This report is from CAABU and highlights the continuing crimes against humanity perpetrated by one powerful state against another. Israel could not do this without outside finance and support:
One year on from war A report on the humanitarian and political situation in Gaza
In the immediate aftermath of Israel’s attack on Gaza in early 2009, a delegation from the Britain-Palestine APPG travelled to the region to assess the situation. One year on from this visit, the Britain-Palestine Group returned to examine the conditions in the territory.
As Israel’s siege of Gaza prevents substantive reconstruction the delegation saw that homes, schools and hospitals continue to lie in ruin; over 700,000 people rely upon food aid merely to survive; and the economy of the territory has been obliterated, with imports and exports now blocked by Israel for over 1,000 days.
One year on from war: A report on the humanitarian and political situation in Gaza is now available on line.
Report Executive Summary
Israel’s total siege of Gaza has now held in place for over 1,000 days, denying the people of the territory freedom of movement, access to food, fuel and medical supplies, and crucially the ability to reconstruct their homes, schools and factories one year on from a major military conflict. Access to Gaza remains a key issue. The Agreement on Movement and Access stipulates that 15,500 trucks per month should be allowed to enter Gaza via the crossing points with Israel. However, since June 2007 the total number of trucks entering the territory has been only a fraction of this, typically representing around 20% of previous levels.
The siege has led to the emergence of large scale smuggling operations. At present Israel permits the importation of only 73 items into Gaza, and yet over 4,000 products are currently available in the shops of the territory. The business class of Gaza are leaving for Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, and are being replaced by a mafia-like elite that control the smuggling operations, estimated to be worth $30-40 million per month. Hamas have also been enriched by the tunnels; charging for permits to operate a smuggling route and applying a levy upon imports.
The delegation visited numerous sites that continue to lie in ruin, a year since the previous visit of the Group. Israel’s refusal to allow cement and steel to enter Gaza has prevented reconstruction work, leaving many Palestinians living in temporary shelters and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency unable to spend the money that it has been pledged for construction projects.
The effect of the conflict and the siege upon public health in Gaza has been devastating. Whilst the war had a shattering impact upon the population of the territory, the siege has in fact had a more corrosive impact upon health care facilities. The necessary drugs are available in hospitals for most emergency procedures, but supplies for the treatment of chronic conditions are in short supply. The lack of safe drinking water threatens the entire population; thousands of homes are without access to running water, whilst municipal wells break down regularly without the spare parts that are needed to keep them operational. UNRWA estimates that 60% of the population are without access to a regular water supply.
Reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah remains elusive and elections due to be held by January 2010 are unlikely to take place anytime soon. Both Hamas and Fatah claim to support reconciliation, but seem unwilling to make the necessary compromises to bring this about.
In the 14 months that have elapsed between Israel’s invasion and the return of the Britain Palestine APPG to Gaza, there has sadly been little accountability, on either side, for the crimes committed during the conflict. It is clear that impunity is at crisis point in the region. Atrocities that go unpunished encourage only further transgressions, and the lack of accountability following Operation Cast Lead and with regards to the on-going siege are a stark example of this.
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