The War on Gaza Never Stopped

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Donia Al watan
It has been three years since Israel launched its most severe and devastating onslaught against the besieged Gaza Strip. Operation Protective Edge was Israel’s third onslaught against Gaza in 6.5 years, the fourteenth since Israel’s unilateral disengagement in 2005, and the twenty-second attack since Israel announced its disengagement plans in April 2004.

Counterinsurgency warfare together with a comprehensive land blockade and naval siege has become the norm, rather than the exception, of Israeli policy towards Gaza’s 2.1 million Palestinians. There is nothing normal about Israeli policy, which ensures that Palestinians can survive but not thrive. Moreover, even under its meticulous calculations, including a 2000 calorie/day diet, survival is coming under risk as the UN reports that the Gaza Strip will be unlivable by 2020.
Rather than challenge these conditions, the international community is normalizing them. As a partner in the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) the United Nations has not only accepted Israel’s imposition of conditions on goods that can enter the coastal enclave, it has also absolved Israel of responsibility for the devastation caused by war and siege. By maintaining the closure of the Rafah border crossing, Egypt is colluding in the land blockade and by recently cutting aid for electricity to the Gaza Strip, Fatah has become a part of the blockade regime.
Recent regional shifts resulting in the Gulf Cooperation Council boycott of Qatar have exacerbated these conditions as they have resulted in further economic sanctions upon the Gaza Strip. Although Hamas is the purported target of these policies, they are not the primary victim. To the contrary, Hamas is reorienting itself in the region as it is establishing a rapprochement with former Fatah rival, Mohammed Dahlan, as well as with Egypt.
Despite the humanitarian urgency of these conditions, international attention to Gaza is severely lacking unless there is a state of war. These conditions send a resounding message of disdain to the besieged Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip, the majority of whom are under the age of 35. The crisis in Gaza is wrought by a political crisis that can be alleviated by a political solution. The Gaza in Context Team is dedicated to highlighting these conditions and realities. In addition to its resources (a 20-minute multimedia documentary, four teaching guides, and a JadMag) released last year, it will now release a bi-weekly roundup of news sources and campaigns related to lifting the siege on Gaza and changing the conditions on the ground.