20gaza1-master768Photo via The New York Times

A new shopping mall complete with an escalator and food court is not the only recent development underway in the Gaza Strip to leave people surprised. Following an air strike attack by Israeli forces in 2008, the rebuilding of Gaza is well underway. According to New York Times author Ian Fisher “two-thirds of the 160,000 damaged homes have been rebuilt, as have half of the 11,000 that were destroyed….[and] two million tons of rubble have been cleared”, a considerable advancement given the instability of the government and hostility from neighbors. It would appear that everything seems to be headed in the upwards direction. However, hidden within the newly built homes are an increasing number of unemployed Palestinians potentially sitting hungrily in the dark, electricity free rooms. Since the bombings, electricity and water remain a scarcity with fresh produce hard to procure due to damage to agricultural lands and yet the problems cease to end there.

Gaza, currently under rule by what the U.S. has referred  to as a terrorist group continues to face political uncertainty. With U.S. – Israeli relations somewhat in the air under President Trump, Israel’s next move regarding Gaza and the West Bank. Regardless of the political future the feelings from locals are mixed towards the progress they seem. While some like Mona Ghalayini feel more optimistic because “We have smart people. We can survive.” others like Salim Abdullah al-Wazir are a little less confident stating “There is no progress. It’s just survival.” Whatever the future holds for the tiny Palestinian territory, the common ground falls in the acknowledgement the struggle is not yet over in the Gaza Strip.

Read more of Ian Fishers account here.