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The plight and tragedy of Gaza

The Gazans (or perhaps, more so, Hamas) are demonised by the world - resulting in Gaza being described by many as one giant prison.   Most Gazans simply cannot exit the territory.    Most foreigners are barred from entry.   And as one Israeli Cabinet Minister said, famously, a while back, Israel is allowing just enough food into Gaza to prevent the people starving.   A hell-hole personified!

An up to date account of life in Gaza in "Lives in ruins: the human tragedy unfolding in Gaza" has just appeared in The National.....

"A 2015 UN report found that Israel struck seven sites designated as civilian shelters in the 2014 Gaza war, killing 44 Palestinians and injuring 227. No Israelis have been charged for these incidents, or any attacks, during the war.

Beit Hanoun was particularly badly hit in the 2014 conflict and 70 per cent of its housing became uninhabitable. Today, sand, rubbish and discarded clothes remain strewn across the ground but the UAE, Qatar and the Maldives have funded some reconstruction. The Kafarnah family, like many I meet, live in shoddy caravans that are bitterly cold in the winter and extremely hot in summer.

The UN provides the bare minimum of oil, milk and wheat flour every three months, while the ruling Hamas government distributes a small amount of cash every quarter."


****

"Gaza has experienced three wars in the past decade, each more devastating than the last. I last visited Gaza in 2009, six months after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. I found an enclosed territory and population struggling to adapt to Hamas rulers and recovering from devastated homes and lives.

The 2014 conflict, that killed more than 2,250 Palestinians – hundreds of them children – and left thousands permanently injured, along with the deaths of 67 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians, still reverberates in Gaza; another war, just around the corner, is always feared.

According to the UN, more than 96,000 housing units were either destroyed entirely or in part during the 2014 war. During the conflict, 500,000 people – one quarter of the population – were internally displaced with nowhere to go.

In a report last year, the UN feared that Gaza could be "uninhabitable" within five years on current economic trends (though many Gazans worried it would happen earlier). Unemployment is at least 44 per cent and three-quarters of the population are threatened by hunger."





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