Gaza...1000 Days Under Siege

Israel has been sealing off the Gaza Strip, home to nearly 1.6 million, since 2006.
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Pitifully looking at her baby child, Om Yamen is recalling the past 1,000 days of her life under a crippling Israeli siege.

"Life has been a living hell," she told in a broken voice. "We can’t stand this anymore. The siege has exhausted us and broken our backs."

The 1.6 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, a costal enclave, are marking 1,000 days since Israel slapped a crippling siege on their territory.

"Each night seemed like a thousand days," said the tears-eyed Palestinian mother.

Israel has clamped a siege on the Gaza Strip since Hamas was voted to power in the 2006 legislative elections.

It further tightened the blockade after Hamas assumed control in 2007 following clashes with Fatah rival.

The situation worsened after Israel launched a three-week deadly onslaught on Gaza last December, killing more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians.

The offensive wrecked havoc on the infrastructure of the densely-populated enclave, leaving some 20,000 homes and thousands other buildings in ruins.

Israel bans the entry of materials needed to rebuild Gaza, such as cement and steel, effectively undermining efforts to rebuild the strip.

"We have taken a lot of suffering," said Om Yamen. "Our hearts have been broken. I don’t think we can bear this anymore."


The crippling siege has left the Gazan population lacking the simplest means of life.

"We are fed up with the siege," a frustrated Yusuf Radi, who rarely finds a buyer of his child toys, told "We have no work or electricity. Even cooking gas has become a scarcity."

The Israeli siege has sharply increased poverty in the Strip, leaving nearly eight out of every 10 people dependent on aid and leading businesses to close and lay off workers.

"There is neither electricity, water, medicine, cooking gas nor baby milk," said Abu-Mazen Murtagi. "The siege has taken hard on us."

Many international human rights groups have accused Israel of pursuing a policy of collective punishment against the Gaza population.

"We have run out of patience," said an angry Maged Al-Sharfa, a merchant. "We are no longer able to endure this. Life has become meaningless and the siege has hit hard everything in the strip."

Bushrah Hamad is waiting for what the coming days will bring. "It’s true that we endured the past days despite our suffering and screams, but we can’t take anymore," she said. "At the end of the day, we are human beings and will collapse at any moment."

Rima Salama, a student, is not optimistic."These 1000 days will be followed by thousands others," she said. "The siege has become part of us. It never goes away."


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