Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The impact of the blockade on the Palestinians

One of the big news stories of the day is the incident that has brought international condemnation of Israel. Israeli marines intercepted ships that were to break the blockage against the Palestinian people. 9 people aboard the ships carrying aid were killed in the violent interception.

The blockade against the Palestinian people has had drastic effects against them. The ships that were intercepted were sorely needed. From Reuters Alter-Net writer Katherine Baldwin gives us this run down of what the Palestinians are lacking because of the blockade.


Over three quarters of Gaza's population is food insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity, relying heavily on aid subsidies, according to a report by the World Food Programme and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), published in November last year. The report said the population of Gaza was being sustained at "the most basic or minimum humanitarian standard."

Food security exists when all people, at all time, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Food insecurity exists when this access is jeopardised.

Food price inflation, a deterioration or destruction of livelihoods and the population's increasing inability to cope with the difficult circumstances all contribute to food insecurity in Gaza, the report said.


Restricted imports of livestock, seeds and seedlings, plastic piping, iron bars for animal shelters, water pumps, filters and irrigation pipes, fishing nets, engine spare parts, veterinary drugs and cement are decimating Gaza's agriculture and fishing industries.

Israel bars the imports of building materials including steel, cement and pipes, saying Hamas could use them to manufacture weapons.

Farmers have been unable to rebuild agricultural land or vital roads because of a lack of construction materials like concrete and heavy equipment. Goods imported via tunnels from Egypt are often sold at inflated prices that most Palestinians cannot afford.


Operation 'Cast Lead' caused some $268 million in damages, according to the United Nations. Israeli bombardments caused huge damage to already depleted infrastructure. Restrictions on imports of cement, other building materials and heavy lifting equipment are hampering efforts to rebuild vital roads, health and education services and power supplies.


Electricity shortages mean Gaza's population experiences rolling blackouts of up to 12 hours every day, according to an OCHA report, exacerbating the already difficult living conditions. Gaza's sole power plant, the Gaza Power Plant, is able to produce only half the electricity that it did prior to January 2010, due to a lack of funds to buy the industrial fuel needed to run the plant.

Hospitals and clinics often have to rely on back-up generators that are not designed to function for long periods and are often damaged as a result.


Many specialised treatments, such as for complex heart surgery and certain types of cancer, are not available in Gaza and patients are referred for treatment to hospitals outside the territory. But many patients have had their applications for exit permits denied or delayed by Israeli authorities and have missed their appointments. Some have died while waiting for referral, the World Health Organisation said in a January statement.

There are often shortages of key supplies and drugs. Delays of up to three months occur on imports of certain types of medical equipment, such as X‐ray machines and electronic devices. Clinical staff frequently lack the medical equipment they need while medical devices are often broken, missing spare parts or out of date, the WHO added.


A poverty survey carried out by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) showed that the number of refugees living in abject poverty since the onset of the blockade in 2007 has tripled. UNRWA found that 300,000 Palestine refugees live in conditions of abject poverty, from 100,000 in 2007. These families are completely unable to secure access to food and lack the means to purchase even the most basic items such as soap, school stationary and safe drinking water.

1 comment:

rolly said...

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