Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

How bad is life in Gaza?

    Although partisan views dominate much of what has been said about the lives of the 1.6 million people in the Gaza Strip, a recent pair of conflicting reports have a degree of truth to them.

    The report published last week by the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) calling for urgent action to improve health, education and infrastructure in Gaza seems to contain a great deal of reliable and worrying data. UNRWA's plea is warranted and certainly within the agency's mandate.

    On the other hand, a recent report in the Economist detailed the building of around 550 tower blocks and multi-million dollar investments pouring in from the Gulf states and Turkey.

    These two viewpoints are not irreconcilable. Although Israel still does not allow Gazans to sell their produce in West Bank markets, over the past two years, restrictions on Gaza's borders have been eased, allowing more goods through and a relative freedom of travel for Gazans through Egypt.

    Add to this a new Hamas-friendly administration in Cairo, greater efforts by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Sunni states to counteract Iranian influence and silent co-operation by Israel with Hamas, through intermediaries, and you have the ingredients of an economic revival.

    Even human rights groups have admitted that it is wrong to talk of a "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, using the phrase "food insecurity" instead.

    Ultimately, long-term planning for Gaza is next to impossible while Hamas and Israel do not recognise each other, Hamas's relationship with the PA is stormy and rival Palestinian factions are constantly challenging it. A revival may be happening but it could prove extremely temporary.

Analysis

It's almost sure to be Fillon v Le Pen

John Lichfield

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's almost sure to be Fillon v Le Pen
Analysis

Castro supported Cuban aliyah

Jordan Lancaster

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Castro supported Cuban aliyah
Analysis

Row over Democrats' Muslim hopeful

Jonathan Cummings

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Row over Democrats' Muslim hopeful
Analysis

No Fidelity: Castro's complex relationship with...

Colin Shindler

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No Fidelity: Castro's complex relationship with...
Analysis

Israel faces up to complex challenge

Nathan Jeffay

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Israel faces up to complex challenge
Analysis

Israel eyes opportunities - cautiously

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Israel eyes opportunities - cautiously
Analysis

Mosul has been freed before - ask Jonah

Lawrence Joffe

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mosul has been freed before - ask Jonah
Analysis

The Chief Rabbi is walking a tightrope

Simon Rocker

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Chief Rabbi is walking a tightrope
Analysis

Will these men make world safer? Not likely

Jason Burke

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Will these men make world safer? Not likely