Gideon Levy in the New York Times:
Sometime in the mid-1990s, I bade farewell to the Gaza Strip. In thrall to the great illusion, sweet and dizzying, that were the 1993 Oslo peace accords, I was sure that Gaza was about to be liberated from Israel’s occupation. The fate of that stretch of land mattered to me very much. There were nearly 700,000 Palestinian refugees there at the time, many already second- and third-generation. Most lived in camps, in disgraceful conditions.
Two decades later, Gaza is even worse off. The number of refugees there has almost doubled, reaching 1.3 million, out of a total population close to 1.9 million. Its residents are even less free. In fact, they have been under blockade by Israel — with help from Egypt — after the militant group Hamas took power in 2007. Unemployment has reached nightmarish figures: more than 46 percent overall in late 2017, and close to 65 percent for people under 30. Israel continues to tighten its hold, building an underground wall into the sandy soil to block tunnels that Hamas has dug.
This Friday, like the three Fridays before, thousands of Gazans faced offhundreds of Israeli soldiers across a fence. They are expected to gather again for more protests every Friday until May 15, the day that commemorates what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe: the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 — which meant the loss of hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages.