Locked In: The Humanitarian Impact of two years of blockade on the Gaza strip

August 21, 2009

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has just released an important report:  Locked In – The Humanitarian Impact of two years of blockade on the Gaza Strip 

Much of it we know – but the publication is important – thirty pages long but very clearly written and illustrated with maps which show the extent of restrictions on fishing (crucial in a food crisis). Here is a extract:

“Following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza strip in June 2007, Israel has imposed an unprecedented blockade on all border crossings in and out of the Gaza strip. The blockade has ‘locked in’ 1.5 million people in what is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, triggering a protracted human dignity crisis with negative humanitarian consequences…

…The blockade, now it its third year, has taken place alongside recurrent cycles of violence and human rights violations, stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Hamas’s rule over Gaza…it has been characterized by the U.N.’s most senior humanitarian official, John Holmes, as a form of ‘collective punishment’ on the entire Gaza population. The UN, the ICRC, many states and humanitarian organizations have repeatedly urged the Government of Israel to remove the restrictions on Gaza’s borders; to allow free access to agricultural areas within Gaza, and to allow unrestricted fishing in Gaza’s territorial waters. These are the urgent first steps needed to start the reconstruction of homes and infrastructure, the revival of the economy and the restoration of human dignity in Gaza.”

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