Gaza Strip: Blitzed, caged and broken, Palestinians …

Posted By on July 9, 2015

The 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict began on 8 July. By the time the bombardment ceased 50 days later, around 2,200 Palestinians had been killed, the majority of them civilians, including an estimated 500 children. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians lost their lives in Hamas attacks.

One year after the military operation, many people living in the ruins of Gaza fear another conflict, but are unable to leave the coastal enclave. Around 1.8 million people remain trapped in the tiny strip due to an eight-year blockade imposed by both Israel and Egypt.

To mark the anniversary of the conflict, IBTimes UK presents this exclusive photo essay illustrating life in Gaza.

Mimi, Nunu and Lulu Nimer 14, 15 and 16 years old respectively had hoped to leave the Gaza Strip when the family won the US green card lottery.

Their father, Ayman, was optimistic about the possibility of leaving. "There were no safe places in Gaza. We don't have bomb shelters or anything to protect our families," he said. "We live in a big prison, surrounded by the navy at sea, to the south by Egypt, and to the north by Israeli artillery, infantry and tanks. In the sky: drones. We are monitored 24 hours a day with radar and cameras. They have the right to attack at any moment any target they deem suspicious."

More about the Gaza Strip

Ayman was allowed out of the Strip for 24 hours for a preliminary visa interview at the US consulate in Jerusalem. On a second interview, the family's visa was denied because his wife Heba does not have a college degree. Ironically, Heba is an entrepreneur whose jewellery can be seen from all over the world on her brand's Facebook page, but her pieces can't be exported to allow her to expand the business. There is no international postal service in and out of Gaza.

The girls are broken-hearted but their youth will not let them believe that that is it. "It cannot be it. It just can't," they sigh in disbelief.

The frustration felt by the Nimer girls is echoed in much of Gaza's youth. Twenty-three year old rapper Ibrahim, aka MC Gaza, is eloquent on the subject. He said: "I think even our dreams are under occupation. The youth in Gaza is dead. They get diplomas in the universities but then they don't have work, can't travel, can't do anything. We feel both pride and pessimism. Pessimism because of the situation in which we are trapped and pride because we have the capacity to do art, even in this situation."

Ibrahim sees it as his mission to stir debate and motivate his peers. Hamas has forbidden concerts since 2007 when it took power. The remaining cultural and entertainment facilities that it hasn't shut down were either damaged or destroyed in the wars.

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Gaza Strip: Blitzed, caged and broken, Palestinians ...

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