The United Nations has said that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020, due to the complete economic blockade imposed by Israel. In Gaza 68% of households face food insecurity and the unemployment rate is 55%.
Before Israel imposed its blockade, Said Khadir earned more than $100 (U.S) per week as a construction worker. Now he compares his life in Gaza to that of a prison. “When you’re living in a prison, there aren’t jobs.” Unable to find work, his family receives assistance from the government in Gaza and food baskets from a humanitarian organization.
But these resources cannot stretch to feed his family of 11 children. When the supplies run out, he relies on family and friends—a step he does not want to take. “I would like to keep my self-respect, but there’s no such thing when you need to feed your children,” he says.
Today, their family breakfast consisted of one can of beans. Often the family relies on sandwiches of low-quality cheese that makes the children sick. Sometimes the children go to school with empty stomachs.
“I wish there were open borders [with Israel] again, so I could go to work and provide for my family,” he says. Despite the challenges, Khadir says he does not harbor hate for anyone. “I hope my children understand that only a minority of people are involved in this siege and that not everyone around them is a monster trying to destroy them.”