THE situation in Gaza has deteriorated to its worst ever level, just one year after a truce that ended fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian territory, UN officials confirmed on Thursday.
James Rawley, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said that ‘After 12 months the initial hopes for a significant improvement on the ground have not been realised…In fact, I am sorry to report that the situation for Gaza’s 1.7 million people is worse than it was before the hostilities a year ago’ (between November 14 and 21, 2012).
Rawley said that the fuel and energy crisis was a primary cause of the situation while Robert Turner, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, stated that the impact of the demolition of smuggling tunnels under the border since Egypt’s army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi on July 3rd, has been disastrous for the people of Gaza.
‘The closure of the tunnels has led to a near total collapse of private sector constructions, as it compounded the constraints due to the pre-existing ban on construction materials from Israel for the private sector,’ he said.
The two officials condemned the Israeli government decision to ban the import of building materials – a ban that includes international agencies – from last October 13.
The Oxfam charity also confirmed yesterday that Gazans are still ‘trapped under the Israeli blockade and largely cut off from the outside world’ despite the ceasefire that was meant to allow the movement of people and goods in and out of the enclave.
Oxfam added: ‘Exports allowed out of Gaza have dropped by half since 2012 and Palestinian fishermen and farmers continue to be prevented from accessing the most productive areas.’
The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade, imposed by Israel since 2006. It has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans that has caused very many premature deaths.
The food industry is now desperately struggling in Gaza due to the ongoing Israeli economic blockade and the continual power cuts that have stopped the factories and shops from working.
The power cuts have also led to a number of serious fires where children have been burned to death as a result of candles, lit during power cuts, falling over and starting blazes.
Because of the continuing power cuts, working hours have been reduced, so the factories can’t provide the Gaza market with the necessary amount of food.
Facing issues such as lack of raw materials, lack of fuel, faulty generators, and daily 12-hour-long power cuts, factories throughout Gaza have been laying workers off.
Production costs have been increased, and so a large number of workers have been sacked. In fact, due to shortages of fuel and electricity, production has ground to a halt.
The lack of diesel fuel is a result of the worsening of the 7-year-long blockade imposed on the territory by Israel with Egyptian army support.
The Gaza Strip has now been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006, creating hunger and poverty and hardships on a massive scale.
In this situation, Gazans have nothing to lose but their chains. This is why serious discussions are now taking place in the Gaza Strip on the need for a Third Intifada and revolution to take place at the same time in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.
Even in higher Fatah circles in the West Bank the talk is of Marwan al Barghouthi taking the place of Abbas as President once Abbas retires – to be President of Palestine from a prison cell!
It is now accepted that there will be no two-state solution because Israel is in favour of one state only – its state – and building massive settlements to spread it over the whole of Palestine.
It is therefore only a matter of time before Palestine explodes in a new revolution.
Workers in the West must give it their full support and prepare for it by clamping a boycott on all Israeli goods and services to continue until the state of Palestine exists over the whole of its territory, with Jerusalem as its capital, with no settlements, with all Palestinians having the right to return and with Muslims, Jews and Christians living peacefully side by side.