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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
17 March 2016


Israel has imposed a policy of closure towards the Gaza Strip since the early 1990s. This closure was supplemented in the mid-1990s by the construction of a fence around the perimeter of the territory. These measures have been accompanied by a range of restrictions on the movement of people and goods into, out of and within the Gaza Strip, many of which were intensified into a land, air and sea blockade, following the Hamas take-over of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Related to this, Israel has maintained a policy of separating the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip from that of the rest of the oPt. Access restrictions remain one of the main drivers for the humanitarian crisis and are a persistent obstacle to sustainable recovery in the Gaza Strip. While the number of crossings of people through Erez and the import and exit of goods to and from Gaza via Kerem Shalom more than doubled in 2015, it has not offset the need arising from the general closure of the international crossing with Egypt, Rafah, and Israel’s enforcement of the dual use items list which includes wide variety of goods such as (cement, wood, steel bars,…). Exports/transfers of goods from Gaza via Kerem Shalom in 2015 constituted only 10% of the pre-blockade period. The other three commercial crossings: Nahal Oz, Sufa, Karni continued to be closed, and no expansion in the categories of people who are able to leave through Erez was introduced. In all, by the close of 2015, all 1.8 million Gaza residents continued to be denied free access to the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory, including religious sites, and to the outside world.

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