Where is Gaza?
The Gaza strip, the 140 square mile stretch of land, located along the Mediterranean coast between Israel and Egypt has endured catastrophic attacks, long-suffering wars, and deleterious situations as people continue to survive under pernicious conditions. According to the 2020 statistics, 45.4% of the population is unemployed with the health care system falling apart at an alarming rate. As if the ongoing wars weren’t enough to vex the habitants, the current ruling group- Hamas has contributed to their misery. Hamas is an Islamist political group that took control over Gaza in 2006. Since then, a blockade has been imposed which seeks to prevent the smuggling of weapons in and out of the Israeli territory. This volatile area is the brunt of wars that have been going on for centuries. Bereft of health care facilities and employment opportunities, people seek to protest vehemently against the injustices committed against them.
How did Hamas land the opportunity to rule?
All this goes way back to 1967’s Six-day war when Egypt seized control of Gaza from Israel along with some other pieces of land. A nationalist-Islamist spinoff of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas was founded in 1987, during the first intifada, and later emerged at the forefront of armed resistance to Israel. In 2006, gaining popular support, the Hamas candidates won the elections but were soon dismissed in 2007 which resulted in the bifurcation of the West Bank and Gaza strip. Clashes between Hamas and Fatah( opposition) prompted Fatah to dismantle their troops and call out a state of emergency. After this, Hamas was given the full-fledged control over the Gaza strip.
Conflict with Israel
After the triumph of Hamas, Israel declared Gaza Strip to be unhostile and unlivable under it. Israel approved a series of sanctions that included power cuts, heavily restricted imports, and border closure. As the tension escalated, Hamas attacks on Israel continued as like Israel’s attacks on Hamas. Finally, in 2008, a glimpse of hope appeared when both sides decided to a truce and meet midway. But all these hopes soon disappeared with a complete border closure. Till today the border is completely bolted as the living conditions are slowly exacerbating. From August 6, Israel has bombed Gaza almost daily in retaliation to the firebombs suspended from balloons released from the Palestinian territory. Hamas has been trying to persuade Israel to ease the restrictions on the blockade for easier access to resources. Rather, with tensions soaring high, Israel has tightened the restrictions, banned sea access, and halted fuel imports from the coastal strips. Israeli forces have halted the operations of Gaza’s only power plant as the residents now have access to only limited hours of electricity. Officials state that the shutdown of this power plant will cause a detrimental effect on the economy and health sector. Disagreements between the two have fueled repeated flare-ups as the bombings continue. Citizens have always been caught between such disastrous vicissitudes that have deprived them of the necessities. Repeated rifts and the downfall of negotiations have not contributed to alleviate the situation and all the blame goes to the erroneous and crippling political system along with protracted wars.