The Gaza Strip, which is an estimated 360 square kilometres, is home to over one and a half million Palestinians. On one side of its 40km length, it overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, while on the remainder, are closed borders with Israel and Egypt. It is essentially the largest prison on earth with no place of refuge, besides the beach, for those who live there.
However Gaza’s beaches are characterised by pollution and the waters are unfit to swim in. As a consequence of the system imposed by Israel ‘s occupation and its relentless siege on the territory, Gaza’s authorities have had no choice but to begin pumping large quantities of waste water and sewage out toward the sea.
Nevertheless, the few uncontaminated spots on the beach attract large numbers of people who gather on these small plots of land. In a place where opportunities for entertainment are scarce; where there is constant tension due to an absence of any sense of personal security, the beaches provide a release for the people of Gaza. This, despite the fact that in the past few years Israeli gunboats have fired upon, and have killed a number of civilians on Gaza’s beaches.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad