This year is supposed to mark 15 years since Israel imposed its devastating blockade on Gaza, while bombing the infrastructure and destroying every change of livelihood under the disguise of defending Israel.

It’s been 15 years of systematic collective punishment, with entire generations growing up in Gaza virtually isolated from the outside world, with no idea about what life was like before the siege.

We were most recently reminded of this reality, that we have no escape, no way out, when Israel launched Operation Breaking Dawn on August 5, 2022. For three days, we were bombarded with airstrikes, as all the border crossings in and out of Gaza were completely shut off.

Forty-nine people were killed, including 17 children. Just as quickly as the operation started, it ended, and we were expected to go back to our normal lives. 

For young people in Gaza like myself, who can remember what life was like “before,” we remember a time when most of our fathers and older brothers had stable jobs to offer their families a good education, food, and all their needs.

After the siege, everything changed — including people. Poverty and never-ending crises, coupled with wars and bans on our most basic rights, became commonplace.

Rights that might seem trivial to some — the right to movement, to receive proper medical treatment, to be able to sail for fishing farther than the paltry few nautical miles that Israel allows us — often seem like the stuff of dreams to our generation.

We are born to suffer, 18-year-old Majd from Gaza City said. I finished high school in a poor family that can’t help me. I’m the one who has to help my siblings, because my father can’t find work. He used to have his own business, but it went under because of the siege.

These fifteen years of siege by land, air, and sea made Gaza synonymous with the term the largest open air prison concentration camp in the world.

It is true that the commonly recognized starting point of the blockade, upheld by Israel and the Egyptian authorities, is in 2007. But while that official “start” of the siege marked a clear shift in Gaza’s way of life, it didn’t start there.

The strangling of the Gaza Strip by the Zionist state was taking place long before that, representing a gradual tightening of the screw, or a process of slow suffocation, until we’ve now reached the point where we’re hardly able to breathe.

It started in 1948 like it started for everyone else, the catastrophic year that saw the ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians from their homes.

For Israelis, it was their year of independence, when Zionist militias stormed Palestinian towns and villages, razed them to the ground, and displaced the indigenous Palestinians by force of arms, establishing their “State of Israel” on the charred remains of Palestinians towns and villages.

Hundreds of thousands fled, forced off their lands. Thousands more were killed in unspeakable massacres, the details of which are still being uncovered today.

Those 750,000 people became refugees. Many of them found themselves in neighboring Arab states, unable to return to their homes. And others still, especially refugees from southern and coastal regions, fled towards Gaza.

But when the dust of the war settled, they weren’t allowed to go back to their homes. Suddenly, the Gaza Strip had a whole new population, completely transforming it overnight.

The wave of refugees put pressure on Gaza’s economy, and a new struggle between locals and refugees ensued, political researcher and writer Nasr Eliwa told Mondoweiss. The conflicts that arose concerned the distribution of jobs and competition.

According to Eliwa, the social and political impacts of the Nakba upon Gaza were transformational, and are still felt in the Strip to this day.

Gaza became an important political center, due to the influx of people from different geographic, cultural, political, and social backgrounds, now all settled into one place.

A new social class was born, as people were forced to start over after losing their homes, lands, and generational wealth.

In addition to being one of the most overpopulated places on the planet, Gaza has one of the highest refugee populations, with 66% of its indigenous population made-up of refugees, still waiting to return to their homes.

Mondoweiss / ABC Flash-Point News 2022.

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11-09-22 12:51

Gaza- open-air concentration camp -even Americans say– “its like shooting fish in a barrel ” . The Zionist have broken every International Law you can think of–with IMPUNITY ! -courtesy of the USA . I get regular emails from the Palestinian organizations detailing cruelty after cruelty – no woman is spared- no child is spared – no baby is spared because they run Palestine according to the Talmud –the JVP and some Orthodox Jews support the Palestinians but Zionism is a far right political party and they have control-how can any stretch of the imagination not believe their “god ”… Read more »

Reply to  baronmaya
11-09-22 15:25

The dogma of Zionism is the EXCLUSIVE formation of a Jewish state -it leaves no room for any other . This is accented in the Talmud where the removal of non-Jews is demanded by any means available .England was the major mover in the implementation of the Balfour Declaration in establishing a national home for Jewish people . Unfortunately ( for the Zionists ) Palestine was already occupied by millions of Palestinians — England insisted on being the only country to implement this Mandated Order –while the original order added in that non Jews should not be prejudiced this was… Read more »

Reply to  baronmaya
17-09-22 21:14

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11-09-22 13:06

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