Dystopia in the Gaza Strip

A human catastrophe is taking place just an hour away (from Israel); a humanitarian disaster, a horror for which Israel bears the brunt of the blame — and Israel is occupied by the sexual assault allegations against TV executive Alex Gilady

The interview with Israeli psychologist Mohammed Mansour is one of the most shocking, terrifying and upsetting documents to be published here recently.

If Israel were a moral society and not nationalist and brainwashed, its foundations would be shaking. This should have been the topic of the day, the tempest of the day. A human catastrophe is taking place just an hour away; a humanitarian disaster, a horror for which Israel bears the brunt of the blame — and Israel is occupied by the sexual assault allegations against TV executive Alex Gilady.

Mansour returned from a visit to the Gaza Strip as a volunteer with Physicians for Human Rights — Israel. He is an expert in treating trauma, and no one could remain unmoved by his observations from his two most recent visits. Right or left, it doesn’t matter, anyone with an iota of humanity would be shocked.

Over one-third of the children he met in the Jabalya refugee camp reported being sexually abused. Their parents, caught in a war for survival and themselves suffering from depression, are incapable of protecting them. In Gaza, it is impossible to remove the children and their parents from their sources of trauma because the trauma does not and will not end; adults and children live in terrible pain. No one is mentally healthy in Gaza. Chaos, that’s the word.

Mansour describes dystopia*, a society that is falling apart. Devastation. Gazans demonstrate astonishing endurance, spirit and solidarity in their families, villages, neighborhoods and camps, after all the plagues they have suffered: refugees, children of refugees, grandchildren of refugees and great-grandchildren of refugees, are falling apart.

Mansour described an all-out struggle for survival, with addiction to painkillers as the last refuge. Nothing is left of the Gaza we knew. Nothing reminds us of the Gaza that we loved. “It will be difficult to restore Gaza’s humanity. Gaza is hell,” says Mansour.

The descriptions given by Mansour, as harsh as they are, should not surprise anyone. Everything is being conducted according to the book, the greatest book of experiments on human beings. This is the only possible outcome of the imprisonment of two million people in an enormous cage for over 10 years, without any way out and without any hope.

The blockade of the Gaza Strip is the biggest war crime Israel has ever committed. This is the second Nakba, even more horrifying than its predecessor. This time Israel does not have the excuses of war and the Arabs fleeing. Even the excessive security excuses can no longer convince anyone, except for the Israelis who are incited against Gaza. Only they have no moral problem with the existence of a human cage on their border. Only they have a thousand excuses and accusations against the entire world, some false, such as the claim that Hamas rose to power through the use of force; or that the Qassam rockets began after Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip — anything to silence the already always-quiet conscience — after all, these are Arabs.

We are talking about Gaza. We are talking about human beings. Tens of thousands of children and babies with no present and no future. Human sacrifices, whose fate interests no one.

In the lull between one vicious attack by Israel and another, among the ruins that Israel caused for no purpose and that have not been rebuilt, Gaza is ahead of even the most miserable forecasts. The United Nations has warned that by 2020 the Gaza Strip could become “uninhabitable.” In 2017, it is already a hell.

Israel has not allowed any Israeli journalist into the Gaza Strip for over a decade — in order to spare Israelis the slight discomfort that the sights there might cause them. Volunteers from Physicians for Human Rights, all of them Arabs, are the only Israelis who manage to enter Gaza. Mansour’s report is a report smuggled out of a ghetto. The Gaza Strip may be compared to a ghetto. With bowed head and great outcry, we must compare them. Gaza is a ghetto, and the world is silent.

by Gideon Levy


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