« For Palestinians, any type of freedom, including the academic variety, is acutely unavailable »

Palestinians suffer extrajudicial assassination, limited movement, arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention, home demolition, restricted speech rights, harassment and torture, land expropriation, and forced exile.

There are currently 6300 Palestinian political prisoners.  700 of them just began a hunger strike, in fact.  300 of them are children.  The unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip is nearly fifty percent, the highest in the world.  Real per capita income is $970.  Eighty percent of the population receives some sort of social assistance.  Almost forty percent live below the poverty line.

Gaza has been under a land, air, and sea blockade for ten years, which has reduced its GDP by half:  Israel, in cooperation with Egypt, determines what comes in and what goes out.  Israeli politicians speak of “putting Gaza on a diet,” that is, allocating a certain amount of foodstuff for the territory based on minimal caloric requirements.  At other times, those politicians speak of “mowing the lawn” in Gaza, which means exactly what it sounds like.  The cancer rate is unusually high.  Life expectancy is dismal.  Fishing boats, one of the lifelines of the economy, are sometimes destroyed, or their occupants are shot at.  Citizens deal with extended power cuts.  Schools and hospitals are undersupplied.  According to both local and international doctors, the psychological damage from the blockade and Israel’s periodic war crimes has been extraordinary.  The children of the territory suffer abnormal levels of trauma and anxiety.  There is no developed medical apparatus to mitigate these problems.

via Speaking of Palestine and academic freedom – Mondoweiss


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