NAME: Frank Kwapong                                                      STUDENT I.D M00556702

Gaza strip has been under movement restriction by the Israeli authorities since the early 1990s. The restriction intensified in June 2007,when the Hamas militant group took over that part being occupied by the Palestinian territory at present .

Israel has since then imposed a very serious restriction and blockade on the land, sea and air of Gaza, citing security concerns for its citizens. Despite relaxations of some blockade-related restrictions in recent years, according to a UN report, an estimate of  1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza remain locked in or are denied free access to the remainder of the territory and the outside world.(UN, OCHA’s, Gaza crossings activities database).

Following reports released on the 11th of October 2017, on the total number of people allowed in and out of Gaza, there has been further declination since the beginning of 2017 as compared to the previous years. Particularly, on the amount of people who cross the Israeli-controlled crossing points and also through the Egyptian controlled crossing, it’s indeed an indication of severe low levels. This has infuriate the situation and has secluded Gaza from the remainder part of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world. Hence, the restrictions imposed on Gaza by the Israeli authorities had led to  limited access to medical treatment and facilities, higher education, family, social life, economic opportunities and to employment as a whole.

The rigidity of the restrictions in recent months has prevented the movement of national staff employed by the United Union and international NGOs and has also, hindered humanitarian operations. The situation keeps getting out of hand day in day out and has led to the humanitarian agencies working in the area calling upon the international community to be of great help.In view of this, the humanitarian agencies working in the area has submitted a petition to the international community to provide them with a sum of  US$25 million in their humanitarian funding, for urgent lifesaving interventions to help stabilize the situation at Gaza strip.

As part of the blockade imposed on Gaza in 2007, by the Israelis, following the take over of the Gaza strip by the Hamas, Israel completely banned exports. This seriously led to a sudden decline in their manufacturing endeavors and  increase unemployment. In the year 2010, the export ban slightly eased off to allow the exit of small quantities of goods, primarily cut flowers and strawberries to the international markets alone. Following the 2014 conflict, commercial transfers from Gaza to the west bank resumed, allowing in agriculture produce for the first time and later for textiles and furniture. Limited exports were also permitted from Gaza to Israel in 2015(UN staff, report, 2015) The rate of  denial for permit applications by UN national staff to enter or leave Gaza increased from an average of 4% in 2015 to 26% in 2016 that is from January to September. Access to areas within 300 meters of perimeter fence with Israel is restricted , making it very hard for fishing, fishermen are only allowed to access less than a third of the fishing areas allocated under the oslo Accords.The unemployment rate in the middle of 2016 was almost 42% among the global highs,whiles among youth it stood at 60% and among females at over 65%. Looking at its households, 47% in Gaza’s population suffer from moderate or severe food insecurity leading to more than 70% of its population relying on international aid, the bulk of which is food assistance.

According to an Israeli government spokesperson about 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid is allowed or flows into Gaza each week ,saying it allows enough aid- including food and medicine .But there are no evidence to support this claims by the government. The U.N says 80% the population rely on some form of humanitarian aid. The United Nations has described the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel as the “collective punishment “of the Palestinian people living in that part of the territory.The United Nations has repeatedly criticized the the blockade and the insufficient flow of materials into the area for basic needs reconstruction. The former UN Secretary – General Ban Ki-moon warned the closure ” creates unacceptable suffering, hurts forces of moderation and empowers extremists.BBC.co.uk. The restrictions imposed has undermined the economy, resulting in high levels of unemployment, food insecurity and aid dependent. Restrictions on the marketing of goods in the West Bank and Israel; on the import of certain goods ,the access of land for agriculture and fishing,the energy crisis and the recurrent hostilities which result in assets lose and some left with long-term disabilities.

The blockade must be lifted, which contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective penalties and prevents the realization of a broad range of human rights.

By, Frank A.Kwapong

 

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