Facts of Life in Gaza :
In Septembere 2000 Israel imposed a military blockade on the Gaza Strip, a total blockade being imposed in June 2007. This has resulted in Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants being effectively imprisoned. Other effects of the blockade include severe shortages of food, fuel, energy production, clean drinking water, medical supplies and access to life saving medical care. Human rights such as the right to an adequate standard of living, democratic representation, employment, education, travel, life, liberty and security of person have all been gravely harmed.
While we agree with the necessity of charity, Palestinians receive one of the highest levels of aid in the world, equaling $1.2bn per year. Yet the people of Gaza endure some of the worst living conditions on Earth. Clearly charity is not enough.
In January 2008 the wall separating Gaza from Egypt was partially destroyed by Hamas, providing access to Egyptian markets. The United Nations estimates that as many as half of the population of Gaza streamed into Egypt to buy goods and supplies. During the 11 days in which the border was open Palestinians were seen returning to Gaza with food, fuel, shoes, furniture, car parts and generators.
“In today’s Gaza how can we foster a spirit of moderation and compromise among Palestinians, or cultivate a belief in the peaceful resolution of disputes? There are already indications that the severity of the closure is playing into the hands of those who have no desire for peace. We ignore this risk at our peril.” Karen Koning AbuZayd (Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees – UNRWA)