Sixteen years have passed since the Israeli occupation authorities imposed the siege and closure on the Gaza Strip, where 2,375,259 people live until the end of 2022 in a population area of 360 km. They represent 71% of the Palestinian refugees who were expelled by Israeli occupation from their cities, villages, neighborhoods, and homes during the Nakba in 1948 and during the Naksa in 1967.
Health and Psychological Sector
The blockade has severely aggravated the health situation in the Gaza Strip. ‘Israel’ banned the entry of at least 320 medical devices, including dialysis devices, incubators, heart devices, x-rays, diagnostic devices, laboratory devices, and ICU-related medical devices. It also prevented the entry of hundreds of spare parts necessary to fix the broken equipment. In addition, ‘Israel’ banned the entry of essential medicines and medical consumables, where the number of zero-stock items is estimated at 390, with a deficit rate reaching 36.1%.
Poverty and Food Security Sector
The Israeli siege has deeply affected the Palestinian reality regarding poverty and food security in the Gaza Strip. It has managed to increase the poverty rate and exacerbated the overall living conditions, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized groups, and it has posed a clear threat to food security. According to government statistics in the Gaza Strip, the poverty rate has exceeded 59%, affecting more than one and a third million Palestinians. The siege has also hindered the delivery of aid to 80% of the population in Gaza, who depend on fluctuating international assistance, as confirmed by a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released in October 2020.
Unemployment and Graduates Sector
In terms of unemployment, the siege has caused a rise in the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip, reaching 44.1%, which means around 220,000 individuals are jobless. Most of them are graduates, numbering over 200,000 individuals with various university degrees. This has contributed to the mentioned unemployment rate. It is worth noting that 60,165 graduates applied for employment in the government sector in Gaza during 2022, according to official government statistics.
Water and Environmental Sector
The siege has even affected the water sector and the environment, which are essential components of a safe life. While official reports indicate an increasing demand for water amid the scarcity of natural water sources, the siege prevents the implementation of necessary water projects. This has led to excessive depletion of the groundwater reservoir and increased salinity of water. The water budget deficit for the groundwater reservoir has reached approximately 120 million cubic meters annually. The average chloride ion concentration, an indicator of water salinity, has reached around 1035 mg/liter, compared to the World Health Organization’s drinking water standard of 250 mg/liter, representing an increase of approximately 314% above the recommended limit for chloride concentration in drinking water.
The Agricultural Sector
The blockade halted the reconstruction of the agricultural sector in the Gaza Strip, which is considered one of the important sectors driving the Palestinian economy. It contributes to 12% of the total GDP and employs around 13% of the Palestinian workforce. The blockade caused significant damage to this vital sector by preventing the restoration of agricultural lands destroyed by the occupation, including uprooting, burning, and damaging hundreds of thousands of fruitful trees such as olive and citrus trees, as well as tens of thousands of agricultural hectares.
Infrastructure and Power Sector
The Israeli siege has brought municipal, street, and wastewater treatment projects to a halt and led to a shortage in equipment and machinery. The Israeli occupation has bombed Gaza’s sole power plant with the aim of aggravating the humanitarian situation in the impoverished enclave. While its population of two million needs over 600 megawatts to allow for constant access to electricity, Gaza is only able to produce 200 megawatts at best. The Israeli siege prevented Gaza’s municipalities from carrying out projects worth around $300 million to improve the infrastructure. Meanwhile, the losses incurred by the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government were estimated at $270 million as a result of the Israeli siege and repeated attacks. The ministry also suffered around $30 million in indirect losses due to the Israeli blockade.