On July 16, 2014, there is direct firing from an Israeli navy vessel at a group of children playing football on the beach of Gaza City. The running boys were mistaken for Hamas fighters, the Israeli army later explains. 11-year-old Montaser survives the tragedy. His older brother and his cousins are killed instantly. Since then, Montaser has been heavily traumatised, refuses to go to school, wakes up screaming at night and is on medication against fits of anger.
Montaser is one of the many inhabitants of Gaza for whom the wars and devastation have led to huge traumas. Gaza doesn’t have a viable economy anymore, and has the highest unemployment rate in the world. Most of the people are dependent on food aid from the UN. In 2007, Israel put up a blockade, and goods are only allowed through in small quantities. In this area, 1.8 million people are cut off from the outside world. Gaza’s surface area is smaller than Texel, and with 5000 people per square kilometre it’s one of the world’s most densely populated regions. One year after the military operation by the Israeli army in Gaza, ZEMBLA travels to the Palestinian territory where they meet 11-year-old Montaser. ZEMBLA investigates the effect of the blockade, 8 years old now, and that of three wars, on the population of Gaza.