Gaza has been under siege for more than ten years, now. There isn’t even water anymore. There is only salt water. Only sea water. You feel sticky all the day, in Gaza. All the days, for years. And every now and again, an F-16 comes and bombs. Every now and again, suddenly, you die.
We’ve got familiar with the brutal figures of Gaza. Nearly two million Palestinians live here, and 80 percent live on humanitarian aid: 50 percent, are “food insecure“, in Un jargon. 50 percent are hungry. And 45 percent are under 15. In Gaza you have electricity only for four hours per day.
Which means that for 20 hours per day, hospitals have no ventilators, no incubators. They have no light on operating tables. And yet, in Gaza there is a word that tells more than all these figures: Tramadol. Which is a painkiller. A painkiller for dogs. And it is the most popular drug, here. So many youth, all over the world, use ecstasy, cocaine, meth, to feel high until dawn. But in Gaza, if you are in your twenties, you just want to fall asleep and forget.
Every two, three days there is a suicide attempt. Over the last ten years, Israel has prohibited even the entry of pencils, toys, musical instruments, cookies and chips. It estimated that to stay alive, Palestinians need 2,279 calories each: and it prohibited everything else. But the siege has never been enforced only by Israel. Gaza borders with Egypt, too: and Egypt, in 2014, shut down its crossing. The few times it opens, the only way to get through, to move up the waiting list, is to pay. To pay a policeman. Because the siege, over the last ten years, has been a crime, but a business as well. For the many profiteers of the tunnel economy, all affiliated to Hamas, and for Hamas itself, that charges a tax on all smuggled goods – what everywhere else would be rather called a bribe.
If in Gaza 80 percent of the population depends on humanitarian aid, it’s also because Fatah, to punish Hamas, stopped paying the salary to the Palestinian Authority employees. Last year, it stopped paying for the electricity, too. In Gaza 45 percent of essential medications are now out of stock: they are not blocked in Israel, but in West Bank warehouses. According to the Un, Gaza in 10 years will be unfit to life.
Living in Gaza means to live in a cage. On an average day, only 240 Palestinians are allowed to cross the Eretz border – down to 26,000 before the second Intifada. And whatever happens, it happens in the world’s indifference, and in the utmost impunity. During the last attack, in 2014, Israel bombed Gaza with the same amount of explosive of Hiroshima: but after 2,168 dead, 77 percent of them civilians, 30 percent of them children, only five soldiers were prosecuted for war crimes. The harshest sentence was 7 months. For stealing a credit card. You meet these kids who say: I’m 12 years and three wars old.