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Gaza Closure Enters its Tenth Year

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 00:00
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Gaza-Clousre-6-2017June 2017 marks two grim milestones for Palestine: 10 years of closure of the Gaza Strip and 50 years of occupation. Although Israel imposed movement restrictions on people and goods in Gaza since the 1990s, they intensified in June 2007, following Israel’s response to the democratic election of Hamas.  Since then, Israel closed off Gaza by land, sea, and air, prohibiting entry into and exit from the Gaza Strip. The ten years of closure has created a man-made humanitarian crisis: 80 percent of Gaza’s population are now dependent on humanitarian aid, while poverty and unemployment rates have soared to over 40 per cent.  Meanwhile, one million Palestinians are currently food insecure – over half of the 1.9 million total population.

The humanitarian crisis has been further aggravated by three Israeli military assaults against the Gaza Strip. During the 2014 Israeli offensive, much of Gaza’s infrastructure was destroyed including water, electricity, and sewage.  Israel has continued to prevent the entry of building materials and machinery into the Gaza Strip,  making efforts to completely rebuild from all three military assaults slow and costly.  Today, Israel’s full closure regime represents a brutal act of collective punishment against Palestinians in violation of international law.  This has directly impacted the economy and the provision of electricity, water, and sanitation, while destroying key sources of employment such as agriculture in the buffer zone and fishing in the maritime zone at sea. In addition, the closure system of exit travel permits has directly impacted access to healthcare resulting in violations of the rights to health and life.

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