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Apr-06-2009 10:51printcomments

Besieged Gazans Resort to Internet to Communicate with Outside World

The Israeli blockade has not also paralyzed all aspects of life but also deprived the 1.5 million Gazans of their right to freedom of movement; Gazans feel there is no ending to their suffering due to the international community's inaction.

Egyptian troops closing the Rafah borders.
Egyptian troops closing the Rafah borders.

(GAZA CITY) - Living in the besieged Gaza, a strip of land about 45 km long and 8 Km wide means that you are isolated from the outside world.

To allay that sense of isolation Gazans have resorted to the Internet, to be in touch with their loved ones from whom they have been separated for over two years due to the ongoing Israeli blockade and closure of the Rafah border crossing which is policed by Egypt.

Ahmad Dallol - a Gaza resident, spoke while setting on his PC chatting to his family currently residing in UAE:

"I have not seen my family for more than 3 years due to the Israeli blockade and continued closure Rafah border crossing, but thanks to technology I can see them through webcam and talk to them via microphone, but I really hope to see them face to face and that the crossing which is the only exit for the Gazans to the outside world be open forever so that we can cross in and out whenever we want, now we are prisoners and we really aspire to freedom of movement"

There are about 20 Internet service providers, with Hadara serving about 35000 internet users through ADSL or Dial up services the largest one.

There are also about 500 internet café's throughout the costal strip. The manager of Hadara Company which has been badly affected by the siege is grateful that he is also able to stay in touch with his family via the internet.

Walid Kassab, manager of Hadara Technologies Company said: "(I) Personally use the internet to communicate with my family currently in Jordan. Like me, there are 1000's of Gazans who use the Internet to stay in touch with their families. There is increase in the number of people who are applying for to get Internet at home but the Israeli closures and restrictions on imports is our main obstacle to provide this service for customers. We are still lacking ports, hubs, routers and cables".

Technology has helped people of this tiny populated enclave overcome the boundaries and go through close border crossings.

"Let's go to Rafah" is the motto of 300 organizations and individuals from 26 countries who have endorsed the call by the International Movement to Open the Rafah Border point.

"We call on the international community to make a stand on this and to put pressure the Israeli and Egyptian governments and there has been a call out for the international community and for civil society to respond by coming to the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing and stage a permanent sit-in until the Rafah crossing is open," Jenny Linnell, a British activist said to me.

The Rafah crossing is Gaza's only gateway to the outside world bypassing Israel. It has been closed since June 2007.

The Israeli blockade has not also paralyzed all aspects of life but also deprived the 1.5 million Gazans of their right to freedom of movement; Gazans feel there is no ending to their suffering due to the international community's inaction, under these circumstances one can conclude that Gaza is really the world's largest open air prison and "closed Zone"

Yousef Al-Helou is a freelance journalist based in Gaza who writes for, Press TV and other world news organizations, you can reach him at this email address:

We at greatly appreciate Yousef's contribution for our readers. The siege of Gaza is one of the most upsetting and seemingly avoidable military events since the dawn of the new Millennium. Having someone in the field there able to send fresh reports to us offers our viewers the freshest perspective from the scene that they are likely to find in western media. His view of the ongoing struggle in Gaza is eye-level and Yousef never stops talking to the affected people and asking the important questions that many would have shielded from the world.

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Carrick April 6, 2009 12:41 pm (Pacific time)

Israel has a documented history of lies and violence stretching back over 60 years. They started every war/conflict except one, which they always use as a propaganda device. Every day we taxpayers give these criminals around seven million dollars. In Sunday's Oregonian (4/5/09) there is an opinion piece by a journalist Alison Weir who is the executive director of "IF AMERICANS KNEW." I was shocked that the Oregonian actually allowed these truths to be published. Please read it if you get the time for it's brevity and conciseness is quite moving. This individual no doubt will pay a price from the zionists here in the states, but she has my support anytime she needs it. A very brave woman.

bob April 6, 2009 11:20 am (Pacific time)

The 1.5 million gazans should eliminate Hamas,melt the rockets,build roads and grow crops with the melted down rockets and give peace a chance.

Mike April 6, 2009 11:00 am (Pacific time)

I talk to someone who is from Israel and I showed him your previous article about the white phosphorus shells that were being used and the women and children that were killed. Numbers don't lie. He came back with something along the lines of,"Don't believe this stuff, it is all lies. I started reading that article and could not finish it. The Israeli army is the most ethnic army in the world. They[The Gazan's] are the murderers." Misinformed or uninformed I wonder.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.