GAZA 2019, A CHRONIC CATASTROPHE
The humanitarian crisis created by Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007 has rendered its residents without the right to health, safety and well-being.
In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020, but in 2017 the UN’s Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper, revised that projection stating that the unlivability threshold had already been passed. According to findings of a UN trade and development report dated September 12, 2018, “The productive capacity of Gaza has been eviscerated by three major military operations and a crippling air, sea and land blockade.”
As at August 2018,
97% of water is undrinkable
80% of people depend on some form of foreign assistance
61% of youth are unemployed
53% of people live below the poverty line
50% decline in Gaza’s GDP since the closure
40% of essential drugs are completely depleted with another 47% with less than one month’s supply remaining and shortages of 85% of cancer drugs
10% of children are stunted by malnutrition therefore never reaching their full intellectual or physical potential
10% of the total population require psycho-social support
4-5 hours of electricity per day
Hospitals ration the use of fuel reserves by suspending sterilisation, laundry, catering and diagnostic services during electricity cuts.
“The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.” International Committee of the Red Cross in its News Release of June 2010.
The continued collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza deepens the already tragic psycho-social and health situation. “The enduring deprivation of basic economic, social and human rights inflicts a heavy toll on Gaza’s psychological and social fabric, as manifested by the widespread incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder and high suicide rates,” United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Compounding this dire situation, since March 2018, the Israeli military has repeatedly attacked people participating in the Great March of Return, exercising their right to protest against the collective punishment of the blockade and demanding their right of return to their homes in historic Palestine. As a result*, at 30 September 2019:
324 people had been killed
35,827 people injured
As at August 2018*:
9,772 people had been hospitalised – of those 4,649 people were shot
6,070 of those hospitalised received limb injuries
74 amputations had been carried out
9 people remain paralysed by spinal cord injury
* – according to Report by Medical Aid for Palestinians
Updated figures on the number of people killed and wounded are available on several sites, including the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
About fishing in Gaza:
Fishing for Justice: A Fact Sheet About Fishing in the Gaza Strip from Grassroots International.
Gaza fishermen: A life under attack
Israeli naval forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian fishermen, who already struggle to make ends meet (photo essay from Al Jazeera).
A Fish Out of Water: Gaza’s First Fisherwoman
Palestinian teenager Madeleine Kolab takes over her father’s fishing business when he’s injured in an Israeli attack (documentary from Al Jazeera).
About the blockade of Gaza and its effects:
OCHA Gaza Crisis: early warning indicators August 2018
Uninhabitable: Gaza faces the moment of truth – Essay by Jonathan Cook (13 October 2019)
Ongoing Gaza Closure: The Impact on Daily Life, a short video (which mentions the fishing sector) from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza:
Gaza in 2020: a Liveable Place? Report from the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
From Gisha.org (an Israeli not-for-profit organization, founded in 2005, whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents), many publications, updates and other resources. For example: these FAQs about the Gaza Electricity Crisis.
Gaza Unlocked gives access to first-hand stories from Gaza and information about the blockade.
Palestine VR – glimpse the reality of life in Palestine – hear directly from the people living there, as you embark on tours of six different regions, including Gaza City. See for yourself the daily struggles — but also resilience — of the people in Palestine.
Two short videos based on materials produced by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Palestine, shows the experience of Palestinian fishers under blockade, confronted by Israeli warships, sharp restrictions on their areas for fishing, and the political, military and economic blockade of Gaza.
On Israeli theft of Palestinian undersea resources off Gaza
A report from Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq :
Annexing Energy – Exploiting and Preventing the Development of Oil and Gas in the O.P.T
Israel Pillaging Natural Gas from Gaza Says Dutch Report
Read full report here
A two-part video report from The Real News Network: