The Consequences of the Gaza embargo: A Human disaster!

The Gaza strip and its population have suffered a quasi complete embargo from the Israelis since Hamas “Coup d’Etat” against the Palestinian Authority in June 2007. Gaza has been declared since then “hostile entity” by Israel. The totality of the checkpoints and other sources of supply have therefore been bolted by Tsahal, the Israeli army, leaving the Palestinian population of Gaza in great need and at the mercy of the Olmert Government. The consequences are harsh and terrible for the people of Gaza in every possible way. Different organisations such as Amnesty International, Care International UK, Christian Aid and Oxfam have described the situation in this territory as the worst humanitarian crisis since the Israeli Occupation in 1967.
The results of the embargo can be observed in all sectors of the society. First of all, politically, despite the cease fire signed between Hamas and the Israeli government in June, bombings continue to terrorise the Gaza civil population under the pretexts of Israel’s security, each aggressions leading to numerous death and injured people, among them many women and children. Actually, the attacks from Gaza on Israel killed five civilians and five soldiers since the beginning of the year, whereas Israeli military attacks on Gaza killed 312 Palestinians, the majority unarmed civilians, of which 44 children[i].
The targeted assassinations, which are considered as war crimes by the International Community, were pursued against Hamas militants. Many official administrative buildings and hundreds of houses were destroyed by Israeli missiles. Foreign journalists and deputies are not allowed to enter the Gaza strip; they are turned down by Israel at the borders. The Israeli State is acting against all the Conventions it is engaged in within the International Community, each attempts to help or communicate with the Palestinian territories are thus made impossible.
The economic situation in Gaza is far from being good as well. The embargo forbids any exportation and leads to the devitalisation of the economy. According to official reports from the World Bank and the United Nations, the direct losses caused by the 18th month of embargo cost more than 650 millions USD. 80% of the Gaza population is unemployed and is living under the level of poverty with less than 2 USD per day for each person. The only commercial trades allowed are the importation of food products. The Gaza strip has suffered an inflation of more than 10% since July 2007[ii]. This increase in the level of prices is due to the shortage of imported goods and products. During the opening of a breach in the Egyptian border the 23rd January, the population of Gaza spent around 130 Millions USD in two days to buy elementary products, fuel, cement and cars spare part[iii]. The industrial sector has nearly disappeared, actually 97% of the 3900 factories have closed, letting 35 500 workers unemployed, and the ones who kept their jobs are not more than 1500[iv]. Therefore the reliance of Gaza towards the food aid was multiplied by ten since 1999, 80% of the population being today dependant on this aid[v]. Around 1.1 million people receive this food aid through UN agencies, which have to struggle to operate despite the quasi total isolation of Gaza. The cost of aid for Gaza has increased, according to the UN, from 8 USD in 2004 to 20 USD per person today. Agriculture and fishing, two vital sectors of the local economy, are completely paralyzed because of the interdiction of exportation.
The embargo has also affected different aspects of life in the Gaza strip such as the health sector. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 70% of 1.5 million habitants of Gaza are suffering from anemia, of which 44% are pregnant women. Malnutrition has also increased these last 11 months, concerning more than 10% of Gaza children[vi], provoking problems of development, in relation to weight and size. Needs in basic drugs exceeded 160 types, more than 90 medicals equipment are not working because of lack of spare parts. According to the World Health Organization, the Israeli forbid to more than 1150 sick people to leave the Gaza strip to be treated since the beginning of the embargo, of which 259 died because they were not able to travel.
Education and Palestinian students are not spared by the embargo. Around 2700 students, who are studying outside Gaza in Arab or Western countries, are forbidden by the occupant to join their universities or schools. They are blocked in Gaza. The United Nations, which manages certain of the best schools in the Gaza Strip, has noticed an increase in failures at exams. The level of failure in Arabic for students of 9 and 11 was between 34.9% and 61.1%. In mathematics, the failure rate is high, exceeding 65%. This data must be compared with the rate of failure of only 10% of the UN schools in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. No doubt, this is the consequence of the embargo, leading tired, sick and starving children to schools.
To conclude, we have seen the tragedy of this embargo on the Gaza strip and its population, more than 1000 persons died since its beginning in 2007. We want to show our solidarity with the Palestinian people, and in particular for the ones of Gaza, through this article. In the same time, we condemn with all our heart and our soul the occupation, the embargo, the exactions and the war crimes of the Israeli State. We also condemn the silence of the International Community and of the Arab governments towards the situation in Gaza. Our last words go to the Palestinian people, whose we admire their courage and their struggle for life and freedom. As Edward Said said: “Palestine is a humanist cause”, let’s not forget it.
[i]Blocus : la Bande de Gaza otage d’Israël.
[ii] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
[iii] Portland Trust
[iv] Report from Amnesty International, Care International UK, Christian Aid and Oxfam.
[v] Report from Amnesty International, Care International UK, Christian Aid and Oxfam.
[vi] organisation de santé Ard Al-Insan à Gaza City
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Comments
4 Responses to “The Consequences of the Gaza embargo: A Human disaster!”
  1. Fabien says:

    It is very shameful indeed! The situation there has become so recurrent that people around the world, especially news agencies, do not emphasize its gravity. It’s amazing how we human beings get used to tragedies. When lasting for too long, we take it for granted and start giving up on the hope it can change. The routine makes us blind, and it shouldn’t be that way. I recently saw in the news that the Israeli embargo is cutting cash in Gaza. Everybody rushes to the bank to withdraw what they can, UN is giving out cash to the poorest, civil servants are not able to cash their paychecks, border crossings are being closed regularly as soon as a rocket hits the territory, leaving them in a total autarcy. The following quote found in the Guardian certainly describes what is happening there (referring to the January outbreak of Gazans to Egypt:”If you bottle up 1.5 million people in a territory 25 miles long and six miles wide, and turn off the lights, as Israel has done in Gaza, the bottle will burst. This is what happened yesterday when tens of thousands of Gazans poured into Egypt to buy food, fuel and supplies after militants destroyed two-thirds of the wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt. It was the biggest jail break in history.”

  2. Fabien says:

    Hey both,I promoted your blog to the Middle East team of the Forum, I’m sure they will love it!Keep on writing ok? Take good care,Fabien

  3. Joe says:

    Thank you very much for your support and your comments.Joe

  4. Mberenis says:

    Grrrrrrrrrreat blog!!!******************************When was the last time you looked at government grants? With the bailout, there is more money than ever. Don’t miss out. My Grant Blog*****************************

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