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Report: Gaza choked by years of Israeli blockade

May 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm

A recent study into situation in the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli siege has concluded that nearly 1.9 million Palestinians continue to suffer the effect of ground, air and naval blockades in one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor’s recent study, “Bottleneck: Gaza in the grip of a humanitarian crisis”, outlines the fact that 80 per cent of Gaza’s population has become fully dependent on international aid as a result of years of isolation from the outside world.

The study indicates that the unemployment rate has seen an unprecedented rise to reach 42.8 per cent, much higher than the West Bank where the unemployment rate stands at 17.4 per cent.

The Israeli blockade and prevention of entry of raw materials into the Gaza Strip has prevented the completion of 90 per cent of industrial projects, resulting in the loss of 75,000 jobs since 2007.

As a result of restrictions imposed by Israel on the fishing sector, the average fish catch in the Strip dropped from 3,650 metric tonnes to 1,938 metric tonnes, meaning that the Israeli restrictions cause the loss of about 47 per cent of fish catch annually.

According to the study, the number of registered fishermen in Gaza Strip has fallen from 10,000 to 3,000 as a result of the sea blockade.

Israel’s war last summer exacerbated the humanitarian suffering in Gaza. According to the human rights organisation, the enclave needs an estimated 23 years to rebuild all that was destroyed during the war if the blockade continues under its current conditions.

Arab and international countries pledged $5.4 billion in aid to help rebuild Gaza during a conference held in Cairo last October, but the reconstruction has yet to begin.

The Monitor called on European countries, especially those located on the Mediterranean Sea, to accelerate saving Gaza people and lift the siege imposed on them.

The organisation stressed that European countries bear “moral and legal responsibility to break the Israeli siege and should make all efforts to save the Gaza Strip through the opening of the waterway in light of the closure of all ports and border crossings.”