Prolonged closure and isolation have contributed to the crippling of Gaza’s economy, with unemployment at 52 percent and poverty levels of over 50 percent.
A sly dig at the international community, this is just one among a torrent of social media posts that have emerged from the blockaded Gaza Strip in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The world lockdown has sparked a surge of bitter feelings on social media from Palestinians in the tiny coastal enclave who has for years lived with enforced isolation and confinement.
Dear people of the world,— Mohammad mhawish (@MohMhawesh) March 18, 2020
Are you afraid to lose your love?
Can't move freely?
Is access to health care has become a daily struggle?
We understand you ..
We have been living like this for years.
Sincere greetings and solidarity from Gaza#Coffed_19 #Corona#Gaza
“Have you got bored with your quarantine, the closure of your crossings, your airports and your trade? We in Gaza have been living this for 14 years,” one social media user posted this week.
“Oh world, welcome into our permanent reality,” he added.
Other social users highlighted that the lockdown in developed countries had very little to do with Gaza or Kashmir, where people are living in inhumane conditions.
pls stop comparing Corona lockdown to Kashmir or Gaza ... a voluntary contract of isolation where community adapts w you is really not the same as a BRUTAL containment w resources shut & violence outside ur door— sadia khatri (@sadikhatri) March 16, 2020
Gaza, measuring 375 square kilometers is home to around two million Palestinians, more than half of them refugees.
Along 90 percent of its land and sea boundaries its access to the outside world is controlled by Israel, and by Egypt on its narrow southern border.
An illegal Israeli-led blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years, while three wars killed thousands of Palestinians - and around 100 Israelis.
The irony is not lost on Gazans that the restrictions they chafe against may also have contributed to slowing the entry of coronavirus, with no cases reported thus far in Gaza.
Standing in his empty metal factory in northern Gaza City, businessman Youssef Sharaf recalled the years when he used to be able to export electric heaters to Israel and the West Bank.
“I had 70 people working here, today I only have one,” Sharaf told Reuters. Although the underlying causes of his closure were man-made, he empathized with those facing shutdown because of disease.
If for 13 years Israel has shown no humanity to Palestinians in Gaza, why would they now? Gaza is an open-air prison with no clean water, lack of medical supplies, nowhere to isolate and no way to escape. Israel allowing only 200 tests for 1.8 million captive people is monstrous pic.twitter.com/O3EBni2lwz— Jewish Voice for Peace (@jvplive) March 17, 2020
“It is tough,” he said. “May God be with them.”
But in Gaza’s small but resilient high-tech sector, the obstacles that stop travel abroad also forced the early adoption of teleconferencing and other practices that the world is now catching up with.
At Gaza Sky Geeks, an incubator for young entrepreneurs, computer programmers, and web developers work remotely with international firms.
“Because of the years-long blockade on us, Gaza people better understand the current situation in world countries,” said Angham Abu Abed, 24, a computer engineer who works with a software company in Britain.
“We hope the blockade on us will end, and we hope the virus will disappear from the world.”