After years of war and crippling economic blockades from Israel, the Gaza Strip could be uninhabitable for current residents as soon as 2020, according to an annual United Nations report released Tuesday. The 139-square-milestrip of land tucked between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea is home to 1.8 million Palestinians, many of whom could be displaced if conditions remain severe.

“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020,” the annual U.N. Conference on Trade and Development wrote. “Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist.”

The blockade was established by Israel in 2007 to disrupt the flow of goods and supplies into the Palestinian territory, which is a heavily disputed swath of land. While Egypt has allowed occasional movement acrossits border withthe Gaza Strip, Israel has worked to stop transportation by air, land and water. Most ofGazaborders either Israelor the Mediterranean.

The blockade means that, aside from weapons, the Palestinians also have a difficult time receiving food aid from the United Nations. In 2008, a U.N.spokesmansaid the blockade had “become a blockade against the United Nations itself.”

Palestinians bake bread on a clay oven in the city of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 25, 2015. Reuters

Gaza has been hit by three Israeli military attacks in the past six years, which has exacerbated conditions for Palestinians. Residents couldn’t repair their infrastructure, which already was debilitated fromthe blockade. That leaves an already poor population withoutneeded resources and facing a lack of goods flowing into theterritory.

“Short of ending the blockade, donor aid … will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment of Gaza,” the report read.

The most recent war, in 2014, killed an estimated 2,200 Palestinians and displaced half a million more. It also left 73 Israelis dead, and decimated homes, schools, hospitals and primary healthcare centers. Commercial centers and factories also were destroyed.

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Gaza Strip Could Be Unlivable By 2020: Israel Blockade And …

Written on September 2nd, 2015 & filed under Gaza Strip Tags: , , , , , , ,

GENEVA: The Gaza Strip, ravaged by wars and nearly a decade of a gruelling Israeli blockade, could become uninhabitable for residents within just five years, the United Nations development agency said today.

“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unliveable by 2020,” the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) wrote in its annual report.

Gaza, a tiny enclave of just 362 square kilometres (about 225 square miles) squeezed between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea that is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians, counts one of the highest population densities in the world.

“Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist,” the report said.

While the high density is not new, the situation has been exacerbated by three Israeli military operations in the past six years and nearly a decade-long economic blockade.

The blockade had “ravaged the already debilitated infrastructure of Gaza, shattered its productive base, left no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery and impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza,” the report said.

“Short of ending the blockade, donor aid… will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment in Gaza,” it said.

Socio-economic conditions in Gaza today are currently “at their lowest point since 1967,” when Israel seized the territory from Egypt in its Six-Day War, according to the report.

The report estimated that the three military operations, including last year’s devastating war that killed some 2,200 Palestinians and displaced half a million more, had caused economic losses close to three times the size of Gaza’s local gross domestic product.

The 2014 war, which also left 73 Israelis dead, destroyed or severely damaged more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools, 15 hospitals and 45 primary healthcare centres, UNCTAD said.

As many as 247 factories and 300 commercial centres were fully or partially destroyed, and Gaza’s only power station sustained severe damage, it said.

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Gaza Strip could be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020: UN – The …


The UN says socio-economic conditions in Gaza are currently at their worst since 1967.

The Gaza Strip, ravaged by wars and nearly a decade-long Israeli blockade, could become uninhabitable for residents within just five years, the United Nations development agency says.

“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unliveable by 2020,” the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) wrote in its annual report.

Gaza, a tiny enclave of just 362 square kilometres squeezed between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea that is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians, has one of the highest population densities in the world.

“Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current economic trends persist,” the report said.

While the high density is not new, the situation has been exacerbated by three Israeli military operations in the past six years and nearly a decade-long economic blockade.

The blockade had “ravaged the already debilitated infrastructure of Gaza, shattered its productive base, left no time for meaningful reconstruction or economic recovery and impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza”, the report said.

“Short of ending the blockade, donor aid… will not reverse the ongoing de-development and impoverishment in Gaza,” it said.

Socio-economic conditions in Gaza today are currently “at their lowest point since 1967″, when Israel seized the territory from Egypt in its Six-Day War, according to the report.

The report estimated that the three military operations, including last year’s war that killed some 2,200 Palestinians and displaced half a million more, had caused economic losses close to three times the size of Gaza’s local gross domestic product.

The 2014 war, which also left 73 Israelis dead, destroyed or severely damaged more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools, 15 hospitals and 45 primary healthcare centres, UNCTAD said.

As many as 247 factories and 300 commercial centres were fully or partially destroyed, and Gaza’s only power station sustained severe damage, it said.

AFP

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Human face … A woman and her child walk in front of rabbles in the neighbourhood of Beit Hanoun. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

The Israeli Defence Force has deployed its Iron Dome missile batteries to its southern border with Gaza with threats from Islamic militants on the one-year anniversary of the conflict on the Palestinian strip.

Today marks one year since the ceasefire of an intense seven-week conflict between the Hamas and IDF that left more than 2000 mostly Palestinian civilians killed, 11,000 injured and more than 100,000 people displaced with rocket fire levelling their homes.

As a precaution, the IDF has deployed Iron Dome defence systems on its borders to intercept any missiles should there be any attack on the anniversary or from the death of a Palestinian prisoner who has been on a hunger strike and on life support in Israeli detention for the past two months.

Destruction … a woman looks out of a dilapidated house in the town of Beit Hanoun. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movements military arm al-Quds Brigades have threatened an attack on Israel.

It comes amid conflicting reports that Hamas has begun long-term truce talks, via mediator and former British PM Tony Blair, with the Israelis in a bid to lift a land, sea and air blockade over Gaza and its 1.8 million population.

Israel has denied there have been any talks with the militant movement but exiled Palestinian Hamas head Khaled Meshaal said there has been positive contact. We cannot say today that we have something in our hand, there are only discussions, Meshaal is reported as saying.

The continuing blockade of Gaza has hampered reconstruction of some 17,000 homes destroyed during the conflict on the Strip.

Innocent face … A child watches on in his heavy-shelled neighbourhood in north Gaza. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds has appealed to the Federal Government to pressure Israel to lift the blockade.

The charity group has a longstanding presence in Gaza and Australian donations has recently led to water tanks being procured and installed in worst affected areas.

Humanitarian effort … With Australian funds, Save the Children was able to install water tanks to households. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Mr Ronalds said the Australian Government had given $15 million in aid last year toward the humanitarian crisis but has now cut aid to Palestinian territories.

The situation for children and families in Gaza is still dire, and it is critical that sufficient funding levels be maintained.

A sign at the entry to Gaza city. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Save the Children is urging Australia and other nations to use their diplomatic influence to promote the lifting of the blockade to allow the entry of essential humanitarian aid and enable the rebuilding of homes and schools, and support a return to some level of normality for the many distressed children in Gaza.

About 455,000 tons of rubble from the conflict has been cleared but still 1.5 million tons remains rendering many families to simply live in the rubble that was their homes.

We need a new solution, one local, who asked not to be named, told News Ltd.

One year on … The Hamas side at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: Supplied

Many people have lost faith and trust in the (Hamas) political administration. They are not doing anything for us and we have nothing, not even a vote since there are no elections here like in your country or Britain and America.

Read more about the embattled Gaza strip one year on from the devastating conflict in News Corp Australia publications on Saturday.

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Written on August 28th, 2015 & filed under Gaza Strip Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Published August 24, 2015

Palestinian United Nations workers hold up a banner as they demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis, in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

A Palestinian woman holds up a sign as thousands of United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

Thousands of Palestinian United Nations workers demonstrate against measures the organization has taken to overcome an acute financial crisis in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The protest today outside the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Gaza headquarter was the largest in a series of demonstrations in recent weeks, called up by the agencys Local Staff Union. The protesters say they want the UNRWAs Commissioner-General Pierre Krhenbhl to cancel amendments that allow him to impose a one-year unpaid leave on staff when needed and increase the number of students in classrooms. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)(The Associated Press)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip Thousands of employees of the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency in the Gaza Strip are striking against cost-cutting measures the agency is imposing to overcome a financial crisis.

The protesters say they want the commissioner-general of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency to cancel measures that would allow the agency to impose one-year unpaid leave on staff and increase the number of students in U.N.-run classrooms.

Some 13,000 teachers, health workers and other employees are on strike. A demonstration Monday outside the agency’s Gaza headquarters was the largest of a series of demonstrations in recent weeks.

Hamas-run schools in the Palestinian territory began the school year, but U.N.-run schools remain closed because of the strike.

UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said the unpaid leave measure has been frozen.

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For decades, weve seen the Gaza Strip as unstable, effectively a war zone, and the U.S. Department of State has warned U.S. citizens against travel to the Gaza Strip. So, youll have to understand why the manicured lawns and seaside promenades of Gazas newly opened Blue Beach Resort, which sits almost directly next to a refugee camp and not far from commonly bombed neighborhoods, take us by surprise.

The resort along the Mediterranean boasts a private beach and 162 chalet-style roomsthough only 76 are currently openat $100-$160 per night.

But this opening didnt come without hardship. Construction was supposed to conclude last year, until the 50-day war halted progress. Today the image looks brighter, and, while much of Gaza suffers with power cuts, Blue Beach continues to shine through the night, and, for some Palestinians, thats a symbol for hope.

Perhaps expectedly, the resort opening has become a source of pride for many Palestinians. The hotels Facebook page has already garnered 20,000 Likes.

Tell us with a tweet or in the comments section below, would you go on a beach getaway to Gaza?

Tom Burson is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and hes currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen San Diego but with more sunscreen and jorts.

Photo via blue.beach.resort, CC-BY

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A relative of Palestinians, who were killed an explosion, mourns at a hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 6, 2015.

Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

A Palestinian reacts as he speaks on the phone at a hospital following an explosion in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 6, 2015.

Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

A relative of Palestinians, who were killed an explosion, mourns at a hospital morgue in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 6, 2015.

Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

GAZA An explosion killed four Palestinians and wounded 30 on Thursday in the southern Gaza town of Rafah along the Egyptian border, medical officials and local residents said.

Media outlets of the Hamas Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip blamed the blast on an unexploded Israeli missile from last year’s war.

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said it was checking the cause of the explosion, which destroyed the home of Ayman Abu Nqeira, a Hamas member. He was wounded in the explosion and his son and three other relatives were killed, witnesses said.

(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Larry King)

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A fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable,declaredIsraeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in February. His ominous comments came just days after an anti-tank missile fired by the Lebanon-based guerrilla group Hezbollah killed two soldiers in an Israeli army convoy. It, in turn, was aresponseto an Israeli air strike that resulted in the assassination of several high-ranking Hezbollah figures.

Lieberman offered his prediction only four months after his government concluded Operation Protective Edge, the third war between Israel and the armed factions of the Gaza Strip, which had managed to reduce about 20% of besieged Gaza to an apocalyptic moonscape. Even before the assault was launched, Gaza was a warehouse for surplus humanity a 360-square-kilometer ghetto of Palestinian refugees expelled by and excluded from the self-proclaimed Jewish state. For this population, whose members are mostly under the age of 18, the violence has become a life ritual that repeats every year or two. As the first anniversary of Protective Edge passes, Liebermans unsettling prophecy appears increasingly likely to come true. Indeed, odds are that the months of relative quiet that followed his statement will prove nothing more than an interregnum between Israels ever more devastating military escalations.

Three years ago, the United Nations issued areportpredicting that the Gaza Strip would be uninhabitable by 2020. Thanks to Israels recent attack, this warning appears to have arrived sooner than expected. Fewof the 18,000 homes the Israeli military destroyed in Gaza have been rebuilt. Few of the more than 400 businesses and shops damaged or leveled during that war have been repaired. Thousands of government employees have not received a salary for more than a year and are working for free. Electricity remains desperately limited, sometimes to only four hours a day. The coastal enclaves borders are consistently closed. Its population is trapped, traumatized, and descending ever deeper into despair, withsuicide ratesskyrocketing.

One of the few areas where Gazas youth can find structure is within the Liberation Camps established by Hamas, the Islamist political organization that controls Gaza. There, they undergo military training, ideological indoctrination, and are ultimately inducted into the Palestinian armed struggle. As I found while covering last summers war, there is no shortage of young orphans determined to take up arms after watching their parents and siblings be torn limb from limb by 2,000-pound Israeli fragmentation missiles, artillery shells, and other modes of destruction. Fifteen-year-old Waseem Shamaly, for instance,told mehis lifes ambition was to join the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. He had just finished recounting through tears what it was like to watch a YouTube clip of his brother, Salem, being executed by an Israeli sniper while he searched for the rest of his family in the rubble of their neighborhood last July.

Anger with Hamass political wing for accepting a ceasefire agreement with Israel in late August 2014 that offered nothing but a return to the slow death of siege and imprisonment is now palpable among Gazas civilian population. This is particularly true in border areas devastated by the Israelis last summer. However, support for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas that carries the banner of the Palestinian armed struggle, remains almost unanimous.

Palestinians in Gaza need only look 80 kilometers west to the gilded Bantustans of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to see what they would get if they agreed to disarm. After years of fruitless negotiations, Israel has rewarded Palestinians living under the rule of PA President Mahmoud Abbas with the record growth of Jewish settlements, major new land annexations, nightly house raids, and the constant humiliation and dangers of daily interactions with Israeli soldiers and fanatical Jewish settlers. Rather than resist the occupation, Abbass Western-trained security forces coordinate directly with the occupying Israeli army, assisting Israel in the arrest and even torture of fellow Palestinians, including the leadership of rival political factions.

As punishing as life in Gaza might be, the West Bank model does not offer a terribly attractive alternative. Yet this is exactly the kind of solution the Israeli government seeks to impose on Gaza. As former Interior Minister Yuval Steinitzdeclaredlast year, We want more than a ceasefire, we want the demilitarization of Gaza Gaza will be exactly like [the West Bank city of] Ramallah.

Keeping Gaza in Ruins

Behind the quasi-apocalyptic destruction exacted on Gaza by the Israeli military during Operation Protective Edge lies a sadistic strategy whose aim is to punish residents of the besieged coastal enclave into submission. The Dahiya Doctrine, named after a southern Beirut neighborhood the Israeli air force decimated in 2006, is focused on punishing the civilian populations of Gaza and southern Lebanon for supporting armed resistance movements like Hamas and Hezbollah. In Disproportionate Force, a 2008 paper published by the Institute for National Security Studies, a think tank closely linked to the Israeli military, Colonel Gabi Siboni spelled out its punitive, civilian-oriented logic clearly: With an outbreak of hostilities, the [Israeli army] will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemys actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes.

In the aftermath of Protective Edges massive destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the Israeli government set out to obstruct any reconstruction process and extend the suffering of Gazas civilian population. When diplomats including American Secretary of State John Kerry gathered in Cairo last October to discuss repairing and rebuilding some of the $7 billion in damage caused by Protective Edge, then-Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz assured them that their efforts were ultimately futile. The Gazans must decide what they want to be: Singapore or Darfur, Katzsaid, ominously invoking the threat of Sudanese-style genocide. If one missile will be fired, everything will go down the drain. The nature of his warning was not lost on the diplomats in Cairo, where one complained of considerable donor fatigue.

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Catholic News Service

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip One year after a war with Israel that turned daily life here into a nightmare, a Catholic priest in Gaza said the situation in this besieged Palestinian territory has deteriorated even further.

Compared with a year ago, were worse off. Although a truce stopped the war, the blockade of Gaza by Israel has grown more intense. This has direct consequences for the population, said Father Jorge Hernandez, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Parish in Gaza City.

A boy rides his bike amid the ruins of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, June 9. Houses in the area were destroyed during the 2014 war between Israel and the Hamas government of Gaza. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)

The priest said the war also served as a recruiting tool for Hamas, the Islamic party that has controlled Gaza since 2007.

The war generated new activism throughout Gaza. The number of people willing to fight has multiplied, whether on behalf of Hamas or Islamic Jihad or the Salafists, and now even with the Islamic State. Despite that, the great majority of the people of Gaza is not aligned with one party or another. They just want to live a normal life, Father Hernandez, an Argentine missionary of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, told Catholic News Service.

The 50-day war cost the lives of more than 2,250 Palestinians, 65 percent of whom were civilians, according to a June report from a U.N. investigation. The report said the scale of the devastation was unprecedented. It said the Israeli military launched more than 6,000 air strikes, 14,500 tank shells and 45,000 artillery shells into Gaza between July 7 and Aug. 26, 2014.

The war also caused immense distress and disruption to the lives of Israeli civilians, the U.N. said, reporting that nearly 4,900 rockets and more than 1,700 mortars were fired by Palestinian armed groups during that period. Sixty-six Israeli soldiers were killed, along with six civilians.

The report also cites as possible war crimes the conduct of Israeli operations in residential neighborhoods, as well as the killing of 21 suspected collaborators by Hamas armed wing.

Father Hernandez said militants came to his church compound twice looking for alleged spies among some 1,400 civilians who took shelter there. Church buildings were damaged when Israel bombed a neighboring house. At one point, Father Hernandez and several members of the Missionaries of Charity shepherded a group of 29 disabled children and nine elderly women into the open.

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The Dialog Gaza Strip


The blockades of the Gaza Strip refers to a land, air, and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip by Israel from 2007 to present. Egypt has also kept its border with Gaza mostly sealed. After the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip by Israel, in 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election, triggering the 200607 economic sanctions against the Palestinian National Authority by Israel and the Quartet on the Middle East after Hamas refused to quit violence, respect previous agreements and recognize Israel.[1] In March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a Palestinian authority national unity government headed by Ismail Haniya. Shortly after, in June, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in the course of the Battle of Gaza,[2] seizing government institutions and replacing Fatah and other government officials with its own.[3] Following the takeover, Egypt and Israel largely sealed their border crossings with Gaza, on the grounds that Fatah had fled and was no longer providing security on the Palestinian side.[4]

Israel maintains that the blockade is necessary to limit Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on its cities and to prevent Hamas from obtaining other weapons.[5][6][7] Prior to its 2011 opening of the Rafah crossing, Egypt maintained that it could not fully open its side of the border since completely opening the border would represent Egyptian recognition of the Hamas control of Gaza, undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian National Authority and consecrate the split between Gaza and the West Bank.[8]

Facing mounting international calls to ease or lift their blockade in response to the Gaza flotilla raid, Egypt and Israel lessened the restrictions starting in June 2010. Israel announced that it will allow all strictly civilian goods into Gaza while preventing certain weapons and what it designates as “dual-use” items from entering Gaza.[9] Egypt partly opened the Rafah border crossing from Egypt to Gaza, primarily for people, but not for supplies, to go through.[10] The Israeli NGO Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement reported in a July 2010 publication[11] that Israel continues to prevent normal functioning of the Gazan economy. Israel continues to severely restrict and/or prevent people from entering or exiting Gaza according to Gisha.[12][13][14] The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) conducted an assessment of the humanitarian impact of the easing of the blockage in January and February 2011 and concluded that they did not result in a significant improvement in peoples livelihoods.[15] The World Bank estimated in 2015 that the GDP losses caused by the blockade since 2007 was above 50%, and entailed large welfare losses.

Egypt for some time opened the Rafah border crossing permanently as of 28 May 2011. A limited number of women of all ages and men aged below 18 and above 40 were able to enter Egypt without a visa,[16] although there are still severe restrictions on the movement of personnel and goods to and from Gaza.[17][18] Following the 2013 Egyptian coup d’tat, Egypt’s military has destroyed most of the 1,200 tunnels which are used for smuggling food, weapons and other goods to Gaza.[19] After the August 2013 Rabaa Massacre in Egypt, the border crossing was closed ‘indefinitely’.[20]

The blockade has been criticized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Human Rights Council[21][22] and other human rights organizations, a criticism that has been officially supported by United States administrations.[23] In June 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the humanitarian needs in the Hamas-controlled area must be met along with legitimate Israeli security concerns.[24]

Most[citation needed] of the international institutions consider the blockade illegal. In September 2011, the Chair and Vice-Chair of a UN Panel of Inquiry concluded in the Palmer Report that the naval blockade was legal, based on the right of self-defense during a period of war, and had to be judged isolated from the restrictions on goods reaching Gaza via the land crossings. Concerning the restrictions on goods reaching Gaza via the land crossings the Palmer report stated that they were “a significant cause” of Gaza’s unsustainable and unacceptable humanitarian situation.[25][26][27] A Fact-Finding Mission for the UN Human Rights Council (2009) chaired by Richard Goldstone, a former judge of the International Criminal Court, as well as a panel of five independent U.N. rights experts[who?] concluded that the blockade constituted collective punishment of the population of Gaza and was therefore unlawful.[28][29] UN envoy Desmond Tutu, United Nations Human Rights Council head Navi Pillay, the International Committee of the Red Cross and some experts on international law[30] consider the blockade illegal.[31][32][33][34][35]

Since June 1989, Israel has formally restricted the movement of Palestinians, imposing a magnetic-card system whereby only those with such a card were allowed to leave the Strip: Israeli authorities did not issue magnetic cards to released prisoners, former administrative detainees, or people who had been detained and released without charges being filed against them.[36] January 1991 marked the beginning of the permanent closure policy, whereby each resident of Gaza who desired to travel within Israel or the West Bank was required to have a personal exit permit.[36] In March 1993, Israel imposed an overall closure on Gaza with newly built checkpoints; and, from October 2000, Israel imposed a comprehensive closure on the Gaza Strip.[36]

When the Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out in September 2000 Israel put trade restrictions on the Gaza Strip and closed the Gaza International Airport. The economic effects worsened after the creation of a buffer zone in September 2001, that would seal all entry and exit points in the Palestinian Territories for “security reasons.” After 9 October 2001, movement of people and goods across the Green Line dividing the West Bank from Israel, and between the Gaza Strip and Israel, was halted, and a complete internal closure was effected on 14 November 2001.[37] The worsening economic and humanitarian situation raised great concern abroad. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in January 2003, the Israeli blockade and closures had pushed the Palestinian economy into a stage of de-development and drained as much as US $2.4billion out of the economy of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.[38]

The Israel Defense Forces left the Gaza Strip on 1 September 2005 as part of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan. An “Agreement on Movement and Access” (AMA) between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was concluded in November 2005 to improve Palestinian freedom of movement and economic activity in the Gaza Strip. Under its terms, the Rafah crossing with Egypt was to be reopened, with transits monitored by the Palestinian National Authority and the European Union. Only people with Palestinian ID, or foreign nationals, by exception, in certain categories, subject to Israeli oversight, were permitted to cross in and out.[39][40]

The 20062007 economic sanctions against the Palestinian National Authority were economic sanctions imposed by Israel and the Quartet on the Middle East against the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian territories following the January 2006 legislative elections that brought Hamas to power.[41] The sanctions were imposed after Hamas refused to renounce violence, to respect previous agreements and to recognize the State of Israel.[1] In March 2007, the Palestinian Legislative Council established a national unity government, with 83 representatives voting in favor and three against. Government ministers were sworn in by Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman on the Palestinian Authority, in a ceremony held simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah.

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Blockade of the Gaza Strip – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Written on July 16th, 2015 & filed under Gaza Strip Tags: , , , , , , ,