Dr. Eyad Sarraj is a psychiatrist and human rights activist who lives in the Gaza Strip. He told a group of Israeli peace activists last week in Tel Aviv the real situation in the Israeli-isolated territory:
Local water is undrinkable. Israel does not let in bottled water. Nor does Israel allow the importation of water pumps. The price of water filters has gone up from 150 NIS to 1000 NIS, there are no spare parts at all for filters. Only the well-to-do can still afford them. However, chlorine is let in.
Israel prevents all imports into the strip, except a small list of about a dozen basic products. Before, 900 trucks were employed daily for the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip, now these are reduced to 15. For example, no soap is allowed in.
There is no cement. When there is a hole in the ceiling, it cannot be repaired. It is impossible to go on building the children’s hospital which has been begun. A medical instrument that goes out of order cannot be repaired, for lack of spare parts. For example: incubators for babies.
The severely sick cannot reach a hospital – neither in Israel, nor in Egypt or Jordan. The few permits issued are often delivered after a fatal delay. In many instances, patients are condemned to death.
Students cannot reach their universities abroad. Foreign citizens who happened to stay in Gaza cannot get out if they have a Palestinian ID. Palestinians who have contracts to work abroad are not allowed to leave. Some Palestinians were allowed to leave through Israel on the way to Egypt, but were not allowed in by the Egyptian authorities and returned to Gaza.
Practically all enterprises have been closed for lack of raw materials. Thus, the Coca Cola factory has closed down.
All prices in the Gaza strip have risen sky-high – fivefold and even tenfold. Life is now more expensive in Gaza than in Tel-Aviv.