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Fleeing Gaza is Impossible

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I support the innocent civilians on both sides. Many do not realize that the people of Palestine cannot flee. This entire situation began after Western meddling in foreign policy when France and Britain decided to send Jewish Europeans to Palestine after World War II. Only 10% of the population was Jewish at this time. On May 15, 1948, Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) occurred amid the rise of the Zionists as there are extremists on both sides. Around 750,000 people or two-thirds of the population were uprooted from their homes and forced to become refugees in a nation they once occupied.

Hundreds of villages were “transferred” or ethnically cleansed of Palestinians during this time. The majority of Palestinians made their home on the Gaza strip, which remains one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Egypt ruled Gaza for nearly 20 years before Israel reclaimed the land in 1967 after the Six-Day War. Numerous Jewish settlements were constructed and they ruled the area for 38 years until foreign pressure led them to withdraw 9,000 settlers and hand over Gaza and parts of the West Bank to Palestine.

Hamas overtook Palestinian leaders for control of Gaza in 2006, and no elections have been held since. Now, over two million Palestinians live within 140 square miles of a heavily militarized territory. Half of the people living in this area are children and teens who have no options for a better life. Fearing Hamas, Israel implemented an air, sea, and land blockade around Gaza in 2007. Nearly all humanitarian groups have asked Israel to repeal or lift this blockade with some describing it as “an open-air prison.”

Israel controls the imports and exports to Palestine. The UN Human Rights Committee permits Israel to block the freedom of movement for Palestinians but “the restrictions must not impair the essence of the right; the relation between the right and restriction, between norm and exception, must not be reversed.” Israel bypasses this basic human right by claiming the rise of Hamas justifies closing off the borders.

Palestine’s economy is in Israel’s hands since it controls all imports and exports. It controls the land that is favorable for agriculture. Unemployment estimates range from 30% to 40% and continue to grow. The World Food Program said 63% of Palestinians are “food insecure,” while the UN believes 65% of the population lives below the poverty line.

So these extremists with nothing to lose spent their entire lives hating their neighbors who live in drastically better conditions. They feel it would be an honor to die fighting for what they believe is a just cause. Both sides see the other as subhuman. The governments, militias, and foreign policy are to blame, but the innocent people on both sides will suffer.