To the editor: That conditions in the Gaza Strip have devolved into a critical state over the last 10 years is hardly surprising. ("Life in the Gaza Strip — a cauldron of deficit, despair and desperation," Feb. 8)
Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005, leaving behind a thriving greenhouse industry that exported flowers and bulbs all over the world. The Gazans looted and destroyed the facilities. After persistent rocket attacks and the election of Hamas, Israel closed its border with Gaza in 2007.
How ironic that Hamas, in its desire to destroy the Jewish State, has in fact managed to destroy the quality of life of its own people. They fired rockets from schools and hospitals, endangering civilian lives. The Palestinian Authority, in its power struggle with Hamas, compounded the humanitarian crisis by cutting the funds that supply the Gaza Strip with power. Only Israel has the good grace to still allow supply trucks with food and other necessities to cross the border.
One can only wonder how different Gaza would have looked had all the foreign aid and expertise at its disposal been channeled into infrastructure, education and industry.
Pauline Regev, Santa Monica
To the editor: The suffering of the people of Gaza is possible because of the successful campaign to utterly dehumanize Palestinians.
The siege has accomplished nothing other than to collectively punish nearly 2 million people for crimes they did not commit. The subhuman living conditions are especially tragic given that the Gazans are highly resourceful and capable of meeting their own needs, having accomplished a high level of education and professionalism in the past.
Many members of my father's family still reside there, relying on their deep faith in God to help see them through to the next day. But that may not be enough as social norms crumble without any glimpse of a reprieve.
Israel holds all of the cards; the rift between the so-called governing bodies of Palestine is a mere smoke-screen. With the political will to end the siege and restore a functional economy, the future could be bright.
But no one has the courage to take that step or to hold those responsible to account.
Laila Al-Marayati, Shadow Hills