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The Necessity of Ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip

In the Name of Allah

The Necessity of Ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip

28 June 2014

The economic, commercial, financial and humanitarian blockade of the Gaza Strip by the Zionist entity is entering its eighth year, despite the protests of the United Nations, numerous humanitarian organisations, and international public opinion. The blockade is a potent indicator of Zionist policy towards this small portion of Palestinian territory standing up to the Zionist obsession to destroy the pre-existing unified state of Palestine, and achieve hegemony over the region.

This is clearly seen in the systematic tightening of the policy of economic suffocation and the strengthening and integration of laws and provisions that govern this policy.

Because of its declared purpose, the political, legal and administrative framework on which the blockade rests qualifies as an act of genocide by virtue of the Geneva Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and as an act of economic warfare as outlined in the Declaration Concerning the Laws of Naval War adopted by the London Naval Conference of 1909.

The destruction of the Rafah tunnels that provided the only lifeline for the besieged population of Gaza, and the closing of the Rafah Crossing in all but name have exacerbated this most unjust, severe and extended system of unilateral sanctions against Gaza.

The alleged reasons for the blockade, i.e. the presence of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza and the government of Hamas, no longer exist – yet the blockade remains.

As a result of the strict and aggressive enforcement of laws and regulations that typify the blockade, the Gaza Strip is facing an imminent humanitarian crisis.

Lacking almost 40% of essential medicines and medical supplies, increasing numbers of sick Gazans are dying at the border or at home for lack of treatment. There are currently 3,800 patients registered to travel abroad for life-saving medical care – but they are prevented from traveling by the closure of Rafah. The unity government has exacerbated rather than improved the critical health situation – 2000 health care workers have not been paid for two months, with no indication if or when they ever will be.

This situation extends to all of Gaza’s government workers, 40,000 of whom have received no salary for two months, a situation the unity government shows no concrete signs of addressing and which is causing widespread suffering, hardship and misery.
There is 50% unemployment and the average individual income is USD $2.50 a day – 70% of the Gaza population live below the poverty line.

Unable to freely export and import products and services, unable to freely conduct international financial transactions because of banking and licencing restrictions, Gaza cannot provide the basic necessities of life for its population – not because of any failings of the people, or of its private sector, but because of the illegal siege and fear of sanctions.

Prior to the siege, Gaza exports ran at 100 trucks daily – they now run at 100 trucks a year. 300 trucks of construction materials entered daily, now there are only three - and they are for NGOs.

80% of factories and industrial workshops remain closed, despite the reconciliation government taking power.

The prevention of the entry of construction materials and machinery essential to rebuild civilian and social infrastructure destroyed by Israeli demolitions and attacks is one of the most significant characteristics of the enforcement of the blockade, and one causing substantial suffering, as the widespread flooding and sewage overflows last November exemplify.

To such crisis events must be added the ongoing homelessness and overcrowding experienced by hundreds of thousands of Gaza citizens, whose destroyed homes have never been able to be rebuilt. Power cuts of up to 18 hours a day for several years now render daily life an ongoing challenge to achieve basic functions such as washing, cleaning, and conducting business. The dire environmental situation is typified by critical water and sanitation conditions – 100,000 people have no access to clean drinking water, and 50% of the population receives only contaminated water. This threatens not only the public health, but the very survival of the population and perhaps even the Gaza Strip itself.

Besides constituting the main obstacle to the economic and social development of the Gaza Strip, the blockade is also the most important hindrance to trade and humanitarian relations between Gaza and the world, severely impeding international cooperation provided and received by the Gaza Strip.

The damage caused to the Palestinian people and the Gaza economy as a result of the amplified enforcement of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Gaza is currently running at hundreds of millions of dollars.

The damage caused to their health, life and liberty is immeasurable.

The economic, commercial, financial and humanitarian blockade against the Gaza Strip is illegal and immoral, and it must end.

ENDS


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