The Gaza Strip is in the grips of a humanitarian crisis. This crisis is man made and is getting worse. The 11 year blockade by Israel has cut the people of Gaza off from Palestine and from the rest of the world. Experts predict Gaza will become unlivable by 2020.
For the two million people who live Gaza, life is an endless struggle. The current situation sees the citizens of Gaza living in abject poverty in near inhuman conditions. The horrific situation which the people of Gaza will wake up to today is a direct result of Israel’s official policy, which continues to determine daily life in the region.
In September 2015, the UN published a report on the situation in Gaza which warned that without significant changes to Israel’s policy, Gaza had no chance of recovery and would become unlivable by 2020. Not only has Israel refused to change it’s policies but it has made tighter sanctions and stricter rules for the people already suffering in Gaza.
It is clear that isolating Gaza from the rest of Palestine is a strategic and calculated part of Israeli policy. With tight restrictions on travel to and from Gaza, Israel has effectively made Gaza a no-go-region.
When Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel put Gaza under a blockade, turning two million people into prisoners, limiting access to jobs, imports/exports, food and also travel in and out of the region.
This blockade has driven Gaza’s economy into collapse. Employment is in now at 45%. Among women, the rate is 71.5%; in the under 29 age bracket, it was 61.9%. Some 80% of Gaza’s residents depend on humanitarian aid, and about 60% suffer from food insecurity. In the year 2000, before the blockade was imposed, Gaza’s unemployment rate was 18.9%. (Statistics from B’TSELEM)
In March 2018, Palestinians took part in “The Great March of Return” calling for an end to the illegal Israeli blockade. After a year and a half these calls have remained ignored.Gaza and to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their villages and towns have not been met. These peaceful protests where people have come to ask for Israel to allow refugees to return to their villages and towns has been met with violence and tragedy. In a recently published report, WHO analysed the 277 fatalities and over 28,000 injuries recorded in the year between 30 March 2018 and 31 March 2019. Some 172 people were permanently disabled as a result of their gunshot injuries, including 36 children. The major cause of permanent disability was amputation, with 121 amputations recorded during this period.
Today residents in Gaza live with constant power blackouts, contaminated water and a terrible fear of the unknown.
When will the next bomb fall? When will enough food provision arrive? Will my son return home alive today? When will I be allowed to leave and see my family in East Jerusalem? 2 Million voices cry out every day for an end to these questions and an end to the nightmare which awaits them each day.