FJA Shortlist 2020

Category: Contribution to Civil Rights

Andrea Backhaus (Germany)

Dreams Live On Behind the Fence

ZEIT ONLINE

July 8, 2019

The original publication is available via the following link: https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2019-07/gaza-strip-palestinians-dreams-israel-blockade-english

There's propaganda, violence and hate on both sides, and young people have been cut off from many opportunities. Yet life goes on here in the Gaza Strip.

The first umbrellas have been set up on the beach, with towels laid out between them and plastic chairs dug into the fine sand. A couple of boys and girls run into the water as the grown-ups lounge in the shade. The sun glints off the waves, and the sky is deep blue and cloudless on this Friday morning in June. It could be a normal day on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Except for that aggravating noise, the humming of Israeli drones circling above in the sky – apparently watching everything and everyone. The view of the sea is also far from idyllic, with Israeli patrol boats visible on the horizon. Normally, Palestinian fishermen can take their boats a few miles out to sea. Recently, though, the Israeli military has completely sealed off the area off Gaza's coast and anyone who approaches the naval ships will be fired on. The total naval blockade is intended as punishment for the fact that militant Palestinians have again been deploying balloons and kites to launch incendiary or explosive devices at Israel. In retaliation for the blockade, Hamas has fired a rocket at southern Israel, with the Israeli air force responding overnight by bombing Hamas bunkers.

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