End the Siege on Gaza

Background

For the last ten years, the densely populated occupied Gaza Strip has been besieged by Israel, by land, sea and air. 1.8 million Palestinians, the vast majority of whom are refugees, are effectively trapped.

After three major military assaults by Israeli forces in the last eight years, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, and very little reconstruction, Gaza is now virtually unliveable.

Following Israel’s brutal assault in the summer of 2014, which killed over 2,200 Palestinians, Israeli authorities continue to deny the entry of basic reconstruction materials to the coastal strip.

Gaza now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, over 40%. People there have no freedom of movement and there are severe shortages of basic materials and goods.

Hospitals don’t have essential supplies, and Gaza’s children are severely traumatised after years of siege and brutal military assaults, with the majority suffering from mental health issues.

95% of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption. More than 80% of Palestinians in Gaza are dependent on aid to meet their basic needs.

Israel has unilaterally established a buffer zone, enforced by live fire within up to 1.5km of the border fence, making 17% of the tiny coastal strip’s land effectively a no-go area.

Yet many Palestinians have no choice but to farm the arable land within the buffer zone, risking their lives in the attempt to simply provide for their families.

Similarly, Palestinians are prevented from freely accessing their fishing areas, with Israeli forces frequently firing on fishing boats, arresting the fishermen and transferring them to Israel for interrogation.

Despite Israel’s claims, the blockade remains firmly in place, with only a tiny fraction of the necessary materials for reconstruction allowed into Gaza. There is also an almost total ban on exports from Gaza.

Around 100,000 Palestinians are still homeless, displaced within Gaza as a result of the assault in 2014. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a man-made disaster, for which the Israeli government bears responsibility.

The siege of Gaza amounts to collective punishment, illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. As the occupying power, Israel has obligations to the people of Gaza, under international law.

End the siege on Gaza | End the arms trade with Israel | Free Palestine

Sources

https://www.ochaopt.org/content/monthly-humanitarian-bulletin-june-2016

http://gaza.ochaopt.org/2015/07/the-humanitarian-impact-of-gazas-electricity-and-fuel-crisis/

http://gaza.ochaopt.org/2015/07/the-gaza-strip-the-humanitarian-impact-of-the-blockade/ 

http://gisha.org/reports-and-data/the-gaza-cheat-sheet

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