing with the shock of these bombs?

Shawa: They're crying and screaming and coming to us, to me and their mom; they want to be hid or saved. They want to know about the situation. We're following the news and now they're targeting houses with families. oday about four, five families were killed — fathers, mothers and children were killed. The situation is really a catastrophe. I can see from my balcony the ambulance cars that are moving from area to area in order to get the injured people or the bodies of the people who are under the rubble of the houses that are destroyed.

Werman: You're in the center of Gaza city, I assume you're probably pretty close to where some of these rockets are falling?

Shawa: Yeah, in about the last 30 minutes I can say there were about 10 to 15 air strikes on Gaza city.

Werman: This has obviously happened before. The people in the Gaza Strip know this episode quite well sadly. We spoke with a reporter yesterday who told us about these warnings that Israel sends to targets or houses, like where you live, in Gaza, letting them know that a rocket attack is imminent. Have you received any warnings like this?

Shawa: No, I didn't receive any and (??) about receiving the warning by sending the rocket, a small rocket to the house and we'll have seconds to leave the home. How can you warn us? We have big families in Gaza, 50-60 people are living in the same house. Just to give them seconds or a few minutes just to leave the house - and we're an overpopulated area, we are 1.9 million who are living in only 360 kilometers. So how can we escape? How can we be safe in such conditions? In the same time, I have to mention that Gaza and the siege, it's (?) the 7th year from suffering from everything.

Werman: Amjad, you're talking about some pretty intense stuff here and I'm just wondering how you explain all this to the children in your house who don't have an understanding of the crazy politics that drives this stuff.

Shawa: Believe me, it's very difficult. It's a very, very difficult time for the Palestinians in Gaza and we hope that the international community, mainly the Americans, can understand - there's another strike right now.

Werman: Amjad, you just said that there was a rocket attack taking place? How were you able to know that it was incoming?

Shawa: I'm talking to you from the balcony. I can see the light of the rockets and at the same time I can hear them.

Werman: Amjad Shawa who lives in Gaza city, thank you for your time and stay safe please.

Shawa: Thank you.

Werman: By the way, we checked in with Amjad and his family after that conversation and they are fine.