It has been a year since Israel occupied, demolished and dominated the Gaza Strip. According to the United Nations, more than 2,100 Gazans were decimated, whilst around 70 Israelis had died. These lives included forgotten patriotic soldiers, innocent mothers, and guiltless children. The July 2014 fifty-day war, was the third war in six years. It was by far, the most destructive. This means that a seven-year-old child, somewhere in Gaza, has already experienced three wars in their short life. That’s not a childhood. That’s an atrocity.
After fifty days, war ended. Gaza was a distant memory. International journalists had dispersed. Palestinian journalists had no choice but to live the repercussions of this war. The obliteration. The ongoing danger and violence. Everything. Where were the media? They were not in Gaza. Where were the Arabic channels? They were not in Gaza! You don’t have to be Palestinian to understand that the Gaza war last year was a tragedy.
One year on, everything is the same. Palestinian ‘homes’ are still wrecked. Palestinians have no choice but to live in these wrecked rubbles. Nothing is new. Nothing has changed. Now that it is one year on, the journalists have flooded back. Why can’t this foreign sympathy be translated to foreign aid? If anything is flying into Gaza, it should be the promised international aid that is yet to come. It should be clean water, safe for human consumption given that 96 per cent of Gaza’s natural ‘fresh’ water is unsuitable for such consumption. The blockade still hasn’t been lifted. Homes have barely been rebuilt. It is a wasteland. A forgotten wasteland.
International and local media are reminding the citizens of the disaster last year. It is awful enough that they have to live the tragedy every day, but being questioned on the war is heartbreaking. These are families that are still mourning. These are families who have had their whole generation wiped out. These are families who are struggling to fast during Ramadan and some even losing faith. Without a doubt, Israel has been indiscriminate. Many argue that the media who do not visit Gaza, are supporters of Israel. They want Gaza to be forgotten.
It would be unfair to put the blame entirely on Israel. Hamas, internationally recognised terrorists, have threatened Israel. If Hamas had not fired a rocket at Israel and kidnapped their civilians, this war may not have even happened. Israel has the right to protect its citizens – even through a means of force. But it started to be in the wrong once this ‘force’ became excessive. Indiscriminate attack can never be justified because every innocent life that died, had a story, had a family and had a future. There was no ultimate justice or morality in the attacks, especially with the effects enduring to this day.
Social media has also forgotten about Gaza. Last July, almost everyone had their WhatsApp profile pictures supporting Gaza. Last July, almost everyone was campaigning for the war to end. Last July, Twitter had growing trends like #FreeGaza or #LongLiveGaza. As the media slows down, social media simultaneously slows down too. As this slows down, imagine how quickly the hope falls for war-weary Gazans?
Who is to blame, Hamas or Israel? It is not worth the time to investigate who the true culprit is – especially because both sides will deny responsibility anyway. Let’s not forget Gaza. Let’s support and encourage international aid. Let the campaigns grow. Let’s prevent further deaths – and with hope, these civilians may be given new proper homes and a new beginning.