In Brief: The Effects of Israel’s Reinforced Blockade on Economic and Humanitarian Conditions in the Gaza Strip – Occupied Palestinian Territory
Before the 11-day escalation of hostilities began in May 2021, more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza were already under the Israeli government’s land, sea and air blockade – a blanket closure amounting to an illegal collective punishment of 14 years under international law. law. The closure, rooted in severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of people and goods, undermines all aspects of life in Gaza and results in a protracted humanitarian catastrophe. As a result of this policy, the people of Gaza are denied the enjoyment of basic rights and freedoms and are forced into poverty, aid dependency, food insecurity and unemployment. The construction, industrial and agricultural sectors are drastically undermined and essential services, including education, health, WASH, environmental and electrical services, are collapsing. The energy sector has been hit the hardest due to Israel’s systematic targeting of power grids and the prolonged and repeated ban on the entry of fuel, with devastating effects on the implementation of all services and related activities in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli authorities have full control over all crossings between Gaza and Israel and restrict the access of Gaza residents to the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem. The Israeli-controlled trade passage is Kerem Shalom, which is used for the entry of goods necessary for the well-being and survival of the people of Gaza, including food, medicine and fuel, as well as materials. necessary for industrial enterprises and factories, agriculture and fisheries, and infrastructure and construction projects. However, as Israel maintains complete control and discretion over all goods and people entering Gaza, many materials, even essential ones, cannot enter the Strip due to Israel’s claim that they have a dual civil and military use. The trade crossing is also used for exports from Gaza, especially agricultural products, which are also heavily regulated.
During the 11-day bombing, the Israeli authorities completely closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, preventing the entry and exit of goods into the Strip until the entry into force of a ceasefire agreement. May 21, 2021, when the terminal was partially reopened. These measures have severely hampered the work of industrial facilities in the Gaza Strip, left thousands of workers unemployed and led to a substantial increase in the price of raw materials. These actions, along with the other measures and policies that make up the Israeli closure regime, constitute unlawful collective punishment of the protected Palestinian population which can in no way be justified and constitute crimes against humanity of persecution and others. inhumane acts.
At the same time, the occupying Power’s military attacks have focused on civilians and civilian property. Not only homes and people, but also factories, industries, businesses, shops and farmland, which, being civilian property, enjoy protection against direct attacks and excessive collateral damage under the international humanitarian law, the violation of this principle making attacks war crimes and probable crimes against humanity. In particular, according to Al Mezan’s documentation and field research, Israeli attacks during the 11-day offensive damaged more than 200 industrial and commercial facilities in Gaza. In addition to the regular shortages of materials and goods that the people of Gaza face, the extensive destruction of these 11 days has resulted in further shortages and new needs for the population.
During and after the bombing, the Israeli government tightened restrictions and bans on necessary products, goods and materials and on exports. The daily challenges that all members of the population face are therefore vast and growing. This short briefing is only intended to provide an overview of the impact of the current and recent escalation of closure restrictions.