15 JUNE 2022 – OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY AFTER 15 YEARS OF BLOCKADE, FOUR OUT OF FIVE CHILDREN IN GAZA SAY THEY ARE LIVING WITH DEPRESSION, GRIEF AND FEAR

https://www.savethechildren.net/news/after-15-years-blockade-four-out-five-children-gaza-say-they-are-living-depression-grief-and

Gaza City, 15 June 2022 – Fifteen years of life under blockade has left four out of five children in the Gaza Strip reporting that they live with depression, grief and fear, according to disturbing findings released today by Save the Children.   

The research found the mental wellbeing of children, young people and caregivers has dramatically deteriorated since a similar study in 2018, with the number of children reporting emotional distress increasing to 80% from 55%. These findings again show that maintaining the current status quo is negatively impacting children’s wellbeing and hopes for a better future.  

The report, titled “Trapped”, found a huge increase in children who reported feeling fearful (84% compared to 50% in 2018), nervous (80% compared to 55%), sad or depressed (77% compared to 62%) and grieving (78% compared to 55%). It also found that more than half of Gaza’s children have contemplated suicide[i] and three out of five are self-harming[ii] .  

 

It is now more critical than ever that the government of Israel lifts the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and that local authorities, the international community and donors support the rapid strengthening of child protection and mental health support services for affected children, Save the Children said.   

In the past 15 years, children in the Gaza Strip have endured six major moments – five escalations in violence and the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as a life-limiting land, air, and sea blockade imposed by the government of Israel. Children make up 47% of Gaza’s population of two million, with over 800,000 having never known life without the blockade[iii].   

As well as physical harm, economic deprivation and lack of access to essential services such as healthcare, the blockade has sparked a mental health crisis for children and young people, today’s research shows.  

Amr, 14, still remembers how afraid he felt during the escalation in violence last year: “During the night, I couldn’t sleep because I had a nightmare. I was really afraid that they would bomb our house or would bomb our neighbours again. I was on edge. I would tell my dad about the nightmares and he would reassure me that it won’t happen. Then I would go back and try to sleep again.”   

 

For the report Save the Children consulted 488 children and 168 parents and caregivers in the Gaza Strip in a repeat of similar research by the child rights organisation in 2018.   

Caregivers described concerning behaviour in children and young people, with 79% reporting an increase in bedwetting over the past few years and 78% reporting that their children rarely completed tasks. About 59% said there had been an increase in children experiencing difficulties in speech, language and communication, including temporary reactive mutism, which is a symptom of trauma or abuse. All these behaviours have a huge immediate and long-term impact on the development, learning and social interaction of children, Save the Children said.  

Caregivers are also experiencing higher levels of emotional distress, according to the report, with 96% reporting feeling unhappy and constantly anxious.   

 

Jason Lee, Country Director for Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territories, said:

The children we spoke to for this report described living in a perpetual state of fear, worry, sadness and grief, waiting for the next round of violence to erupt, and feeling unable to sleep or concentrate. The physical evidence of their distress – bedwetting, loss of ability to speak or to complete basic tasks – is shocking and should serve as a wakeup call to the international community.  

Five years ago, caregivers said that their capacity to support their children is being pushed to the limit by the blockade, chronic poverty, and insecurity, and would most likely be utterly destroyed in the event of another conflict. Our findings show that caregivers’ concerns have sadly come true.   

We call on all sides to tackle the root causes of this conflict, and take steps to protect all children and families who deserve to live in safety and dignity. We need an immediate end to the conflict and economic deprivation that are huge stressors in children’s lives, as well as action to support the coping potential and resilience of children and their families in the Gaza strip.”  

Ameera, 14, told us how her life would change if the blockade was removed today, telling us that she would “feel more connected to the whole world. I can do whatever I want and go to wherever I want. I would study computer science and specifically get a degree in virtual reality design. This is what I really want to do in my life but I can’t do it here in Gaza, we don’t have such a programme.”  

Save the Children is calling for the government of Israel to take immediate steps to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009). The international community should urgently call for Israel to take these steps, along with bringing an end to the ongoing occupation and work with all parties to create conditions for renewed talks between the parties to the conflict towards creating a just solution.   

 

NOTES TO EDITORS   

  • The blockade of the Gaza Strip has been deemed by UN Human Rights Experts[iv] and the International Committee of the Red Cross to be contrary to international law as it constitutes ‘collective punishment’ and prevents civilians from securing their basic rights.[v] Collective punishment is explicitly prohibited under international humanitarian law by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  

  • Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible for ensuring the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population and has the primary duty to provide for basic needs. According to the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, the blockade breaches these rights[vi], particularly to freedom of movement and the enjoyment of their rights to an adequate standard of living, health, education, work and family life.[vii] 

[i] 55%  

[ii] 59%  

[iii] Palestinian Centre of Bureau of Statistics: https://pcbs.gov.ps/post.aspx?lang=en&ItemID=4213  

[iv] UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the oPt concluded that the blockade on Gaza is a form of collective punishment in several of his reports including https://www.un.org/unispal/document/israels-collective-punishment-of-palestinians-illegal-and-an-affront-to-justice-special-rapporteur-on-the-situation-of-human-rights-in-the-opt-press-release/  

[v] In October 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, stated that: ‘[…] As a form of collective punishment imposed upon an entire population, the blockade is contrary to international law’. Report to the UN General Assembly, A/71/554, 19 October 2016, para. 45, http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/PS/A_71_554_en.pdf. In August 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stated that: ‘While parties to an armed conflict may take security measures, such measures must comply with international law and should be necessary and proportional. Numerous statements made by Israeli officials in their professional capacities have made clear that the blockade is being imposed to apply pressure to the de facto authorities, and in response to acts committed by various groups in Gaza, including Palestinian armed groups, towards or in relation to Israel. However, the blockade and related restrictions target and impose hardship on the civilian population, effectively penalizing them for acts they have not committed. As such, these measures contravene article 33 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Convention IV) prohibiting collective penalties’. Report to the Human Rights Council, A/HRC/24/30, 22 August 2013, para.22. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also concluded that the closure constitutes a form of collective punishment against Palestinians in Gaza: https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/resources/documents/update/palestine-update-140610.htm.  

[vi] Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible for ensuring the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population and has the primary duty to provide for basic needs. Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention), 12 August 1949, 75 UNTS 287, Articles 55, 56 and 59.  

[vii] Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, 18 February 2022, A/HRC/49/83 https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/EN_67.pdf  

 

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UN THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

https://www.un.org/unispal/document/israels-collective-punishment-of-palestinians-illegal-

Israel’s Collective Punishment of Palestinians Illegal and an Affront to Justice: Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the oPt – Press Release

GENEVA (17 July 2020) – A UN human rights expert has called on Israel to immediately stop all actions amounting to collective punishment of the Palestinian people, with millions of innocent harmed daily and nothing achieved but deeper tensions and an atmosphere conducive to further violence.

It is an affront to justice and the rule of law to see that such methods continue to be used in the 21st century and that Palestinians collectively continue to be punished for the actions of a few,” said Michael Lynk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967. “These practices entail serious violations against Palestinians including the right to life, freedom of movement, health, adequate shelter and adequate standard of living.”

In his report to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, Lynk said Israel’s strategy to control the Palestinian population violates a foundational rule of virtually every modern legal system: Only the guilty can be punished for their acts, and only after a fair process. The innocent can never be made to be punished for the deeds of others.

The extent of the devastating impact of Israel’s collective punishment policy can be most strikingly seen in its ongoing 13-year-old closure of Gaza, which now suffers from a completely collapsed economy, devastated infrastructure and a barely functioning social service system,” the Special Rapporteur said.

While Israel’s justification for imposing the closure on Gaza was to contain Hamas and ensure Israel’s security, the actual impact of the closure has been the destruction of Gaza’s economy, causing immeasurable suffering to its two million inhabitants,” the Rapporteur said. “Collective punishment has been clearly forbidden under international humanitarian law through Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. No exceptions are permitted.”

The Special Rapporteur’s new report also criticised Israel’s continued policy to punitively demolish Palestinian homes. “Since 1967, Israel has destroyed more than 2,000 Palestinian homes, designed to punish Palestinian families for acts some of their members may have committed, but they themselves did not,” he said. “This practice is in clear violation of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Lynk said it was disheartening that the demolition of Palestinian homes is still viewed by the Israeli political and legal leadership, including the Israeli High Court, as a permissible deterrent. “In fact, these demolitions only further contribute to an atmosphere of hate and vengeance, as the Israeli security leadership has itself acknowledged.”

ENDS

Mr. Michael Lynk was designated by the UN Human Rights Council in 2016 as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967. The mandate was originally established in 1993 by the then UN Commission on Human Rights. Professor Lynk is Associate Professor of Law at Western University in London, Ontario, where he teaches labour law, constitutional law and human rights law. Before becoming an academic, he practiced labour law and refugee law for a decade in Ottawa and Toronto. He also worked for the United Nations on human rights and refugee issues in Jerusalem.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel 

For more information and media requests, please contact Katarina Medlova (+41 (0) 22 917 9129) kmedlova@ohchr.org

For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / rrosariodesouza@ohchr.org) and John Newland (mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

Document Type: Press Release
Document Sources: Human Rights CouncilSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the OPT
Subject: Human rights and international humanitarian lawLegal issues
Publication Date: 17/07/2020
URL source: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26111&LangID=E

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15 Years Too Long Factsheet 14 June 2007 – 14 June 2022

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental
human rights organization established in 1999. Al Mezan is dedicated to protecting and
advancing the respect of human rights, with a focus on economic, social, and cultural rights,
supporting victims of violations of international law through legal initiatives, and enhancing
democracy, community and citizen participation, and respect for the rule of law in Gaza as
part of occupied Palestine.
Main office:
5/102-1 Al Mena, Omar El-Mukhtar Street
Western Rimal
Gaza City, Gaza Strip (occupied Palestine)
P.O. Box 5270
Telfax: +970 (0)8 282-0442/7
Jabalia office:
Al Eilah Building (1st Floor), Al Trans Square
Jabalia Camp, Gaza Strip (occupied Palestine)
P.O. Box: 2714
Telfax: +970 (0)8 248-4555/4
Rafah office:
Qishta Building (1st Floor), Othman Bin Affan Street
Rafah, Gaza Strip (occupied Palestine)
Telfax: +970 (0)8 213-7120
Email: info@mezan.org
Website: www.mezan.org/en
© 2022 AL MEZAN CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
2
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
On 6 June 1967, Israeli authorities declared the Gaza Strip a closed military area
pursuant to a military order that remained in effect even after the signing of the Oslo
Accords. Significantly, Israeli restrictions on the Gaza Strip have begun as early as the
1990s, by means of a series of measures taken by the Israeli authorities, including
reducing the fishing zone in Palestinian territorial waters, preventing Palestinian
workers from Gaza from working in Israel, and imposing restrictions on the movement
of Palestinians through the Erez crossing.
With the outbreak of the Al Aqsa or Second Intifada on 28 September 2000, and
particularly starting on 9 October 2000, Israeli forces declared and imposed a closure
on the Gaza Strip and besieged the residential areas near the then-present Israeli
settlements, such as the al-Mawasi and al-Syafa areas, closed the great majority of
crossings, and altered the operation of some others. Following Israel’s
‘disengagement’ from Gaza in 2005, Israeli authorities closed the cargo section of
Erez crossing and completely shut down Sufa, Karni and Nahal Oz crossings, which
were replaced by Karem Abu Salem, Gaza’s only commercial crossing. Also, before
October 2000, the Rafah crossing—controlled by Israeli authorities until 2005—used
to operate 24/7 and only closed two days a year. However, since then, the crossing
has operated for a limited number of hours and for a few days a week. There have
also been periods when Rafah was closed for months.
When Hamas became the governing authority in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israeli
authorities tightened pre-existing closure measures, doubled restrictions on the
freedom of movement and goods, and, on 21 June 2007, suspended Gaza’s Customs
Code. Furthermore, on 18 September 2007, the Israeli Security Cabinet declared the
Gaza Strip an ‘hostile/enemy entity’, thereby placing insurmountable obstacles to
access to civil remedy in Israeli courts for Palestinians from Gaza.
Israel’s closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, which constitutes collective
punishment, prohibited under international humanitarian law,1 is implemented in the
context of Israel’s settler-colonial occupation of Palestinian territory (OPT) and its
system of racial discrimination, domination, and oppression against the Palestinian
people meeting the definition of apartheid under international law.
1 ICRC, IHL Database, Customary IHL Rule 103: Collective Punishments, available at:
https://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v1_rul_rule103.
3
During 15 years of Israeli closure and blockade on the Gaza Strip, Palestinians’
freedom of movement has been severely restricted, including by creating military nogo
areas or buffer zones on Palestinian land and waters known as ‘access restricted
areas’. In addition, since 2007, Israel has carried out four full-scale military offensives
against the Gaza Strip, killing some 4,041 Palestinians, including 1,005 children and
461 women over a period of 13 years (2008-21), and destroying tens of thousands of
homes, industrial and commercial facilities and infrastructure critical for the survival of
the civilian population, including electricity, water and sanitation networks and roads,
further deteriorating the humanitarian conditions and increasing poverty and
unemployment rates. In parallel with this, the population of Gaza, which amounted
to 1.5 Palestinians at the end of 2006, reached 2.1 million by the end of 2021, making
the Strip one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
This fact sheet, supported by figures, presents findings and indicators showing the
extent of Israeli violations over the 15 years of closure and blockade that have made
the Gaza Strip unlivable for its more than two million inhabitants.
§ Between 14 June 2007 and 14 June 2022, Israeli military attacks have killed 5,418
Palestinians, 23% of whom are children and 9% women, and injured thousands of
others; destroyed 3,118 commercial facilities, 557 factories, 2,237 vehicles, and
2,755 public facilities; destroyed 12,631 residential units and partially damaged
41,780 others. In addition, Israeli authorities have tightened restrictions on the
entry of construction materials into the Gaza Strip, thus preventing Palestinians
from rebuilding their destroyed homes.
§ Israeli forces also employed excessive and lethal force against Palestinian children
attempting to cross the perimeter fence and killed 15 children, injured seven and
arrested 204.
§ Between 14 June 2007 and 14 June 2022, Israeli forces carried out limited
incursions into areas near the eastern and northern perimeter fence in Palestinian
territory some 872 times, flattening farmland and destroying crops. During the
same period, Israeli forces periodically targeted Palestinian agricultural workers,
killing 136. Israeli forces leveled and sprayed chemical pesticides at 33,100
donums of Palestinian farmlands.
4
§ The Israeli navy periodically targets Palestinian fishermen at sea by opening fire at
them, arresting them, seizing their equipment, persecuting them, and obstructing
their work. Between 14 June 2007 and 14 June 2022, Al Mezan documented 2,514
violations against fishermen, resulting in seven deaths, 179 injuries and 750 arrests.
The Israeli navy has also confiscated 237 fishing boats and sabotaged another 131
along with large numbers of fishing equipment and necessities.
§ The Israeli navy has repeatedly and extensively prevented Palestinian fishermen
from sailing in Palestinian territorial waters and has also repeatedly disallowed
fishing activities in the permitted fishing zone.2
§ Israeli authorities arbitrarily detain Palestinians seeking to cross into Israel through
Erez to reach the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or to travel abroad crossing
as a means of entrapment. Between 14 June 2007 and 14 June 2022, they
arbitrarily arrested 204 Palestinians, including 48 higher education students and
employees enrolled in external training courses and colleges and 85 merchants.
§ Among the restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities is a capricious and
discriminatory permit system to which all Palestinians wishing to leave Gaza via
Erez must apply. One of the most vulnerable groups affected by Israel’s prohibitive
and complex permit regime are medical patients. Between 2010 and February
2022, Israeli authorities either rejected or delayed 30% of patients’ permit
requests. In addition, Israeli authorities at Erez arrested 43 Palestinian patients with
medical referrals and 28 of their companions after granting them exit permits. Al
Mezan figures show that in the past 15 years, 72 patients, including ten children
and 25 women, died after Israel denied or deferred their permits.
§ As a result of the Israeli restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip, the volume of
imports has dramatically dropped. In 2005, 111,480 trucks of imported goods
entered Gaza, quickly dropping to 26,838 in 2008. In 2020, 96,651 trucks of
imported goods entered the Gaza Strip, which can be explained considering
population growth and increased demand for services.
§ The volume of exported goods has also declined after the imposition of the
closure. While the Gaza Strip exported 9,319 trucks of goods in 2005, the volume
of exports decreased dramatically to 33 trucks in 2008. In 2020, the Gaza Stirp
2 The permitted fishing zone which the Israeli navy allows Palestinian fishermen to sail in ranges
between three and 15 nautical miles.
5
exported 3,118 truckloads of goods—which is around only one-third of the volume
before the closure.3
§ Since the imposition of the closure measures, Israeli authorities routinely banned
the entry of fuel to Gaza’s sole power plant, further exacerbating the existing
electricity crisis and prompting people to resort to the use of candles, kerosene
stoves, and power generators. This has caused many incidents of fire and
generator-related accidents which only in 2012 claimed the lives of 35 people,
including one woman and 28 children, and injured 36 others, including 20 children
and six women.
§ While Gaza’s electricity needs are estimated at between 600-660 mw, the supply
available is no more than 205 mw, which has led to electricity being cut off for
more than 16 hours a day at specific times during the past 15 years. The power
shortage crisis and Israel’s ban on fuel entry have prompted many municipalities in
the Gaza Strip to pump untreated sewage into the sea, causing water pollution. In
2021, a test carried out by Water and Environment Quality Authority showed that
75% of seawater along Gaza’s coastline, which extends to about 40 km, is
polluted.4
§ Gaza residents are also experiencing a serious crisis regarding the lack of safe
drinking water. Relevant authorities say that 96.2% of the water extracted from
Gaza’s aquifers does not meet the World Health Organization’s water quality
standards, especially in terms of nitrate concentration.5 Between 14 June 2007 and
14 June 2022, Israeli forces attacked and either destroyed or damaged 292 water
wells used for both domestic use and farmlands.
§ The living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have deteriorated
significantly: in 2021, the poverty and unemployment rates stood at 53% and 47
%, respectively, while the food insecurity rate was 64%.
§ The education sector has also been affected due to the prolonged closure of the
Gaza Strip. Between 14 June 2007 and 14 June 2022, Israeli forces destroyed 536
schools and 32 university buildings and at the same time hindered the construction
of new education facilities, thus causing overcrowding of students in schools.
Today the average class size in an UNRWA school is 41 students compared to 39
3 Unpublished data from the Palestinian Trade Center accessed by Al Mezan on 5 June 2022.
4 See Al Mezan’s Annual Report on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Gaza Strip in 2021
at http://www.mezan.org/post/32937 (, available in Arabic only).
5 The Palestinian Water Authority, unpublished Report on Water sources in the Gaza Strip in 2021.
6
in public schools.6 Many educational facilities remain inappropriate for students
with disability.
§ The realization of cultural rights in the Gaza Strip is declining, mainly because
Israeli-imposed restrictions have precluded the reconstruction of libraries and
cultural institutions destroyed during Israeli military attacks, including the national
library. The tightening restrictions have also increased the difficulties in developing
and updating the library’s book and periodical holdings and in organizing book
exhibitions involving outside publishers.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
While the Israeli government purports to justify the closure and related restrictions
under the guise of “security”, these policies demonstrate Israel’s intent to separate
and divide Palestinians and re-engineer the demographics of the entire Palestinian
population to assert its domination over them. Notably, this fact sheet considered
several violations of international law perpetrated by Israeli authorities within the
context of its sustained closure and blockade, including the use of excessive force
and recurrent military targeting of civilians and civilian homes, killing thousands;
arbitrary arrest and detention of children, patients, fishermen, and other vulnerable
groups; and the deliberate imposition on Palestinians in Gaza of inadequate living
conditions. As highlighted by Al Mezan in its report ‘The Gaza Bantustan – Israeli
Apartheid in the Gaza Strip’, these inhumane acts meet the definition of the crime
against humanity of apartheid under both the 1973 International Convention on the
Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the 1998 Rome Statute
of the International Criminal Court.
Accordingly, on this grim fifteenth anniversary, Al Mezan reiterates its call on the
international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations toward the
Palestinian people by urging Israel to immediately, fully, and unconditionally lift its
closure and blockade and end all associated unlawful restrictions imposed on the
movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip and to ensure
accountability and justice for widespread, gross, and systemic violations against the
Palestinian people, including for the crime of apartheid.

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Israel’s blockade of Gaza hits 15 years with no diplomatic resolution in sight

Published: 15th June 2022

The United Nations and all other humanitarian actors have spent 15 years delivering humanitarian support to 2.1m Palestinians blockaded inside Gaza, and yet, there is still no sustained collective political action or will to resolve it.

In those 15 years, the international community has spent an estimated $ 5.7 billion in Gaza just to help keep an incredibly resilient population afloat, in impossible conditions. “The humanitarian relief effort has long become a permanent operation. We are collectively forced into being de facto enablers of an open-air prison,” said Oxfam International Executive Director, Gabriela Bucher, on marking 15 years of the blockade.

“Today, seven out of ten people in Gaza depend on aid. This must change. We look to the UN Secretary-General personally to make the immediate lifting of the Gaza blockade a priority,” Bucher said. “Israel’s control is total, extending down to levels that are frankly ridiculous and punishing – like banning Gaza’s export of tomatoes unless they have had their green tops removed, so they can’t be kept as fresh”.

“The humanitarian relief effort has long become a permanent operation. We are collectively forced into being de facto enablers of an open-air prison.”

Oxfam International Executive Director, Gabriela Bucher
Oxfam

This month, Oxfam joins a civil society campaign, #OpenUpGaza15. “We need to stop the tragedy of Gaza from continuing to drain all the joy and aspiration of its youth, year upon year. It is imperative that we help the next generation not to be lost to the blockade. Over 800,000 young Palestinians have spent their entire lives trapped within Gaza. They have known nothing else,” she said.

These young people face a 63% probability of having no job. For girls it’s even worse – four out of five won’t find paid work. Gaza has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

“Most all of Israel’s restrictions are motivated by politics, not security. Palestinian families in Gaza are being collectively and illegally punished,” said Oxfam’s Country Director, Shane Stevenson. “Israel bans the export of date paste, cookies, and French fries. It has forbidden 3G and 4G phone data and there’s no PayPal. This is not a place where a young person can be expected to flourish and find happiness.”

#OpenUpGaza15 will feature the everyday stories from 15 young people about their daily deprivations, curbs, and constraints with which they have to deal just to pursue their lives and their interests.

Ahmad Abu Dagga, 15, excels in sciences but fears that he will finish his 12 years of school without ever seeing a microscope in his school laboratory.

Alaa Abu Sleih, 23, was born with a physical disability. Few years ago, the control panel of his wheel chair broke down and cannot get a new one. The chair tyres are wearing out and he worried how he will get around.

Oxfam’s humanitarian and development efforts in Gaza are all constantly undermined by Israel’s suffocating restrictions on services and the movement of resources and people. 97% of Gaza’s piped water is not fit to drink and electricity supply is restricted to 12 hours per day.

“The UN and its member states must become the diplomatic power brokers needed to end this blockade now,” Stevenson said. “All sides must commit to a time-bound plan with actions and strong accountability mechanisms. We refuse to accept that all the effort made to maintain the blockade for 15 years can’t instead be harnessed for good and to consign it to history.”  https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/israels-blockade-gaza-hits-15-years-no-diplomatic-resolution-sight

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Suffocation and Isolation 15 Years of Israeli Blockade on Gaza

https://euromedmonitor.org/en/gaza

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Israel’s blockade of Gaza hits 15 years with no diplomatic resolution in sight

https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/israels-blockade-gaza-hits-15-years-no-diplomatic-resolution-sight

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Real stories, real lives – what the Gaza blockade means

The Gaza Strip is a war-ravaged, poverty-stricken area, locked into 365 square kilometers and living under a tight illegal blockade on land, air and sea, which entered its tenth year in June 2016. The blockade, in addition to recurrent armed violence and conflict, today remains the principle causes of the socio-economic and psychosocial crisis in Gaza. The restrictions on movement of people and goods continue to collectively punish the civilian population, affecting every aspect of life in Gaza, undermining the local economy and threatening the enjoyment of most human rights, in clear violation of Israel’s legal obligations under international law. In addition, since restrictions have been imposed by the Egyptian authorities from June 2013 onwards, also the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt remains closed except for a few days per year.

But what does it mean to live under a blockade? During June 2016, UNRWA shares the stories of Jihad, Amjad, Hayam and Salwa and their everyday struggle to make ends meet: Jihad needs to search through the rubble from the devastating 2014 conflict to find steel and stones to sell in the local market; fisherman Amjad often returns from the Gaza sea to his family with empty hands due to the heavy access restrictions that led to the disruption of livelihoods and a dramatic decrease in the fish catch; Hevam and her sick son Ali are desperately waiting for a permit from Israel to leave Gaza and get medical treatment; and for Salwa and her family, running water is just a far off dream.

Their stories are real stories; their lives are real lives – and these are just four out of hundreds of thousands of people living in similar conditions in the Gaza Strip, under restrictions that have reduced access to livelihoods, basic services and housing, disrupted family life, and undermined the people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future.

Conditions in the Gaza Strip are unsettling and unbearable, and they become worse every single day eroding whatever resilience the people in Gaza still have left. People in Gaza deserve life. The blockade must be lifted, now.

Salwa Abu Nemer: No Water, No Dignified Life

“Sometimes many days pass and we can’t wash the laundry. The children get scabies and lice,” said Salwa Abu Nemer, who lives with her family in a makeshift shelter in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. Salwa’s home, like those of many people in Gaza, is not connected to the municipal water network. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam

Thirty-three-year-old Salwa Abu Nemer, a Palestine refugee woman, and her eight children live in a makeshift shelter in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. The family lives under trying and undignified circumstances. Yet while they don’t have a home or a source of income, Salwa considers the lack of running water as one of her family’s and neighbours’ most serious problems, as it causes disease and sickness, especially for children

Restrictions on Freedom of Movement Waiting for a Miracle

Thirty-six-year-old Hayam Farahat holding her son, 6-year-old Ali, in their home in Rafah, southern Gaza. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam

The blockade on the Gaza Strip has entailed a tight control over all aspects of life since 2007, severely restricting the movement of goods, as well as people. This lack of freedom of movement impacts the Palestinians’ right to enjoy the highest standards of human rights and development, including the right to medical treatment.

Fisherman Amjad al-Shirafi is preparing his boat at the Gaza seaport. “All I wish is to live my life with my family in dignity and to be able to sail like other fishermen in the world,” he said. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam.

At the main fishing port of Gaza City, Al-Mina, there are dozens of fishermen trying to earn a living to provide for their children under harsh economic conditions. Forty-two-year-old Amjad al-Shirafi, a fisherman from Beach camp in western Gaza City, is a father of six. He owns a boat that he runs with his son, 17-year-old Ismail.

In a metal makeshift shelter in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, lives 48-year-old Jihad Abu Mihaisen, a Palestine refugee, with her husband and two children.

Jihad’s life, like that of all Palestinians living in Gaza, is strongly impacted by the blockade, now in its tenth year. Electricity and fuel shortages, food insecurity, sky-rocketing unemployment rates, extreme water pollution,

Jihad Abu Mihaisen, a Palestine refugee woman, collecting stones from rubble to resell as a source of income for her family. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Hamam.

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15th anniversary of the blockade of Gaza

It is now widespread the feeling that this year there must and will be  joint efforts from Palestinian and international parties to focus on the stop of the blockade of Gaza as one important key point for the liberation of Palestine. We have to give a strong trust!
Joint action in strategizing and aggregation of our efforts is needed and ongoing .
Here a video and some of the documents published in the 15th anniversary of the blockade of Gaza
Video adhala project
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5k0Jmd3mxA
 
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PRESS RELEASE “15 years of Gaza blockade: what’s the role of the EU?”

A cross party hearing was held yesterday at the European Parliament, under the title “15 years of Gaza blockade: what’s the role of the EU?”

Francesca Albanese, recently appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, said that the blockade “is nothing short than settler colonialism” and that “the priority should be first and foremost to put an end to the illegal occupation.”

Michael Lynk, former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, said that Gaza has been
transformed into an open-air prison and that Israeli authorities regularly recur to collective punishment, something that is forbidden under international law.
Mona Shtaya, member of 7amleh, The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, draw the attention of the attendees to the growing Israeli surveillance system: the Israeli authorities, she said, “surveil the Palestinian social networks.” Moreover, “bugs are  installed on mobile phones to surveil private conversations of the inhabitants of Gaza, making use of techniques of espionage.”
Asmaa Abu Mezied, member of Oxfam, said that “the depolitization” of the international aid is part of the problem. “As long as we talk only of assistance without accountability, there will not be any advancement” towards the end of the Gaza blockade, she said. At the conference Members of the European Parliament and participants received recommendations from civil society and call for actions that include:

➢ Respect the legitimate and unalienable rights of self-determination of Palestinian people,
including supporting the right to hold national elections.
➢ Acknowledge that the situation of the Palestinian people in Gaza is so catastrophic that no conditions can be accepted from the occupying power Israel, for it to lift the blockade.
Recall that the blockade has brought no security for either Israel or Palestinians;
➢ Demand the government of Israel, the occupying power, to lift the blockade immediately and unconditionally including:
– Unrestricted passage of people and goods between Gaza and the West Bank and the
rest of the world; – Removal of the Access Restricted Area and of restrictions on fishing zones;
➢ Include these demands as conditions in all agreements in all political, diplomatic, cultural, military and economic relations with Israel. Prepare a mandatory timeframe with verifiable intermediate steps. Adopt the principle of sanctions if the timeframe is not respected.
➢ Call on the Egyptian authorities to further facilitate the movement of persons and goods to and from the Gaza Strip, and put an end to any restrictive measures.
➢ Establish discussion channels of direct dialogue with all the Palestinian counterparts to facilitate the furthering of the process.
➢ There must be a just and sustainable peace for all Israelis and Palestinians. Alleged war crimes committed in each round of violence must be investigated and prosecuted ensuring accountability according to the documented results of investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to the full respect of international laws and the UN recognized mechanisms of recommendations and implementation.
These action points will allow the EU to end its complicity in grave violations of
international law, and honour its own commitments and standards.

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an other anniversary- 55 years of occupation

On June 5 1967 Isreali army started the  “6 days war”, which ended with Israeli’s occupation of  East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, the Syrian Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Israeli, launched this as a  pre-emptive attack against Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria, and hit severely the air defences of these countries, making extimated 20.000 deaths.

The Isreali Prime Minister and Defence Minister Levi Eshkol and Moshe Dayan was the chief of IOF that entered Jerusalem. Moshe Dayan, declares on June 7, 1967, that Israel will never relinquish control of Jerusalem.

On the same day, June 7, 1967, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol issues a declaration, condemning the Jordanian attacks on Western Jerusalem and clarifying the authority over the Holy Places in Jerusalem now that Israel has taken control of the entire city.

On July 4, 1967, on the initiative of Pakistan, the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution calling on Israel to desist from any changes in the status of Jerusalem.(Resolution 2253.)

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