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Gaza Tragedy

Gaza Tragedy

Gaza is a huge prison camp where 1.5 to 2 million people live in an 45 km area. Apart from the wars in the area, have suffered two great situations that have configured their present day situation, causing a great humanitarian crisis.

Gaza decolonization

In year 2005 Ariel Sharon, who was serving as Prime Minister of Israel at that time, decided to “decolonise” Gaza, but what he did was change the power balance, retiring the Israelites colonists, demilitarizing the area, but at the same time, blocking from land and sea. "The decolonisation" was a "disconection" of the area, transforming Gaza into a prison camp, ruled by Palestinian law and making Sharon "a peace man". 
What Israel did was:

  • Enclose 1.5 to 2 million people, considered enemies, in a restricted area and under control.
  • Destroy the economy of the area, obliging the population to maintain a subsistence economy on one hand and depending on help from other countries like Iran, Turkey, Qatar or Saudi Arabia. In year 2008 occurred a huge food and energy crisis which obliged Israel, by international pressure and fear of insurrection of the population, to smooth its policies during 24 hours.
  • Deteriorate Palestine administration in Gaza using economic, social and psychological war by blocking any arrival of food, gas, sanitary goods and construction materials.
  • Destroy Palestine social links and increase poverty in the area.
  • At the same time, Palestine population in Gaza became enclosed and under Israel control due to their imposibility of going to other areas of Israel. This situation led to a violation of Universal Human Rights (point 4, article 2, UN Charter), mainly in these three situations:
  1. Freedom to go whatever any person wants in a country.
  2. Freedom to go between countries without changing the place a person lives.
  3. Freedom to go between countries, mainly by working reasons.

The first one is an unlimited right, and the other two rights can be considered a responsibility of the country which accepts them. As everybody can see, Israel is violating mainly the first right, because they can not visit other parts of their own country, because Palestine is an area, not an independent country. Furthermore, Israel has militarized Palestine and East Jerusalem since 1967, against the international rights. It can be said that Gaza population are imprisoned in their own country.

In the year 2010, a UN teller said that the blockade made to Gaza population is unjustificable.

Hamas rises to power in Gaza

That happened soon after “decolonization”. In the year 2006 and fights continued until 2007, when Fatah was expelled from Gaza. At that time, the unity of the Palestinian territories was divided into two groups opposed one to another. After the death of Arafat, new elections were celebrated, and Hamas won. As soon as that happened, USA,
EU, Israel and other countries considered Hamas a terrorist group and started to worsened Gaza population lives in a way to force Hamas to surrender.

Fatah canalised the international anger due to being controlled by other countries and became enough powerful to fight against Hamas. Then a war in Gaza started, between Fatah (which received help from other countries, mainly USA) and Hamas, which started currency smuggling. Gaza was under Hamas influence and Cisjordania under Fatah influence but with huge militarization from Israel.

The situation worsened even after "El Cairo Agreements" (2010) and "Doha Agreements" (2011) and the reconciliation which took place in 2014.

¿And now?

After that, "Operation Cast Lead", "Operation Pillar Of Defense" and "Operation Protective Edge" took place.

Since 2005, the situation in Gaza has worsened, due to Israel attacks in the area have made that the economy has worsened, the population can not export goods and their production to domestic market has been severely damaged.

Here some data:

* 500 million dollars lost in agriculture.
* 300 malls destroyed.
* 247 factories destroyed.
* 65% unemployed population.
* Salaries are around 75-100 dollars a month.
* 868.000 people are depending on food by ONGs and UN.
* High taxes that population have to paid to Hamas and Fatah.
* 33 million dollars needed to repair or rebuild schools.
* Millions of dollars to get a good medical system.

We have to take in consideration that Gaza blockade makes a good reconstruction of buildings and gas system impossible and that provokes that health and education have been severely damaged.

The energy system in Gaza is low. It is given by Electricity Distribution Company, but the company can not assure energy 24 hours a day. The electricity is cut eight hours each day. In case of emergency or military/technical problems the time without energy can be twelve hours or more.

Water, more or less the same with energy. UNCTAD had said that more or less 95% of the water in Gaza is unhealthy. Gaza population is using coast water. Areas like Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia have a better quality water and the areas which were once inhabited by Israel settlers like Kafar Darom, Morag, Neveh Dekalim or Jan Younis have a better quality water compared with the Gaza area. Gaza population has to buy bottled water, each of them cost 0,60 dollars, but its price is too expensive for many of them.

Gaza area can be considered a huge concentration camp, an inhospitable place, where more than a million people are confined with damaged buildings, least and least food and water, with a damaged economy and always waiting a new war. (Foto: PROSwithun Crowe)
PS: I dedicate this article to my friend Yasmin Hayek, from Gaza, who is suffering with nearly 1.8 million people the shame of being living in a concentration camp in XXI century.

Interview with Uri Avnery

Interview with Uri Avnery

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