These are dark days for every Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip, the narrow corridor of land that is just 363 square kilometres. Because of Israel’s illegal acts and violent efforts to isolate the Strip, it is an open prison to the more than 1.8 million Palestinians living there in a state of virtual siege.
For Palestinians who attempt to break out or even gather at the barbed wire fence that imprisons them, they are met with fusillades of bullets by Israeli occupation regime forces who fire and kill at will without any moral compunction. And for those who attempt to make a living by fishing offshore, occupation force gunboats fire on them in what are open and international waters. And for those who have attempted to improve their lives through education, schools are shuttered as Washington cut off its financial support to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that has supported Palestinians in the seven decades since the Nakba.
Now, the Gaza Strip is without fuel supplies, cut off by the occupation regime because Palestinians had the tenacity to violently protest and reject the conditions of open-air imprisonment imposed on every child, woman and man living there. Conditions in the Gaza Strip are now horrendously nightmarish, and Palestinian protests cannot justifiably end until such a time as the occupation regime eases its chokehold there.
But it is not just in the Gaza Strip that Palestinians are being intimidated and killed. At the weekend, a woman died when her car was targeted by colonists, throwing stones at her for daring to drive in her own land stolen by these murderous cowards and interlopers. These colonists will face no judicial consequences for her killing, an act that shows their true barbarity and violent nature.
Right now, more than ever, there is a burning desire for justice and a lasting solution to the plight of Palestinian people. But they need international support and the solidarity of a global community that will not bend to the narrow and narcissistic visions of the few in occupied Jerusalem and Washington. And while the focus is often on other areas of the Middle East, the Palestinian question remains the most important and fundamental.
If there is to be a just peace, it must be based on the agreed tenets of a two-state solution — one that recognises the integrity of the Palestinian people, their history and heritage. It cannot be a two-state solution where open-air prison conditions are imposed on the Gaza Strip, or where colonists kill Palestinians at will. Given Washington’s actions in cutting funds to UNRWA and moving its embassy to occupied Jerusalem, it certainly seems now as if that two-state solution is further away than ever before.