Imagine on a good day having electricity for only four hours. Having access to a day's worth of water and then being forced to make it stretch a week. Living in a job market north of 60% unemployment. Watching people die at checkpoints because soldiers refuse permission to travel to medical facilities. Having whole neighborhoods squatting in bombed out rubble because construction supplies are labelled contraband. Never being able to leave your town for your whole life because the borders on land are closed off by walls and barbwire, while a foreign navy blockades the sea port to the point even fishermen are attacked. Looking at the skies and seeing no planes because the international airport is a series of bomb craters.
If you can imagine that, then you get a sliver of a glimpse into life in Gaza, the second most populous place on Earth (per square foot) and what is generally considered the largest open-air prison in the world.
I write a LOT about the Holocaust on this site and increasingly, people studying that era, are asking, "What about Gaza?". Comparisons are increasingly being made (sometimes legitimately so and sometimes not) to the situation and places like Warsaw during WWII. Frankly, students aren't getting answers. And in conversations, it is clear that Israel's recent Nation-State Law - a law that many Israeli's despise - has added fuel. I recommend this book to them and to you: Shell-Shocked: On The Ground Under Israel's Gaza Assault by journalist Mohammed Omer. It is published by Haymarket Books.
The book is essentially stories and notes by Omer from his coverage of the invasion of Gaza by Israel in 2014. It gives a view of war, not from the political perspective, but from the populace on the ground. What the average family deals with during this conflicts.
In this respect, the book is an overwhelming success. It offers insights into how families must behave to survive. These will never make a report on CNN and definitely not FOX News. It shows you how people are bombed when seeking shelter in a cemetery, robbed of life savings by soldiers, and are helpless in face of disease and starvation. Omer does a great job in delivering individual stories to convey the sense of desperation and panic.
The book isn't perfect. I found the use of casualty figures to be really confusing because it often was like an item in a wire report without a larger context to the reader. In fact, where the stories stood in the bigger picture of the war in general was also murky. I think it would've helped if the casualty figures had been mentioned only at the beginning of sections and that there were sidebars telling what was going on in a larger sense.
This doesn't negate the power of this book. If you want to gain an inside perspective, minus the propaganda, of Gaza, then I would say order this book. It can be gotten online and Omer is on twitter when he has access to the internet. You can follow him @mogaza. The book gets a solid 4 of 5 on my rating scale.