For 11 years, Israel has imposed an unforgiving siege on the Gaza Strip. With severely restricted access in and out of the enclave — via land, air and, notoriously, sea — Gaza has effectively been sealed off from the world. The Strip is only 360 square kilometres in size, about the same as Las Vegas in the US or one-quarter the size of London. It is now home to almost two million Palestinians, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world and leading some to dub Gaza “the world’s largest open-air prison.”
According to UNRWA, the UN body responsible for Palestinian refugees, 1.3 million of Gaza’s 1.9 million inhabitants are refugees. Most were expelled from their homes in 1948 when the State of Israel was created, and many were uprooted again when Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula and Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War. A further 23,500 people continue to be internally displaced following Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” military offensive against Gaza in 2014.
So what does the daily reality of the siege look like? Here are 11 aspects, one for each year that the siege has been imposed by Israel.