Israel's Attack Underlines Helplessness, Hopelessness Of Gaza Palestinians [View all]
Ramallah, West Bank — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 16 2012, 9:19 AM EST
It is with horror that I watch the latest events in Gaza unfold. As a Canadian based in the West Bank who once lived in Gaza, I know the fear that is currently running through the veins of each man, woman and especially child as they face Israel’s unrelenting aerial and naval bombardment. My time in Gaza was marked by long periods of aerial bombings and sonic booms. I still– 6 years later – live with those horrible memories and the sheer sense of helplessness and hopelessness that ensued
Today, the Gaza Strip is a much different place. The people have not changed – they are just as vibrant, funny and full of life as they were when I lived there – but their living conditions, and prospects for a bright future, have grown dim.
Today, the people of Gaza suffer from a brutal blockade that has lasted for more than 6 years and isolation that has lasted for more than 20 years. Israel strictly controls imports into Gaza and exports are virtually non-existent. Palestinian life is so controlled by Israel that the Israeli government even sets policies on the minimum number of calories needed to prevent malnutrition. Access to the sea – one of their main sources of livelihood – is strictly curtailed and the water of the Gaza Strip is barely drinkable, with less than 5 per cent of their water supply fit for human consumption. Today, Gaza is an open-air prison and it comes as little surprise that UN agencies recently concluded that, in a few years, Gaza will become unlivable.
But these facts have to be put in their proper light by looking at the population of Gaza. Today, 90 per cent of Gaza’s population is descended from the over 750,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed in 1947-1949 from their homes in what is today Israel. More than 50 per cent of the population of Gaza is under the age of 18 and 20 per cent are under the age of 5.