A correspondent living in the Gaza Strip reports (extracts)
« Three months after the end of the last Israeli military attack (10 to 21 May 2021) on the Gaza Strip*, which has been under an Israeli blockade for more than fourteen years, nothing has changed, despite the mobilisation of people in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, and despite international promises of reconstruction. Nothing has changed: we – 2 million Palestinians in Gaza – are still locked in by an inhuman blockade that continues to claim many victims, while the pandemic continues to rage.
“Despite the ruins, the grief, the anxiety and the pain, life is slowly returning: we will never accept the subjugation of our people by an Israeli colonial regime. Our memory is marked by the fire of the bombing, the ruins, the blood and tears, but the day will come when Palestine will be liberated.
“Today, of the 9,000 inhabitants who have lost all their possessions, more than 1,000 have taken refuge in temporary shelters, awaiting the arrival of reconstruction materials, 5,000 are renting flats and more than 3,000 have decided to live in the ruins of their homes, patching up a few rooms, in conditions that are harshly difficult.
“Due to the blockade that has been in place for over fourteen years, the crossings to the outside are often closed by order of the Israeli military. Food and basic necessities that enter Gaza are rare, because the only commercial route that connects the Gaza Strip to the outside is controlled by Israeli forces, and it only opens two or three times a week to let in a few humanitarian convoys. Under any and all pretexts, the crossing can be closed by Israeli decision.
“Because of a lack of fuel oil due to the latest targeted bombings, the sole and unique power station in Gaza can only function at reduced capacity. Thus each household is only entitled to six hours of electricity per day, with dramatic consequences on hospitals and medical centres.
“The Israeli army does not respect the truce and violates the ceasefire agreement
almost daily. Tanks raid different towns, soldiers control the buffer zones at the borders and shoot at peasants. In late August 2021, the Israeli army murdered two Palestinians and injured sixty-five with live ammunition, including fourteen children. These Palestinians were peacefully demonstrating near the buffer zones. The population of Gaza fears the resumption of Israeli attacks at any time and under any pretext, as the ‘international community’ kept a complicit silence during the Israeli aggression last May. Added to this is the tension between the different Palestinian parties and movements that could hinder the beginning of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
“The only sign of hope for the population is education. It is the priority in schools, kindergartens, educational centres and universities, because Palestinian youth is the future of a free, united and indivisible country. Despite the total or partial destruction of thirtytwo schools and three universities, the youth of Gaza are resuming their studies in the rubble of the damaged schools, under the guidance of their dedicated teachers.
“The people of Gaza hope that the popular demonstrations around the world will make a difference, that they will bring about the lifting of the blockade, the opening of the borders and the prosecution of the war crimes committed by the Israeli army before international justice.
“The Palestinians of Gaza, confident and determined, have only one option, to resist on their land with their only weapon, courage, and one hope: a radical change, for a political solution that would allow them to live free in Gaza and in Palestine.”
From Gaza, Z. M., 30 August
*From 10 to 21 May 2021, 1,820 air strikes killed 267 Palestinian civilians, including 67 children and 39 women, and injured 1,947, including 630 children, 360 women, 20 journalists, 9 ambulance drivers, 10 municipal workers. 45,000 people were displaced to schools and shelters.