Some $500 million worth of projects in Gaza have been stalled due to the Israeli siege imposed on the area, the head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege in Gaza said on Thursday.
Urging the UN's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Gaza and take effective decisions to pressure Israel to end the siege, the Palestinian legislator Jamal Al-Khodari said Israel allows certain goods entry and prevents hundreds of important goods from reaching the enclave.
Speaking at a press conference in Beit Hanoun, Al-Kodari pointed out that Israel selects the list of prohibited material carefully by claiming they have dual use. Items include building materials and raw materials leaving thousands of people unemployed.
"The Israeli policy has increased poverty and unemployment in Gaza. Nearly 50 per cent of construction materials are denied entry to Gaza. Israel allows building materials to enter the Strip for some international projects to ease pressure.
"International and local statistics suggest the material which Israel allows into Gaza barely meets five per cent of the Palestinian market's needs. Nearly 80 per cent of the local factories have partially or fully stopped working. Several educational, humanitarian and health projects have stopped, including in the private sector," Al-Kodari explained.
He added that the water, electricity, fuel and sanitation problems persist because of the Israeli blockade and pointed out that the humanitarian situation is catastrophic where a million Palestinians are dependent on foreign aid and a daily average per capita income of $2.
He said the blockade is illegal and contradicts the principles of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "Israel's justifications for imposing the siege are void."
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad