‘When the fighting ended on 26 August 2014 – after the deaths of 2,200 Palestinians and 71 Israelis, among them four civilians – Israel vowed to change course on Gaza, ruled by militant Hamas since the organisation took over the area in 2007.
Yet nothing has come of the promises to increase travel permits to let Palestinians out of the “open-air prison”; fewer people are granted permission to leave the Strip than in 2014, even for medical reasons. The crossing into Egypt also remains closed.
Only a third of the some 11,000 homes destroyed in the 2014 war have been rebuilt, the Norwegian Refugee Council estimated recently. The economic knock-on effects of two wars and ten years of Israeli sea and land blockades have led the Gazan economy to effectively collapse, unemployment is sky-high at 41 per cent, rising to 60 per cent for the young, and the threat of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) air strikes is constant.
For the Strip’s two million residents, traumatised by violence, grinding poverty – with little sign of respite – is a daily reality.’