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Fifteen years of Gaza blockade: Open the doors of our prison now | Gaza

Fifteen years of Gaza blockade: Open the doors of our prison now | Gaza

This month, as the devastating blockade on the Gaza Strip officially entered its 15th year, I re-read David Rose’s explosive report, The Gaza Bombshell, to remind myself (as if it is possible to forget) how the United States and Israel worked together to transform my homeland into what even the most mainstream NGOs describe as “the world’s largest open-air prison”.

The story, as shocking as it may be, is quite simple. In early 2006, the Bush administration in the US kindly “invited” the people of Gaza to head to the polls to elect their representatives in a legislative council election. While Gazan Palestinians thought, as is customary in democratic elections, they should vote for the candidates they believed would best represent their interests, this was not the case – Washington wanted us to vote according to its, and Israel’s, interests instead.

So, Palestinians ended up making the “wrong” choice, at least in the eyes of our colonial oppressors. And we have been severely punished for this “mistake” for the past 15 years.

The deadly blockade imposed on us for electing Hamas turned Gaza not only into an open-air prison, but into a concentration camp: in this once beautiful enclave, two million people, almost half of them children under the age of 15, are now desperately trying to survive without a secure supply of water, food, electricity and medicines, in a clear violation of international humanitarian law embodied in the Geneva Conventions.

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In the last 15 years, while under this medieval siege that turned us into prisoners in our own homeland, we also endured four genocidal wars. More than 4,000 civilians, including many children, perished under Israeli bombardment, for the sole crime of being born in Gaza.

As we were being systemically…

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