The year 2021 marks 54 years since the occupation of the Palestinian Territory & 14 years of the Gaza blockade. Israel imposed a land & sea blockade on the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ victory in elections in 2006.
Today, the situation in Gaza is becoming dangerous, with the worsening of the humanitarian crisis, deterioration of living conditions, & the high rate of unemployment (over 50 percent). Gaza is also facing an electricity crisis; its health system is collapsing, 90 percent of its water supply is unfit for drinking, & its sewage flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover Palestinian civilians, including children are held in prison or are prosecuted in military courts that don't meet international fair trial standards.
The Gaza blockade (through the land, air, & sea) is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment. It severely restricts imports and exports, as well as the movement of people in and out of Gaza, & access to agricultural land and fishing waters. Israeli restrictions on freedom of movement continued to impede Palestinians’ access to health care, posing further threats to vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite measures taken to ease the blockade in June 2010, the humanitarian situation has remained extremely fragile. Gazans remain isolated & cut off from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory. Entry into the West Bank, either via the Israeli Erez crossing or via Jordan, is prohibited for all Gazans. The volume of people allowed through the Egyptian Rafah Crossing remains limited, with hundreds denied passage each week.
Attempts to improve living conditions in Gaza and restore the Palestinian Authority’s jurisdiction in Gaza continue, however the threat of escalation is resurfacing. Despite international mediation efforts led by the UN and Egypt and financial assistance provided by Qatar, there is a need for greater cooperation & coordination between the different countries and actors involved. It is not just a security & military issue, as many tend to think, but also requires effective use of diplomatic and economic tools and expertise.