Gaza: The World's Largest Open-Air Prison

Mon Aug 04, 2014 02:06:33AM

The home of the Kware' family in Gaza, after it was bombed by the Israeli militaryBy: Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem's fie
Regardless of how you feel about who is right and who is wrong in the greater scope of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that began anywhere from a few weeks ago, to 7 years ago, to several centuries ago in the past, the living conditions of the people in the Gaza strip is a humanitarian crisis. And something has to be done about it.

Consider yourself living in these conditions:

Approximately 1.8 million people are packed into a very small strip of land. This particular strip of land is widely considered to be one of the most densely populated areas on earth. And approximately 1.1 million people living there are refugees. The total landmass amounts to only 139 sq miles. That's roughly 8 miles by 36 miles long. And it's most populated city is the 40th densest in the world.

You do not have sovereign ownership over your day to day existence. This densely populated landmass that you live on is ultimately controlled in every way imaginable by a superiorly militarized bordering people that has seen fit to barricade the entire territory of which you call home. This neighboring force controls, regulates and severely restricts your ability to operate even the most basic of economic routines: importing and exporting goods. They entirely control your land, air and sea importing and exporting, effectively cutting you off from the rest of the world entirely.

And your access to even the most basic of human requirements to survive are dulled out to you and your people at an alarmingly insufficient supply. Water, electricity, food, medical equipment and care are all rationed by this other force, that only provides you with just enough so that you and your people don't completely starve.

Infrastructure materials are banned from import, due to the paranoia of the ones in charge of the barricade that you'll will somehow fashion them into weaponry. So, any idea you might have to better your surroundings and cityscape goes out the window.

In this densely populated, blockaded place you call home, only 5% of the water is safe to drink. The rest is sewaged saltwater. And due to the recent "operations" carried out by the people that control your territory's every move, your main power supply has just recently been destroyed, effectively leaving 90% of your people's home without electricity.

Hospitals and schools are being bombed and destroyed.

Hundreds of innocent women and children are being indiscriminately murdered, in an unceremonious and unforgiving, judicious manner.

In effect, being that you live in such a place, you have suffered these open-air prison like conditions for at least 7 years, at least ever since you and your people democratically elected a supposed radical regime into power, in hopes to better your standard of living within a region of land that used to be named after your people. And has since been overtaken by another group of displaced refugees, that happens to be backed by the world's largest military superpower.

That's Gaza Strip. The Palestinians living there are not allowed to leave. They are treated like 3rd class citizens in the state of Israel, with little to no awarded rights. Every move they make is monitored. The land they live on is clearly run by the Israeli government. And the Israeli government is treating the entire Gaza strip like a prison, all because they are trying to teach Hamas a lesson in humility.

Now, to be clear, I am NOT condoning Hamas' actions. I will write another blog outlining my opinions on the Hamas-Israeli conflict. In short though, I believe that Hamas is a product of Israel taking advantage of Palestinians for far too long. Hamas is militant and extreme and obviously flawed in many ways, mainly their ardently strict religious convictions. And they do terrorize. Although, their efforts in comparison to the might of Israel do not warrant current retaliation measures.

I am simply trying to paint a picture and humanize the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza strip right now that are suffering, and have honestly known nothing but suffering... most of their entire lives.

7 years is the amount of time that Gaza has been under a blockade, run and regulated by Israel. Regardless of how you feel about Hamas, the living conditions of the Palestinians within Gaza are appalling. I hear the argument that this is all Hamas' fault. And that while its unfortunate that innocent women and children are dying, if Hamas were to simply stop, the killing and conflict would need.

My question is though, consider yourself living in those above conditions. Being a person that was just simply born into this mess, seeing your family and friends and community members being treated this way, understanding what a blockade is and how crippling it makes life in general for everyone around you, would you not be radically upset as well? Is Israel not just simply emboldening the Hamas region, creating even more newly recruited enemies and willing-to-die-for-retaliation-or-change "terrorists" every single day they continue the blockade?

Ending the blockade would be a start. It's part of only a few reasonably sounding demands that Hamas has. Keep in mind, if Israel were to end the blockade on Gaza, their occupation would still be in effect. Palestinians in Gaza would still be 3rd class citizens. But at least they wouldn't be prisoners, living in a strangled economic hell. Make no mistake, regardless of where you place ultimate blame, this is a humanitarian crisis, on the verge of turning into something much more egregious than the already 1700+ Palestine's lives lost and 9000 more wounded. The number of Israeli's killed or injured by Hamas, 64 IDF's and 3 civilians... this is not a war. It is a humanitarian crisis.

What The Media Isn't Telling You About Israel's Attack On Gaza
2 Recommendations
You must be logged in to add a comment. You may signup for a free account to get started or login to your existing account.