As the current truce between Gaza and Israel is set to expire Monday at midnight, it appears that any long-term cease-fire is as unachievable as ever, and while the artillery strikes may be temporarily on hold, the hell on the ground continues.
In the indirect Cairo talks between Israel and Palestinian negotiators, those from Gaza are understandably asking for the removal of the blockade against it, in place since 2006, and which has rendered it nigh on impossible for citizens of the densely populated enclave to enjoy any semblance of a normal life.
Not only does the lack of any tangible progress in Cairo seem to indicate that military action is likely to resume, whether sooner or later, as the roots of the conflict have not been addressed, but it leaves the 1.8 million Gazans susceptible to a slow death.
Even before the war their access to clean water, electricity, medicine and work was greatly hindered by the blockade, and since the conflict the situation has only become more acute.
A Gazan mother who can only wash her children every few days, and with bottled water, told AFP, “I wish a missile would hit us, me and my children. Dying is better than this life.” Her husband agreed, “It’s not really living.”
Alongside the talks in Cairo, the international community must mount a parallel effort to provide a basic standard of living for Gazans, and ensure access to medicine, water and education.
For even if the military strikes might be on hold, they will continue to die a slow death. The world has a responsibility to ensure that Gazans are allowed to live like humans.