“Life and death are the same”

Funeral in Gaza Strip on Sunday. (photo: Ibraheem abu Mustafa / Reuters)

What Gazans are saying about the latest round of violence with Israel.

By Jack Khoury | Haaretz | May 30, 2018

“There is no joie de vivre, no joy during Ramadan. People have no incomes, no food, no medicine. The sense is that the world has forgotten about the Gaza Strip and its people. Life and death are the same side of the coin for a lot of people. I hear people say that explicitly.”
— Samir Zaqut, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza

The feeling among people in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night swung between despair and indifference, beyond the desire for revenge or fear of Israel’s reaction. “The feeling is that there’s nothing to lose,” a Hamas activist wrote. “So maybe war will change something in the miserable reality of the Strip. People are prepared to take another blow if war or conflict will lead to change.”

Calls to take action against Israel intensified with the dozens of deaths in recent weeks; every neighborhood and perhaps every street has known a death, or somebody badly injured, the activist said — and at the same time, the humanitarian situation has not been improving.

“The reasons are legion but death is the same death,” said Samir Zaqut of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, quoting an Arab saying. “I have been living continuously in the Strip since 1998, and we’re in Ramadan, and this is the first time I see the despair everywhere, in every corner,” said Zaqut, who has been monitoring social media. . . .

Maryam Mahmoud, a social activist in Gaza, told Haaretz: “I know people who in their despair have stopped caring. We don’t believe that war or escalation will lead to any material change in the humanitarian situation in the strip. We as residents feel we’re actually hostages to a system of interests and power plays, and where they will lead, nobody can say.”

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