“Something to live for”

Gaza Conditions in Gaza continue to be in a dire state with many Palestinians left struggling to access basic services as the Strip’s infrastructure is in tatters. Israel’s military operation ‘Protective Edge’ last summer aggravated the already poor economic and humanitarian situation. As part of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders dedicated to peace and human rights, former US President Jimmy Carter has just returned from a mission to Israel and Palestine and explains: “Independent experts and UN officials confirmed our worst expectations. What we saw and heard only strengthened our determination to work for peace and the lifting of the blockade. “The situation in Gaza is intolerable. Eight months after a devastating war, not one destroyed house has been rebuilt and people cannot live with the respect and dignity they deserve. Gaza’s 1.8 million people are besieged, isolated and desperate. They cannot enjoy any of the aspects of normal life, from trade and travel to health and education, that people in my country – and indeed in Israel – take for granted. We were told repeatedly by people from all sides of the political divide that, without any meaningful and rapid change in their circumstances, another war was inevitable. In fact, one Israeli mother we met at a kibbutz which border Gaza summed it up perfectly when she told us: ‘If they [the Gazans] have nothing to live for, then they will find something to die for.’” Recently raised concerns over a growing IS influence in the Strip is indicative of a mobilised and burned out society increasingly turning towards radical ideas as a last resort. In order to tackle violence and conflict, it needs collective, regional and international effort to develop Gaza and Palestine into a state where people find something to live for.

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