This image should haunt every Israeli, wherever they may go. Haunt them, disturb their sleep, torture their conscience, destroy their peace of mind.

A mass of people crowding in front of the chamber of commerce in the Jabalya refugee camp, in a desperate attempt to get a permit to work in Israel. You need to look at the expressions, the bleary eyes, the stubble, the beseeching, the despair showing on the face of every person in line, fighting for his life and livelihood. The papers they wave, as though they will help them achieve their dream. The hands outstretched, as though someone’s long arm will help him to reach his dream. But it is Israel’s long arm, serving these people all these ills.

For decades Israel has abused them, their parents and their children. There is no place like Gaza to tell this story of evil, from the expulsion and flight in 1948, through the reprisal actions and the conquests to this 15-year siege. This is Israel’s true long arm, which shapes its moral profile.

Each man is looking in a different direction, left, right or skyward – from whence his help may come, perhaps. The crush is terrible. The photograph recalls the live shipments of livestock to Israel. The sadness in the eyes of these helpless people and the shock they arouse are so similar, calves and people. Here they are people without dignity. Israel has shorn them of the last vestiges of their dignity.

Jack Khoury reported that some are willing to work 12-hour construction shifts for 20 shekels [$6.20], and for that privilege they crowd tightly like beasts. The war is over 3,000 permits that Israel has oh-so-graciously offered. At least 300,000 job-seekers competing for 3,000 permits. One in a hundred might win. In a territory where unemployment has reached 48 percent overall and 66 percent among young adults, self-respect has been lost. How easy it would be to restore to these wretched men their dignity and livelihood. Open up the Gaza Strip, reconnect it to the West Bank and allow these people to work in Israel, which imports laborers all the way from China.

About half a million workers entered Israel from Gaza every month until 2000. Some grew up here, between Tel Aviv’s Carmel and Hatikva markets, befriended Israelis and built their lives in what was once their parents’ country.

The most beautiful pictures of their lives were sadly similar: They too packed in tightly at the Erez checkpoint in the dead of night on the way to work in Israel, and on their way back they stood like wraiths on the side of the road, carrying their junk. Those were their finest hours. There was hope in it. We were appalled by their living conditions, sleeping in warehouses, and crowding at checkpoints. To them it was the best of times, which have not returned for 20 years.

According to figures from Gisha, an Israeli nonprofit dedicated to the freedom of movement of Palestinians, in 2019 some 15,000 were still allowed into Israel. Only 6 percent of this number are permitted today, under the guise of COVID-19 restrictions. In other words: jail. Furloughs from Israeli prisons are more frequent. Seventy percent of Gazans rely on humanitarian aid, in a place that a United Nations study from two years ago declared unfit for human habitation.

How do we sleep at night with all this? This misery is on our hands. And please don’t start with Hamas and the rockets. Gaza is occupied territory. Israel is responsible for its fate. Gaza is Israel’s trash can, and Egypt’s to a lesser degree. Gaza is the land of refugees who fled or were expelled from the land because of Israel. Israel bears a heavy responsibility for their fate.

A different photograph was published in TheMarker Friday: It too shows a crowd of a mass of people, but they are waving and smiling at the camera. An hour’s drive from Jabalya, the Israeli employees of Moon Active, the company whose Coin Master, a “light and addictive” mobile game, become a sensation earning billions of dollars. And how did Moon Active become such a sensation? “By creating a feeling of near-victory that produces a tremendous thrill, eventually leading to addiction.”