Just as the reality of the United Nations’ warning that the Gaza Strip would become “unlivable” by 2020 looms nearer, Palestinians in the small enclave contend with the consequences of nearly 12 years of crippling blockade, three wars, and a vast protest movement fast approaching its first anniversary.
In a switch from the past, the military has begun arming Bedouin tribesmen like Abu-Sefira and having them patrol in operations against the IS militants deep in the peninsula’s interior, where their local knowledge gives them an advantage, Abu-Sefira and other Bedouin say.
“We have to do it, it’s our duty to make the people feel safe from the terrorists who were killing us,” Ibrahim Abu-Sefira said.
An Egyptian court on Saturday issued death sentences for 75 people, including prominent Islamist leaders, and jailed more than 600 others over a 2013 sit-in which ended with the killing of hundreds of protesters by security forces. Critics say the erosion of freedoms and silencing of political opponents is the worst Egypt has seen in its modern history.