Gaza’s health ministry has warned that hundreds of patients in the blockaded strip are in danger as Israel is continuing to block humanitarian funding from Qatar. The health ministry described a ‘catastrophic situation’ as fuel shortages left Gaza’s hospitals close to being unable to function.
The Israeli state is currently imposing a blockade by air, land and sea of the Gaza Strip. The blockade involves heavy restrictions on the movement of people and goods into the area and out of the area. As a consequence, supplies such as medicine and fuel face frequent shortages and Gaza’s infrastructure has suffered tremendously. Those hardest hit by the severe shortage of fuel include children who require support from life-saving dialysis machines and now face being denied care.
The longstanding blockade of Gaza is in violation of international law and amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s population as a whole. Since the blockade is an action which negatively effects Palestinians in Gaza as a whole it meets the definition of collective punishment described in the Geneva Conventions. Israel’s blockade has been described as the ‘longest‘ in history by the United Nations, having been imposed on the strip for a period of nearly 12 years.
As a result of the blockade Gaza faces an unprecedented poverty rate of 80% according to the most recent reports. The blockade is leading to severe damage to services in Gaza and the general population are now suffering from a crippled economy, overwhelming poverty and drastic shortages of electricity. The United Nations has suggested the area will be uninhabitable by 2020, indicating how serious and draconian the illegal blockade has been.
International efforts to encourage the Israeli government to end the blockade have been thin and unsuccessful, leaving civil society to lead the way. FOA encourages the lobbying of Members of Parliament and support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to pressure the Israeli government to end the occupation and the siege of the Gaza Strip.