Gaza Strip after ten years of blockade

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12 Jul 2017 – 22:38

Source  :  The Peninsula

Gaza Strip after ten years of blockade

A Palestinian elderly woman sits outside her house at al-Shatee refugee camp during a heatwave in Gaza City on July 12, 2017. AFP / Mohammed Abed


Doha: After more than ten years of the Gaza Strip blockade, the United Nations (UN) once again warns the global community that the strip may become unlivable.
The Israeli siege imposed after the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, took over resulted in a deterioration in medical and education services as well as a decrease in the supply of fuel and electricity that frequently cuts off from 70 percent of the Gaza houses and facilities. Israel military also attacked the strip in 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014, further deteriorating the situation, however the people are still patiently holding on.
A report published by the UN in 2012 warned that the strip with more than 2 million Palestinians may become unlivable by year 2020, if no efforts are made to lessen the siege.


A Palestinian man prepares bread as his wife washes clothes during the few hours of mains electricity they receive every day, on July 11, 2017, at the al-Shatee refugee camp in Gaza City. AFP / Mahmud Hams


UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid, Robert Piper said all indications are moving in the wrong direction saying, “Gaza has continued on its trajectory of ‘de-development’, in many cases even faster than we had originally projected”. He then referred to the UN report, Gaza Ten Years Later, that stated Gaza has only 2 hours a day of electricity, youth unemployment reached 60 percent and children, women and cancer patients receive little access to medical services noting, “the ‘unliveability’ threshold has already been passed. Yet, somehow, families in Gaza find ways to ‘make do'”.
The Israeli authority announced it will decrease electricity supply by 45 minutes daily, making Gaza residents receive three or four hours of electricity daily, at best.
Amnesty International recently warned of the latest power cuts saying, “it will have a disastrous impact on Gazas battered infrastructure and cause a public health disaster. The move will also endanger thousands of lives including those of hospital patients with chronic conditions or in intensive care, including babies on life support.”
The Amnesty International article further read, “For 10 years the siege has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities. Under the burden of the illegal blockade and three armed conflicts, the economy has sharply declined and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated severely. The latest power cuts risk turning an already dire situation into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe”.


A Palestinian man works at a mobilephone repair shop during the few hours of electricity supply the residents of the Gaza Strip receive per day, on July 11, 2017, at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. AFP / Said Khatib


After Hamas’ control over Gaza, Israel has increased the siege over the area, declaring it a “hostile entity”. It closed all boarders, forbidding its people and goods from going in and out of the strip, it also threatened to cut off fuel supply and continuously violated the farmers and fishermen in their workplace on a daily basis. UN estimates Gaza’s needs for basic humanitarian supplies to be over 1,000 humanitarian truck per week, 625 of which carry food and medical supplies while 275 are for other necessary stuff. At least 80 percent of the population depends on these humanitarian aids provided by UN, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and other local and international organizations.
The imposed siege by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Gaza continues under the unreasonable international silence and in the absence of any criminal prosecution to hold the IOF accountable for their crimes along with the repercussions of the split between Palestinians factions, which has deepen the suffering.


Palestinian music band Dawaween performs on stage during the Palestine International Art Festival in Gaza City on July 12, 2017. AFP / Mohammed AbedPalestinian music band Dawaween performs on stage during the Palestine International Art Festival in Gaza City on July 12, 2017. AFP / Mohammed Abed


The repeated and lengthy closure of the Rafah border crossing, which links Gaza with the external world, in addition to the continued Israeli acts of demolishing tunnels have counted up for misery generated by the siege and affected human rights of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
Unemployment and poverty especially among graduates and post graduates as well government, local agencies and humanitarian organizations’ inability to employ them is a warning sign for further social and economical crisis.
Around 2 Million Palestinians live in Gaza Strip, which area is 145sq. miles (363sq. km), making it one of the most populated areas in the world. In reality Gaza’s area may account for less than that since Israel is halting 78 squared kilometers and consider them isolated and risky zones.
Gaza Strip’s suffering in numbers emphasis the size of the crisis, which Palestinians are undergoing, considering the reasons that contribute to worsen it.
The occupation, the division and the International community’s silence remain and further destroy Gazan people. Although the future doesn’t seem bright in the light of the siege, blocked tunnels, ban of importing electricity, for a long period, Gaza considers its steadfastness as victory of life against the Israeli occupation.


A Palestinian man rides a camel as people sit on a beach on a hot day in Gaza City July 12, 2017. Reuters/Mohammed Salem

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