Continuing Blockade of Gaza
December 10, 2010
A report released by 21 human rights organizations on November 29 reveals that there has been little or no change in the severity of the U.S.-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip during the six months since Israel reacted to international pressure by announcing that it would ease the blockade.
The report, "Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade," which provides details about many of the living conditions in the Gaza strip, says that import levels of food and consumer goods are still just over one-third of what they were before the original tightening of the blockade in 2007.
Despite Israeli government claims that it would allow in construction materials, Israel has approved only 7% of the UN's reconstruction projects in Gaza. The report points out that carrying out the UN's modest school and housing projects will take decades at that rate.
The report also highlights the fact that Gaza's economy is at a standstill because nearly all exports are banned by Israel. Currently, the only products Gaza is permitted to export are a restricted number of strawberries and flowers.
In June 2007, Israel began its blockade of Gaza. This policy of collective punishment includes blocking the delivery of food, medicine, fuel and other supplies keeping border crossings closed and preventing Gazans from traveling outside of the strip. As a result of the siege a crippling economic and humanitarian crisis has steadily intensified. During that time, Israel has launched a series of military offensives, including a 22 day aerial and ground assault on Gaza in January 2009 which resulted in the wounding and killing of thousands of Palestinians.
In the face of world-wide condemnation, Israel continues its criminal siege. In Gaza, the U.S.-Israeli aims are to 1) force a change in the make-up of the elected Palestinian government, and 2) crush the resistance which again means terrorizing the entire Palestinian people.
At the same time, with the full backing of the U.S., Israel keeps escalating its all-sided war against the Palestinians. Israel continues with its program of permanently annexing large sections of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, expanding settlement activity and building its Apartheid Wall to carve up Palestine and prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state.