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 Rafah border crossing policed by Egypt
((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 for ever so that we can cross in and out whenever we want, now we are prisoners and we really aspire to freedom of movement)) Ahmad Dallol, Gaza resident said while setting on his PC chatting to his family currently residing in UAE
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, 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.
(Personally use the internet to communicate with my family currently in Jordan, like me there are 1000's of Gazans who use the intent 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" Walid Kassab, manager of Hadara Technologies Company said
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 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 gate way to the outside world bypassing Israel but 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, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org