Canadian woman is trapped behind Gaza borders
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Saturday, December 1, 2007 10:16PM EST
Asmaa Olwan left her home in Canada for what she thought would be a short visit to her ailing parents in the Gaza Strip. Eight months later she and her two young children are still stuck there, trapped by closed borders in a political war.
"I want to go back to my home and my job and my husband," Olwan told CTV's Janis Mackey Frayer in Gaza City.
Olwan, a resident of Regina, already lost her job as a teacher while waiting for a chance to get home. She said she's getting more desperate to leave every day.
She and five other Canadian families are trapped in the diplomatic and economic siege on Gaza, launched after the anti-Israeli group Hamas took control of area.
Most foreigners were evacuated long ago, but Israel has so far refused to let the last of the stranded Canadians out. Egypt, the only other country to border the region, also stopped allowing people across its border with Gaza -- leaving it isolated from the world.
Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel since it took control of the Gaza Strip in June.
Israel has responded with incursions and border patrols.
In October, the Israeli government declared Hamas-led Gaza a "hostile entity" and approved plans to cut off electricity to the area.
The desperation of the situation is not lost on Olwan, who is not sure why Israel will not let her cross the border and return to Canada.
"If there's any danger, I don't know, they can put us in a cage and get us out," she said.
Alan Baker, the Israeli ambassador to Canada, says there are security concerns to clear up before they can allow her cross the border.
"We have no apparent reason to deny innocent Canadians the right to go home," Baker said.
Meanwhile, Canadian officials have not offered Olwan a guess as to why Israel would consider her family a threat.
"I trust them and I give them my vote to help me in these situations and they've done nothing," she said.
With a report from CTV Middle East Bureau Chief Janis Mackey Frayer