Close

Sun Subscriber Website Login






Please wait....

 
 
News Story
Updated: 04/16/2018 01:19:00AM

Gaza flare-up driven by deep misery in strip

Share this story:


FILE - In this Friday, March 30, 2018 file photo, Palestinian protesters carry a wounded man that was shot by Israeli troops during a demonstration at the Gaza's border with Israel. The flareup of deadly violence in Gaza is of a new kind, even in the inventive annals of Mideast conflicts: Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian demonstrators burning tires and hurling firebombs across what looks like an international border, inflicting casualties while claiming concerns of a mass breach of the barrier. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

FILE - In this Friday, April 6, 2018 file photo, Palestinian protesters run for cover from teargas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes with Israeli troops at the Gaza's border with Israel near Khan Younis. The flareup of deadly violence in Gaza is of a new kind, even in the inventive annals of Mideast conflicts: Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian demonstrators burning tires and hurling firebombs across what looks like an international border, inflicting casualties while claiming concerns of a mass breach of the barrier. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 4, 2018 file photo, Palestinian protesters wave flags in front of Israeli soldiers on Gaza's border with Israel near Beit Lahiya. The flareup of deadly violence in Gaza is of a new kind, even in the inventive annals of Mideast conflicts: Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian demonstrators burning tires and hurling firebombs across what looks like an international border, inflicting casualties while claiming concerns of a mass breach of the barrier. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

FILE - In this Friday, March 30, 2018 file photo, Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas toward Palestinian protesters as they gather at the Israel Gaza border. The flareup of deadly violence in Gaza is of a new kind, even in the inventive annals of Mideast conflicts: Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian demonstrators burning tires and hurling firebombs across what looks like an international border, inflicting casualties while claiming concerns of a mass breach of the barrier. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

FILE - In this Friday, April 6, 2018 file photo, a Palestinian woman and a man hurl stones towards Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel. The flareup of deadly violence in Gaza is of a new kind, even in the inventive annals of Mideast conflicts: Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian demonstrators burning tires and hurling firebombs across what looks like an international border, inflicting casualties while claiming concerns of a mass breach of the barrier. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

FILE - In this Saturday, March 31, 2018 file photo, A Palestinian protester flashes the V sign during a protest at the Gaza's border with Israel near Gaza city. The flareup of deadly violence in Gaza is of a new kind, even in the inventive annals of Mideast conflicts: Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian demonstrators burning tires and hurling firebombs across what looks like an international border, inflicting casualties while claiming concerns of a mass breach of the barrier. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

By JOSEF FEDERMAN and DAN PERRY

Text Size:


ALONG THE ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER — The flareup of deadly violence in Gaza is of a new kind, even in the inventive annals of Mideast conflicts: Israeli soldiers shooting at Palestinian demonstrators burning tires and hurling firebombs across what looks like an international border, inflicting casualties while claiming concerns of a mass breach of the barrier.

But viewed another way, it’s just the latest reflection of basic facts on the ground: the situation for the 2 million people of Gaza is extraordinarily harsh and difficult to resolve. It’s not surprising so many would risk death by converging on the border fence, which has now happened three Fridays in a row, with dozens killed and hundreds injured.

By and large the people of Gaza — over two-thirds of them descended from refugees from what is now Israel — cannot leave their tiny strip of arid land along the Mediterranean coast. Anger toward Israel runs deep, yet dependence is great.

Israel blocks Gazans to the north and east, controlling who and what goes in and out. It blockades their waters to the west and prevents construction of sea and airports, with Egypt completing the blockade to the south.

Israel’s argument is that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, will use materials that come into the strip for building rockets, making bombs and digging attack tunnels. The fear is well-founded.

Israel also severely restricts Gazans leaving the territory in a policy it defends on security grounds, but which often looks punitive. Every exit, even to cross Israel en route to Jordan and beyond for medical, academic, professional or personal purposes, requires the approval of Israel — or Egypt, where the anti-Islamist government also deeply distrusts Hamas.

Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, expelled by Hamas from Gaza in 2007, largely control power supplies. There are just a few hours of electricity a day.

Hamas remains committed to conflict with Israel, and attempts to pressure the population against Hamas are questionable. Gazans simply don’t have the means to overthrow the well-armed group, even if they so wanted.

Meanwhile, half the strip’s workforce is unemployed. Much of the vast destruction from the last war with Israel, in 2014, still has not been rebuilt. Public entertainment is almost nonexistent and alcohol, in the name of Islam, is banned.

Adding insult to injury, the Palestinians do not have a currency. The few bills of cash in Gazan pockets are Israeli shekels emblazoned with the likenesses of Jewish religious and Zionist political figures.

Hamas says the border protests will continue through May 15, the anniversary of Israel’s founding and the “nabka” (catastrophe) for the Palestinians — a day of mourning to mark the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of people who fled or were expelled from their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s creation. It has signaled it may attempt a mass border breach, just as Israel fears. With Israel digging in its heels, and only muted debate in Israel over the high casualty count, bloodshed is likely to continue.


Reader Comments (0)

Previous Page | Next Page



ADVERTISEMENT