Almost a year after the latest destructive war on Gaza, tens of thousands of Gazans are left with no proper access to basic supplies and remain homeless. Many have taken refuge in the rubble of their houses to provide some kind of roof over their heads. Families had been forced to endure the harshness of the cold weather. According to the United Nations, children have died of the cold and lack of medication.
The dreams of many children have been erased from their minds in the same way that their houses and neighbourhoods were wiped off the map. Tens of thou¬sands of pupils face serious difficulties securing an education as their schools are either used as accommodation for homeless families or were reduced to rubble by Israeli air strikes. Conditions in Gaza have made people much more miserable than they have ever been. People feel powerless, hopeless and see no light at the end of the tunnel.
Although Gaza has long been under Israeli siege – making access to electricity, clean water, and proper medication very limited – last year’s invasion has made the situation much more difficult and complicated. The war has left many people, especially children, completely traumatised. More people are forced to live under the poverty line as they have lost their businesses and sources of income. Many agricultural lands and farming areas lie completely destroyed and are now unusable.
More restrictions now apply to businesses. Factories are prevented from importing raw materials, machinery or spare parts. Repairing what they already have is ‘prohibited for security reasons’. Businesses which took decades to build have vanished in seconds. They are not able to market or sell their goods, even in their own markets in the West Banks. The salaries of those still in employment remain unpaid and the rate of unemployment is growing rapidly leaving more young people empty handed. There is an atmosphere of hopelessness and lack of purpose among the youth who feel they can’t provide for their families. Many youngsters are reconsidering their livelihoods in Gaza and have decided to leave their homeland in pursuit of a better life and work opportunities. Many have tried to find their way out with human traffickers by sea. Some succeeded while many others drowned. Since last year’s invasion people’s movement has become almost impos¬sible. Families who are split between Gaza and the West Bank (including husbands and wives who work and live between these places) are not allowed to meet each other. And that is not all; the restrictions apply to movement and activities of journalists, medical and health staff. Today Gaza exists an utter isolation.
The war has increased hatred of Israel. Gazan people have lost any trust in the international community believing it has left them to face Israeli brutality on their own. The war left Gaza’s teens with no option, choice or dream but to fight against Israeli oppression. They feel they are in an open-air jail, prisoners in their own land. Israeli guards stop Gazan students from studying at universities outside the Gaza area. It is a systemic method of killing and destroying the hopes and dreams of a nation. This action can only be considered as a systematic strategy to target the next generation of Gazans and to prevent any hope of this nation to be able to one day have flourishing, educated and motivated young people who could rebuild their country. Gaza is witnessing a slow soul-destroying, demotivating and systematic cleansing.
The removal of the huge mountains of rubble has not started yet, so the rebuilding cannot begin. This has given Gazans the impression that another war is coming, maybe sooner than expected. Death and desperation surround them wherever they look. Gaza is still in real crisis with no exit. It is a kind of trap continuously deepening every day. The world is giving Gaza no choice but to be digested underground or swallowed by the sea, achieving the explicitly expressed dream of Yitzhak Rabin, the former Israeli prime minister.