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REVISITED

We return to places which have been in the news - often a long time ago, sometimes recently - to see how local people are rebuilding their lives. Sunday at 9.10 pm. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2014-01-15

Middle East: Gaza revisited

Gaza is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Since the last war with Israel, the Palestinian enclave has continued to rebuild, against the backdrop of a precarious ceasefire. But the effects of the Israeli blockade and the influence exerted by Hamas' control have hit hard. Our reporters met fishermen, students and restaurant owners who all yearn for more freedom. They share with us their frustrations, fears and hopes.

The men and women of Gaza will tell you that they frequently feel like they are caught in the crossfire between two enemies, namely Israel and Hamas.

The students we spoke to at al Aqsa University study in the hopes of obtaining a scholarship or a visa which will allow them to escape. They complain about what they call the external and the internal occupation. Externally, Israel controls every access point to Gaza, except for the one that leads to Egypt. Internally, Hamas have been ruling the small patch of parched land with an iron fist since 2007.

However, not everyone criticises the government in Gaza. One of the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel after Hamas released the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit talked to us about his new life. He has lost no time since his liberation a little more than two years ago. He now has a wife and a baby girl. The former prisoner also used the money Hamas gave him during his incarceration to open three restaurants in the enclave. In the span of a couple years he has achieved an astonishing amount.

But those external signs of wealth don’t tell the whole story. As for the old fisherman who takes us out to sea, he declares that he will never quit until his dying day, despite the ubiquitous Israeli army guarding the fishing zone as part of the Israeli-imposed blockade. He was born in Gaza in 1949, one year after Israel was founded.

By Dina SWAY , Gallagher FENWICK , Rami ABUJAMUS

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