When Israel signed a ceasefire deal with the Palestinian Authority in 2015, the media was abuzz.
The ceasefire was expected to lead to the return of some Israeli-held territory to the Palestinians, with the Israelis claiming that the Palestinians would be free to pursue their “right to self-determination” by taking back territory that had been captured by Israel.
But the ceasefire has not been in place for more than a year, and Israel’s current blockade of Gaza continues.
Since the start of the summer, nearly a million people have been trapped in the Strip, and over half of the city’s population has been living in poverty.
While Israel claims to be a democracy, the current blockade has been in force for more years than most people could have imagined.
“There’s a long way to go before the situation is normalized,” said Alon Pinkas, a political analyst who specializes in international affairs and human rights.
“And then the question of how long that will take is a different question altogether.”
Pinkas said that despite Israel’s insistence on maintaining the blockade, it’s unlikely that the agreement will be implemented as quickly as the media predicted.
“It will take years to get the situation back to normal,” Pinkas told Polygon.
“If it doesn’t happen within that timeframe, it could take years, and it won’t happen for a very long time.”
The blockade has caused many Gazans to turn to illegal ways to survive.
“In order to survive, we have to sell things we don’t need, we go to the black market,” Abu al-Bakri, a Gazan who works in the West Bank refugee camp of Ma’an, told Polygon.
“The [blockade] prevents us from getting essential goods, which in turn prevents us in our economy.”
The United Nations and human-rights groups have criticized Israel for the blockade’s impact on people’s daily lives.
“I cannot live without electricity and running water,” said one Gazan, whose name was withheld due to his condition.
“What can I do?”
Abu al, said.
“How can I support my family?
How can I pay for my children’s education?
How will I get a job?
How do I feed my children?”
Pinkas described the blockade as a form of “double apartheid.”
The restrictions on Gazans’ freedom to leave the Strip mean that they are not able to move freely around the city, and they are unable to travel freely in Israel, either.
In some cases, they have resorted to taking underground routes through tunnels dug in the tunnels to evade the blockade.
In another instance, a Gaza man was caught attempting to smuggle explosives into the West Wall city of Hebron through a tunnel in the Gaza Strip.
Pinkas warned that “if we don to stop the blockade we’ll end up as the most impoverished country in the world.”
As of now, the blockade has not significantly impacted the health of Gazans living in Gaza.
The majority of Gazan children suffer from chronic malnutrition and the disease remains endemic.
Pinka noted that Gaza has been a particularly difficult place for Gazans in recent years, due to the military conflict and ongoing reconstruction.
“People have been living under siege for a long time and the population is just not as healthy as it used to be,” Pinkis said.
But there are signs that the blockade is beginning to loosen.
In September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a plan to allow more than 600,000 Gazans back into the territory under the guise of allowing reconstruction projects.
While the deal will allow Gaza to resume reconstruction projects, it won�t include many of the displaced people, and many of them will be able to return home in the coming months.
The United States, Britain, and France have all offered to assist Israel in easing the blockade on Gaza, but as of yet none of them has been able to help Palestinians in need of food, medicine, or electricity.
Pinkis also warned that it will be a long and arduous process for Israel to undo the blockade completely.
“That will be the challenge,” he said.
In a statement, Pinkas noted that the media had exaggerated the impact of the blockade for its own gain, but he believes that the Israeli media is just trying to justify their actions in order to gain the sympathy of the public.
“This is a propaganda campaign,” Pinkins said.
Israel’s blockade has created a crisis of legitimacy for the country, and Pinkas believes that this will continue.
“They’ve lost the narrative of what Israel is, but they’ve also lost their legitimacy and their credibility, and that’s something they’re going to struggle with for a while,” Pinkes said.