By Mohammad Y. Hasna
In the North of Gaza resides Erez crossing where a patient has to go through to receive medical treatment either in West Bank or Occupied lands of 1948. In his pursuit for medical treatment, a patient is either arrested or negotiated with to become an infiltrator by the Israeli occupation. On the other far end of Gaza, south, there is Rafah crossing, which represents Gaza’s window to the outside world, where students, patients and people with foreign residency permit are deprived their basic rights of education, medical treatment and travel respectively. Rafah crossing closure stands in the way of youth dreams of looking for job opportunity or discovering the world outside the prison they are in.
On the east of Gaza, a farmer is striving to transform his land green again after been ravaged by successive wars where the occupation military tanks destroyed, burned and vandalized his long hard work. A farmer, who is also subjected to death bullets fired from the eastern Israeli military sites while is tossing crops seeds and watering the land.
To the west of Gaza where the sea, its blue waters and the abundance of resources, a fisherman overlies a fishing boat seeking his daily livelihood. As the fisherman sail closer to the miles where most fish exists, and begins recovering his fishing nets, the Israeli Occupation Marine sometimes either opens fire, confiscates his equipment, tows his boat or arrests the fisherman.
In-between these borders, almost 2 million Palestinian citizens are being pulverized by repetitive and unjust aggressions between now and then, oppressive blockade lasting for more than 10 years and approaching its eleventh year, and absence of political vision accompanied with internal political division. All this contributes to the escalation of social problems and obstructing any efforts to overcome this reality.
The previously mentioned scenes summarized the story of suffering yet they fall short in expressing the extent of the pain felt by Palestinians. Words fail to deliver a holistic picture for the real situation in the Gaza Strip intensified by a blockade that is not going to end in the near future. The blockade is suffocating the Palestinian citizen, forcing them to submit, impairing their dignity and most importantly forcing them to give up their resistance and fight for freedom so their enemy feel secure.
The blockade has consumed everything in Gaza, eroded its citizens, destroyed Gaza’s economy, exacerbated unemployment problem which amounted 41 percent; unemployment rate among young people alone reached 60 percent. More than 57 percent of Gaza population suffer from food insecurity while poverty rate has increased to 60 percent.
There is a clear remissness in the basic services provided by the Gaza Strip ministries. However, these ministries don’t have operational budget to manage and provide services to the citizen. Furthermore, more than 40 thousand employee received only 40 percent of their monthly salaries due to the financial crisis the government is suffering from.
The factors of poverty, unemployment, deteriorating economy and collapse of health and education sectors as well as electricity and water services are resulting in negative social impact. The blockade aims to send Gaza Strip and its citizen to Middle Ages, so they can accept any solution provided regardless of it viability or its importance to the Palestinian society values. Under these circumstances any compromise will be marketed as a great accomplishment to mitigate people’s suffering.
The 2014 assault resulted in more than 2,150 martyrs, approximately 12 thousand wounded, the demolition of 20 thousand housing unit while 60 thousand units was partially destroyed; leaving more than 110 thousand displaced people without shelter. The destruction has reached all economic sectors in the Gaza Strip amid silence from the world except some expression of concern and demands of self-control which equal the oppressor with the victim. On the other hand, the humanitarian aid which has been abundant during the war time was curtailed after the aggression stopped.
We are approaching the eleventh year of blockade on the Gaza Strip, while silence toward the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is the mainstream. Silence that the whole world part takes in including the America and European leadership which claim to be democratic, defender of human rights and values who seeks to implement global justice to achieve a world enjoying peace and security. Such contradiction between how the international community participate in besieging 2 million citizen and how it demands those besieged citizens to believe and embrace tolerance and forgiveness values while keeping peace with your oppressor; an oppressor who kills youth and children.
The blockade, aggressions and not ending the occupation push the Palestinian people, in general, and youth, in particular, toward losing trust in the international community and its leadership. Such loss would destroy hope among those people and direct them toward looking for vengeance opportunity to express their anger and frustration as long as words didn’t grab attention or brought actions on the ground.
Youth desperation is an imperative concern the world should pay attention to instead of waiting for unexpected explosion that would urge them to ask “why did young people did this uprising or turned to extremism?” The world is spending tones of money to fight youth desperation, expressed through violence, and mitigate their danger after it was a primary contributor to the violence creation. The world negligence participated in turning young citizens with dreams and hopes to a devastative citizen looking for revenge. In Gaza, some people would offer to sell his kidney for survival, or to medically treat his sick mother or wife.
Lifting of the blockade and ensuring the freedom of movement for the Gaza Strip citizens is an international duty and responsibility. It is a right that should be paid to Gaza unconditionally to compensate their suffering and injustice. The Palestinians are weary of all the appeals, peace and beggar talks and they are demanding #Enough_Siege before people explode; an explosion that can be expensive to the international community.
The situation is clear; when people get their rights and achieve prosperity and development, they are referred to positively in the international community as a success. On the other hand, if people were denied their rights, lands and has been besieged, they will turn to extremism, anger, revenge as a way to rehabilitate.
Honesty requires us to see how grim the current picture is with possibilities of the blockade extending for years and years. The whole world is busy with other crazy conflicts and Gaza is no more a priority unless something dramatic happens that would again put Gaza on the map among the other conflicts.
Accordingly, the question directed toward the Palestinian political establishment, its parties and the leadership in the Gaza Strip “What have you prepared for this scenario, and for how long will the Palestinian division exhaust the Palestinian community reinforcing the devastating suffering from the siege and continuous aggression?”