In Gaza, life persists amid the rubble
This past summer’s conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, which was sparked by the June deaths of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, wounded more than 100,000 and displaced an estimated 300,000 people in Gaza, according to NBC News.
On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers were killed and six civilians died, according to the Israeli Army.
The Gaza Strip, a Palestinian region on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent to Egypt, is just 139 square miles and home to 1.8 million people, about half of them children under the age of 18. One of the poorest and most densely populated regions in the world, it is run by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that controls a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament.
Throughout the conflict, Israel and Hamas traded military strikes, and while the death toll was much higher on the Gaza side, Hamas was accused of firing at Israel from civilian areas. Throughout the summer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas attacks.
In July, Hamas rockets reached as far as Tel Aviv, within a mile of its Ben Gurion International Airport, causing U.S. airlines to briefly suspend flights to the area.
Residents of Gaza have limited mobility in the region, and given that its official border crossings with Egypt and Israel are largely restricted, people are mostly unable to flee the grim conditions. Alaa Radwan, head of the Popular Committee for Monitoring the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, gave his projections for rebuilding the region in a recent interview with Haaretz: “Given the pace at which construction materials are currently entering Gaza, it will be at least 20 years,” he said.
The reconstruction effort in Gaza is expected to cost more than $4 billion dollars.
Japanese photographer Q. Sakamaki recently traveled to Khan Yunis, a city in southern Gaza, to document the aftermath of the conflict, which ended in a ceasefire on August 26. Sakamaki found many Gazans displaced by the Israeli shelling still living in the ruins of their homes without assistance. These people are often living in tents in their ruined homes and have little to no money to relocate.