Gaza: The Human Dimension

The new round of fighting in Gaza shows every sign of entrenching Israel and the Palestinians into hardline positions, making it impossible for Hamas to evolve into a movement that can accept Israel’s right to exist, making life even harder for the Palestinians in Gaza, and ending in a strategic stalemate than further reduces the prospects for any form of peaceful development.

It is difficult to see how the renewed fighting will bring peace or security to either side rather than leading to another cycle of instability, isolation of Gaza, or most likely bring about further rounds of fighting.  At the same time, it seems pointless to try to put the blame on either side when progress can only take place if both sides can resolve enough of their differences to focus on what is happening to the population in the Gaza.

Tragic as the casualties in the fighting are, they are only a small part of a much greater and more enduring tragedy that affects Gaza’s entire population. Gaza faces massive demographic and economic challenges. As a result, it is steadily becoming more and more of a giant urban slum, and one that is dependent on outside aid for even minimal living conditions and where each new round of fighting makes things worse.

These issues are examined in detail in new report by the Burke Chair at CSIS that draws on US Census Bureau, CIA, IMF, and UN reporting to describe the human dimension of the conflict in Gaza. This report is available on the CSIS web site at