Apr 2, 2018
On March 30, the Israeli military opened fire on Palestinians protesting at the border fence surrounding the Gaza Strip, killing at least 15 protestors and wounding more than 1,000. The situation in Gaza seems on the verge of boiling over.
Gaza is a narrow strip of land stuck between Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Its two million residents are mostly either refugees or the descendants of refugees, forced off their land when Israel was founded in 1948 and the years following. Israel, and to a lesser degree Egypt, control the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza.
And since 2014, Israel and Egypt have been squeezing Gaza to the breaking point. Israel has made it harder and harder for people to enter or leave the strip, meaning Gazans cannot go to work in Israel. It lets fewer and fewer trucks go in with supplies. Gaza gets less access to power and water than ever.
As a result of all this, life in Gaza is becoming untenable. More than half of Gazans rely on food aid from the United Nations. Electricity is only on for three to six hours a day. According to official figures, unemployment is 44% and rising. Gaza is on the brink of “total institutional and economic collapse,” according to the UN official responsible for the Middle East peace process.
As their lives and prospects deteriorate, is it any wonder that the Gazans protest? And in response to these protests, Israel offers only brutal killings and threats of more. The Israeli defense minister even tweeted in Arabic: “You go close to the fence, you put your life in danger.” Israel is warning these two million people in an open-air prison not to go near their prison’s walls, or they will face massacre by the most modern weapons!
Behind Israel stands, first of all, U.S. imperialism. Israel is the most reliable U.S. ally in this vital region. By propping up the Israeli regime, economically, militarily, and diplomatically, the U.S. is directly responsible for this human disaster unfolding in Gaza.