Gaza is often described as the largest open-air prison in the world. It may be the most densely populated area on earth. Its 1.5 million Palestinians live in a narrow strip with a total area of 139 sq miles or 360 square kilometers. In 2005 Israel dismantled its colonies and withdrew its military forces but retained control over Gaza’s land, sea and airspace. Two years later Hamas took political control of Gaza. Citing rocket attacks, Israel imposed a blockade. The International Committee of the Red Cross describes the blockade as “collective punishment” and a violation of international law. There are crippling shortages. Gaza is plagued by frequent power cuts, a ruined economy, and a collapsed health care system. 80 per cent of Gazans lack access to clean water. Israel insists it provides enough “humanitarian aid” to cover Gaza’s basic needs.
Norman Finkelstein received his Ph.D. in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is currently an independent scholar. He is the author of many books including Beyond Chutzpah, The Holocaust Industry, and This Time We Went Too Far: Truth & Consequences of the Gaza Invasion. He is the subject of the documentary American Radical.