Op-Ed via The Nation

How Israel’s 10-Year Blockade Brought Gaza to the Brink of Collapse

The stories read like dispatches from a nightmare, describing a reality that is almost too extreme to fathom: nearly 2 million people locked inside a land mass the size of Philadelphia, the borders carefully controlled, the movement of goods and humans severely restricted; as much as 72 percent of the population facing food insecurity and 41 percent struggling with unemployment; hospitals forced to rely on generators for life-saving equipment, while supplies of life-saving medicines dwindle to dangerous levels; and looming in the not-far-off distance, as water treatment and desalination plants stop working, the risk that drinking water will run out.

Such is the daily reality of life in the Gaza Strip, the narrow Mediterranean enclave that is home to nearly half of all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. It is a place where life has long been cruel, where refugees forced out of Israel during the Nakba and families who have lived in Gaza for generations have suffered under dire conditions for nearly 70 years. But in the last decade, it has become a site of stunning misery. Ten years ago this past June, Israel imposed a stringent land, sea, and air blockade on Gaza. With the ready help of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime in Egypt, they have restricted most movement to and from the strip and pushed the tiny territory to the brink of collapse. Today some 80 percent of Gaza’s population relies on humanitarian aid to survive. Conditions have become so extreme that the United Nations has stated that by 2020 the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable.

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