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‘They survived physically. Mentally they’re traumatised’

Voice Of EU



Eighteen-year-old Mohanad Abuowda should be focused on his Leaving Certificate. Instead he has been riddled with worry for his family living back home in Gaza, Palestine.

The ceasefire, which has been in place since Friday morning, is a “great relief” to Mohanad, and he hopes it will continue.

“This ceasefire has brought one less worry for me… I just hope to see Gaza open and accessible for tourism and trade soon so we can have a proper functioning society,” he says

Recently the windows in his family’s home were smashed. His parents and three sisters, the youngest of which is nine, have been sleeping all together in the kitchen for safety.

“If something were to happen they feel at least they were together,” he says.

It is difficult to communicate with them, as the power often cuts out due to damaged electricity lines and energy shortages.

“I worry about them and I wanted to help them, but there was no way to do that,” he says.

Since fighting began on May 10th, health officials in Gaza say at least 232 Palestinians have been killed, including 65 children, and more than 1,700 wounded in air and artillery bombardments. According to the Israeli military, at least 160 of the fatalities were militant fighters. In Israel, 12 civilians have been killed, as well as a soldier, and more than 600 people injured.

Mohanad, a talented footballer, came to Ireland alone and with little English at the age of 15. He was granted refugee status, but as a minor he was not able to travel back to visit home. Anyway, it is not safe to try to enter Palestine right now, he says: “It is hard that I cannot go there, but I cannot bring them here either.”

The sixth-year student has seen it before himself. He recalls hearing rockets and bombs outside his home during previous wars. “I remember how hard it was… They are bombing all around you. The power of that rocket is unreal. You feel as though you are in a movie.”

Hide from rockets

Tareq Altorak, also 18, came to Ireland for similar reasons. He graduated from the Le Cheile school in Tyrrelstown, Dublin on Thursday, but he says the day felt “pointless” without his family safely by his side.

The Leaving cert student has many siblings back home, including a two-year-old sister. They should be getting educational opportunities like he is, but instead they have learned how to hide from rockets, he says.

“My sister had to stop going to school. She is very smart. Kids need to go to school… All they have is wars, attacking and people getting killed,” he says.

His family home is situated in the most dangerous area of Gaza, he says, as it is close to where members of Hamas are based. Many nearby have lost their homes.

“A few days ago they had to leave because they got a call from the Israelis to say they would bomb our house. It did not happen in the end, thank God,” he adds.

Tareq feels “a bit more comfortable” after the announcement of the ceasefire: “My family is going to be fine for now, but the damage Israel has done is still there… At least there is no bombing.” Although they have respite from the airstrikes, it will be difficult to resume their lives, he says: “They still need money, food on the table and clothes, but all of the shops are closed.”

Tareq came to Ireland in search of a “better life”: “I wanted a peaceful life and I didn’t want to get killed.” Despite the ceasefire, he knows now “for sure” that there is little hope of improving the lives of his family if they remain in Palestine.

“What I wish for is to get my family here as soon as possible. I remember being there; I know it is not safe.”


Dublin resident Fatin Al Tamimi could barely sleep, eat or think with the worry she felt for her family living in Gaza during the airstrikes.

“I am very relieved that they have survived physically. Mentally they are traumatised… You can see the fear,” she says.

Among those killed in recent days were 50 people living in the buildings next to the home of Al Tamimi’s aunt, who had to flee her home in recent days.

Fatin’s 12-year-old niece has been telling her how she was “terrified” when the ground shook. “They sleep together in the middle of the floor… You cannot imagine the terror,” she says. The situation has been “more than worrying; it is devastating”.

Fatin has lived in Ireland for more than 20 years. She was born in Qatar to Palestinian parents who were not allowed to return to their homeland, she says. Chair of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, her name is on a blacklist banning her from re-entering Palestine due to her activism. She would return to Gaza in a heartbeat if she knew it was safe.

“I used to spend summers in Palestine. The last time I went I was about 13 years old… Now I have no right to go back.”

She clings to hope, as all Palestinians do, that this fresh ceasefire will last, she says. “The messages and the calls from my family give me strength. I feel they are stronger than me.” She prays it will be possible and safe to meet her mother and sister in Jordan this summer so they can grieve for her father, who died two months ago.

“Hopefully my sister can stay safe. We still have that hope that we will meet in July.”

Smell of death

Yaser Alashqar, adjunct assistant professor of international peace studies at Trinity College Dublin, has been hearing from his family how the “smell of death and destruction is everywhere around them”.

Like the rest of the people and families in Gaza they are “terrified and traumatised” from the 11 days of fighting, he says.

“Gaza is under Israeli blockade and they are trapped and cannot escape. There is no safe space in Gaza.”

He recalls a “depressing” situation when he visited his homeland two years ago. He says Israel’s militarised policies and blockade of Gaza continue under the pretext of undermining the power of Hamas, but this a “collective punishment” on the entire people.

“As I saw it on the ground, the majority of Gaza’s young population have a desire to leave because of the worsening living conditions,” he adds. Covid-19 and high case numbers has made Gaza’s plight “more critical”, he says.

While European states had called for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid, Yaser says they are “still unwilling to push for longer-term solutions or challenge Israel’s policy of occupation and apartheid in the Palestinian territories”.

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Maurice Investments sell London office building for €30.3m (GB)

Voice Of EU



Allsop, acting jointly alongside Anton Page, has completed the sale of the freehold of a Grade A workspace in Aldgate, central London, on behalf of Maurice Investments for €30.3m (£26m). Acquired by Meadow Partners, the price is equivalent to approximately €1120 (£960) per ft² and a net initial yield of 5%.


Wool + Tailor, 10-12 Alie Street E1, comprises 27,158ft² of Grade A office and ancillary accommodation over nine floors. It is within a three-minute walk of Aldgate station and a 15-minute walk of six further train and underground stations, including Whitechapel which is on the newly opened Elizabeth line, and is multi-let to five tenants. Maurice Investments had initially acquired the building in an off-market deal advised by Allsop, which also went on to conclude a successful leasing campaign alongside Anton Page.


Wool + Tailor was redeveloped in 2019 to include two additional floors and a new façade, with BREEAM “very good” and EPC A and B ratings. It features an eco-friendly biodiverse roof, cycle racks to accommodate up to 36 bikes, and a WiredScore Gold certification with fibre optic internet. Wool + Tailor further benefits from outstanding natural light throughout, which is enhanced by floor-to-ceiling heights of up to 3.3 metres, and a 7th floor communal business lounge with dual aspect terraces offering panoramic views of the City and beyond.


Matthew Millman, Partner at Allsop, said: “The sale of Wool + Tailor concludes a highly successful business plan for our client where we advised on the off-market acquisition, letting, then disposal of what has become one of the finest buildings in Aldgate. Wool + Tailor satisfies the requirements of the modern investor and occupier for ‘best in class’ office space with strong ESG credentials, excellent connectivity and plentiful nearby cafes, bars and restaurants.”

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AnaCap secures €59m loan for Paris office deal (FR)

Voice Of EU



Tristan Capital Partners’ TIPS One “Income Plus” Real Estate Debt Fund has provided senior debt financing to funds advised by AnaCap Financial Partners, to support the €59.25m acquisition of South Station, a freehold office asset located in Massy, in the second ring of Paris. South Station is a high-quality property ideally located in Massy – the largest economic centre in the Southern Paris area – and is adjacent to the town’s main transport stations (RER and TGV). The asset is one of the most attractive buildings in the submarket offering modern A-grade office space with excellent amenities.


The sale and partial leaseback acquisition will see the vendor CGG, a geophysics specialist, remain as the majority tenant. Pramena Investment will act as the asset manager for the property.


Ashil Sodha, Director, Debt Investment at Tristan Capital Partners, said: “As TIPS One continues to diversify, we are pleased to have closed our first loan in France. We are focused on lending on high-quality assets with the right ESG characteristics and we believe this loan exemplifies this strategy well. We look forward to working alongside AnaCap and Pramena and supporting them in optimising their strategy for this asset.”

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Barratt and David Wilson invest €45.5m in UK resi market

Voice Of EU



Harworth Group plc has sold two residential land parcel at its Waverley and Thoresby Vale developments to Barratt and David Wilson Homes, for a total consideration of €45.5m (£39m).


At Waverley in South Yorkshire, Harworth has competed a €33.8 (£29m) land sale which will see the delivery of approximately 450 homes, of which over 30% will be affordable. This represents Harworth’s largest-ever serviced residential land sale by number of plots. The new homes will represent Barratt and David Wilson Homes’ fifth phase at the site and will be situated adjacent to both Highwall Park and the Waverley Lake, benefitting from unique water frontage in an area of the development known as Waverley Waterfront. Construction will follow a bespoke design code, devised in partnership between Harworth and Barratt and David Wilson Homes, that complements the existing Waverley development while maximising the amenity value of the area’s waterfront location. The development will include a pedestrianised promenade, further enhancing the site’s placemaking and connectivity.


At Thoresby Vale in Nottinghamshire, Harworth has exchanged on the sale of serviced land capable of delivering 174 homes, for €11.6m (£10m). This represents the second phase of the Thoresby Vale development, following the sale of two land parcels at the site to Harron Homes and Barratt and David Wilson Homes in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Alongside the new homes, Barratt and David Wilson Homes will provide a new surface water attenuation pond and a multi-use path and associated landscaping, which will enhance connectivity and link to the site’s planned primary school and local centre, for which site preparation works are currently underway. The sales conclude an active first half for Harworth’s residential developments, during which over 100% of its budgeted residential land sales for the year were completed, exchanged or under offer, and it also launched its first single-family Build to Rent portfolio.


Andrew Blackshaw, Chief Operating Officer at Harworth, commented: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes is a trusted and valued partner to Harworth, and we are pleased to be developing our relationship with these two significant land sales. Harworth is particularly well-placed in volatile markets as our serviced land provides housebuilders with a product which is de-risked and ready to build on from day one. The acceleration of both our Waverley and Thoresby Vale sites will see Harworth stepping through its strategy to take advantage of the placemaking and levelling up that these schemes ultimately bring to these communities. In addition, these sales will enhance the maturation of these socially diverse neighbourhoods when delivered alongside our recently launched single family Build to Rent product, Project Spur.”


Ed Catchpole, Joint Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, added: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes has a proven track record of high-quality housing delivery at Harworth sites, and these transactions will help to further accelerate the build-out and placemaking at Waverley and Thoresby Vale. Both sites are also set to benefit from additional investment which will see the creation of new Build to Rent homes and local amenities.”


Mark Cotes, Managing Director at Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Midlands, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured the land for an extension to our Thoresby Vale development and will look forward to another opportunity to meet the growing demand for housing in Nottinghamshire. Our growing community in Edwinstowe will continue to provide new jobs for local people and we’ll be making further ecological and financial investments as the development progresses.”

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