As final status negotiations prepare to convene, what have become the terms of daily life in the Gaza Strip? Mohammed El Aydi and I explored this question in the book we began three years ago and published last year. Since then, Israeli security forces have redeployed; the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been established; and Israel has been applying, since March 1993, a policy of closure that has affected more than three hundred days out of the PA's firstwo years and caused financial losses to the Gazan economy that outstrip the value of postOslo international aid; the social costs may prove greater still.
The present article is a personal account of a week's visit in early April 1996. I spent most of my time in Khan Yunis Camp, where Mohammed lives. I went not only as a journalist, but also as a friend. I avoided political officials.
Dick Doughty is coauthor, with Mohammed El Aydi, of Gaza: Legacy of Occupation-A Photographer's Journey (West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press, 1995).