It is over a year since Israel ended its brutal attack on Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, yet it appears that time stands still. The scars left by 22 days of land, naval and aerial bombardment and invasion remain fresh.
The siege on Gaza has affected more than the flow of goods. NGOs are prevented from attending human rights conferences abroad because the borders are closed; patients are dying because they cannot travel abroad for urgent medical treatment; and exceptional students are losing scholarships abroad because they are not allowed to leave Gaza. This is the situation that Ayman Talal finds himself in; he has been awarded an academic scholarship to study a Masters degree in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies at St Jaume I University in Spain, but the 23 year old is prevented from leaving Gaza by the blockade.
Nevertheless life continues in Gaza. Pens and paper are not allowed due to the siege. So children use pencils in their notebooks and then get the erasers out, after which the same notebooks are used by their younger siblings. There is no space in the classrooms for all the children, so schools operate on two or three shifts a day to ensure all receive an education.
MEMO has obtained exclusive pictures of Palestinians in Gaza standing next to their demolished homes and waiting for them to be rebuilt. The Public Works Ministry in Gaza has laid the foundations for the first house to be built after the war and it is appealing to other countries around the world to intervene and lift the siege on the beleaguered territory so that reconstruction can begin in earnest.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad
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