For eleven days in May 2021 the Israeli military bombed Gaza, killing at least 242 Palestinians including 66 children. A ceasefire has been reached, but as Refaat Alareer outlines in this clip, the cost for Palestinians in Gaza in terms of loss of life, destroyed homes, and suffering has been enormous. And while bombing has ended, the pain that has resulted from these attacks will continue as does the Gaza blockade and Israel occupation. Ending the bombing is not enough, the oppression of occupation and Israeli imposed Apartheid policies must also end. As Refaat states, for Palestinians in Gaza, “death is not [always] the worst case scenario.” These are the realities that we must change.
Additionally, during the attack Israel destroyed at least 15 factories and many other businesses. This comes on top of 14 years of blockade which has devastated the Palestinian economy. The unemployment rate in Gaza stands at over 50% and over 80% of the population were dependent on international assistance to survive even before these attacks. While the international community has said it will provide humanitarian assistance to help with reconstruction, the blockade stands in the way of recovery and change. Listen to Asmaa to learn more the economic impacts of the attack and the blockade.
Finally, the attacks came at a time when Covid-19 was spreading rapidly in Gaza. Even before the Pandemic, the United Nations and others had warned that Gaza was ripe for the outbreak of a devastating epidemic. The medical system in Gaza is over stretched and regularly has less than half of the basic medicines needed in stock because of the blockade. Facilities for complex treatments are not available in Gaza and access to health care outside of Gaza is limited by the Israeli imposed blockade. Over 100,000 people in Gaza have already contracted Covid-19, and with over 75,000 people displaced from their homes due to the attacks, the ground is ripe for a larger outbreak. On top of this, Israeli bombing killed the Palestinian doctor in charge of responding to the Covid crisis in Gaza, destroyed the primary Covid testing center in Gaza, and damaged many other clinics and hospitals. In this clip Asmaa speaks about her own experience with Covid-19.