On July 14th, 2008, I entered the Strip at the Erez crossing in the north with writer Billy Briggs. We would spend two weeks inside Gaza and what we found was a despairing population, for the most part without work and reliant on humanitarian aid. Animals were being smuggled in through tunnels at the Egyptian border to provide meat and people lit fires to cook because electricity supplies were cut each day.
The effects of the blockade were being felt most acutely at Gaza’s hospitals and dozens of patients were not being treated because of dire shortages of medical supplies. Doctors claimed that 220 people had died as a direct result of Israel’s policy. The Hamas-Israel issue seemed an intractable situation and some six months after our visit the issue erupted with devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people already in distress.