Talk to Al Jazeera: In the Field

Daily life in Gaza: ‘There is no future in this place’

Gaza residents give an insight into their daily lives under Israel’s siege.

In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It was an act considered by many countries around the world as irresponsible and deeply provocative because for Palestinians it endorsed Israel’s illegal occupation of their land.

Gaza residents have protested along the Israel border every Friday since, angry at Trump and demanding for the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the areas they were forcibly expelled from by Zionist militias in 1948.

As Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka, inaugurated the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, Israeli soldiers shot dead 60 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200 others along the border with Gaza.

Palestinians now describe the mounting fury and desperation in Gaza over Israel’s land, air and sea blockade, which began in 2007 following Hamas victory in Gaza elections the previous year.

There is also increasing frustration with the failure of Palestinian politicians to come together and act on behalf of their citizens more effectively. 

“There’s no money because of all the wars and unemployment,” Nafez Adayess, a baker, tells Al Jazeera.

“There’s no work, nothing to keep busy with, nothing. There’s four guys sitting around [but] there’s [only] enough work for an hour. Four men and we’re barely making enough to feed ourselves”.

We live in a prison.

by Nahed Alghool, Gaza resident

Almost four years after the 2014 war, Gaza’s continued isolation has devastated its economy, impoverished its population and left 60 percent without jobs, adequate electricity and health services.

Aid organisations say around 90 percent of Gaza’s water is not safe to drink, raw sewage is pumped directly into the sea because there is not enough electricity to power the sewage system.

“We live in a prison,” says Nahed Alghool, who delivers drinking water.

“People don’t know what to do, the situation is difficult.”

International human rights organisations have repeatedly condemned Israel’s blockade and related restrictions, saying that they contravene international humanitarian law.

Israel says the blockade is a necessary counterterrorism policy against Hamas and denies specifically targeting Palestinians.

In addition to the blockade, the factional fighting between Hamas and the other main Palestinian party, Fatah, has made life for the people of Gaza even more difficult. 

“From the moment the people elected Hamas, they punished us. If we hadn’t elected them, we wouldn’t have been punished,” says Ahmed al-Hissi, a fisherman in Gaza. “We chose our freedom and democracy, but they didn’t want that.”

There have been repeated reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas, but none have succeeded.

An October 2017 deal was supposed to see Hamas hand over control of Gaza to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) so that a unity government could be formed.

In exchange, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promised to lift crippling sanctions that the PA had imposed on Gaza, including payments for electricity and paying the salaries for out of work PA employees.

Hamas says it has handed over administrative control to the PA but refuses to disband its 25,000-strong military wing or to give the PA full control of internal security.

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