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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
14 June 2012





FIVE YEARS OF BLOCKADE
THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN THE GAZA STRIP


خمس سنوات على الحصار:
الوضع الإنساني في قطاع غزة


JUNE 2012



1. The land, air and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip is still ongoing. The blockade, imposed by Israel following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, intensified the closure applied since the early 1990s. It is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment.

2. The productive capacity of Gaza’s economy has shown almost no recovery, rendering recent economic growth unsustainable. The increased level of economic activity during 2011 resulted largely from inflow of funds from abroad and was concentrated in the services and construction sectors. The continued ban on the transfer of goods from Gaza to its traditional markets in the West Bank and Israel, along with the severe restrictions on access to agricultural land and fishing waters, prevents sustainable growth and perpetuates the high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependency.

3. Import restrictions, including of basic building materials, have led to the proliferation of tunnels under the border with Egypt. These restrictions, combined with the lack of employment opportunities and the huge reconstruction needs, have pushed thousands of workers, some of them children, to risk their lives every day in the “tunnels industry”.

4. The quality of infrastructure and vital services, including in the areas of health, education and water and sanitation, have significantly declined as a result of the import restrictions and the rapid population growth. A failure to address existing gaps would increase the humanitarian vulnerability of the people. Despite the June 2010 measures to ease the blockade, international organisations continue to face challenges in responding to the most urgent humanitarian needs in these fields, due to the complex approval system for projects put in place by the Israeli authorities.

5. The “policy of separation” between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which includes severe restrictions on the movement of goods and people between the two areas, is a central component of the blockade. It prevents people’s access to services (including higher education) and livelihoods, disrupts family life, and undermines the viability of the two-state solution.

6. Lack of compliance by all sides with international humanitarian law during escalations continues to result in civilian deaths and injuries. The use by armed groups of civilian built-up areas to launch indiscriminate attacks on southern Israel, as well as the methods employed by the Israeli military to enforce access restrictions to border areas, raise serious protection concerns.




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