A British Palestinian in Gaza said the truce in the territory brought temporary “relief” but he has no plans to leave even as hostilities restart because he refuses to be “driven out of his homeland”.

After a week long truce ended on Friday, Israel resumed fighting and dropped leaflets over parts of southern Gaza urging people to flee their homes, suggesting it was preparing to widen its offensive.

Mohammed Ghalayini, an atmospheric scientist from Manchester, said he initially travelled to Gaza in September for a holiday in hopes of moving to his homeland in the future.

The 44-year-old decided to stay in Gaza despite his mother, sister and father fleeing to Britain with help from the Foreign Office following Hamas’ attack on October 7, because he refuses to be “driven out” of his homeland.

“I stayed because while I’ve lived in the UK close to 20 years now, I came back on this trip in September to move back, to look at living in Gaza again,” he told the PA news agency.

“I refuse that the Israeli army dictates where I should live and how I should relate to my homeland, and I refuse to be driven out like that.

“I have a community here that I can support and bolster, family, friends, society; so why should people be forced out by a foreign military force, it’s collective punishment and it should not fly.”

Mr Ghalayini is currently living in a three-bedroom flat in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis with 25 family members, including 10 children, and said a continued blockade on supplies has left his family with “barely” enough food and other essentials.

Sewage spillage on street in Gaza
Sewage spillage on a street in Gaza (Mohammed Ghalayini/PA)

Before the truce began, Mr Ghalayini had been moving from place to place within Gaza with extended family as Israeli attacks destroyed buildings around them, he said.

He said he was shown a photo of his family home near the beach with smashed windows, snipers on the roof and tanks below, while a subsequent flat his family stayed in has been destroyed.

“After that, I sheltered in my father’s place and in the time since leaving there, that also has serious damage from bombing,” he said.

“We (then) sheltered in a hotel in north Gaza … and while we were staying there, there was bombing almost every hour of the day on apartment blocks nearby.

Olives from Mohammed Ghalayini's mother's garden
The ceasefire has allowed Mr Ghalayini’s family to harvest olives from his mother’s garden (Mohammed Ghalayini/PA)

“That broke windows in, debris fell in and around the hotel, it brought down ceilings, and then after we left (the hotel), it’s been bombed.”

He said he and his family endure food and fuel shortages, which did not abate despite the temporary truce in the territory.

“We struggle every day, there are massive shortages of flour, shortages and price inflation for all goods, for example, yeast usually sells for five shekels (£1.07) – that now costs between 30 and 50 shekels (£6.42 to £10.70),” he said.

He said the truce did not “bring back normality” but added it was “a relief to feel you can travel and go out of the city and feel safe”.

“We couldn’t travel out of the city without risk and so we were only doing the necessary essential journeys.”

During the pause in aggression, he cycled down to the beach, which he said was a “bittersweet” experience.

“I was there in this very beautiful beach scene but then people were also scavenging for whatever resources they could find at the moment,” Mr Ghalayini said.

“Fuel is very short so people were taking out telephone poles, people were dismantling huts and what have you and just taking the wood to burn.”

The scientist, who left Gaza for the UK in 2004, said his family could harvest olives in his mother’s garden due to the ceasefire.

He said: “My mother has a very small plot of land with 20 olive trees and because of the Israeli attack on Gaza we’ve not been able to harvest that until the truce came.

“There’s a mass of people who rely on this land for their subsistence, our land is meant to yield 200 kilograms of olives, however this year we were only to yield 80 kilograms because of the delayed harvest, subsequently we are suffering financially.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has advised against all but essential travel to Israel and Palestinian territories.