The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that Gaza continues to suffer from the effects of the 16–year–long blockade imposed by the Israeli occupation and Egypt.
In a recent report, OCHA said that the enduring restrictions on the transportation of people and commodities in and out of Gaza have had a negative effect on the livelihood of over two million Palestinians.
“Israel continues to reduce access to livelihoods, essential services, and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future (…) the situation has been compounded by the restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities at the Rafah crossing,” OCHA’s report added.
Beginning in 2007, the Israeli occupation has unlawfully placed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to over 2.3 million people, after the Hamas party took control of the legislative elections in 2006.
In addition, the Israeli occupation five significant armed conflicts against the people of Gaza, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries, and demolishing much of the government and civilian infrastructure, as well as causing immense frustration.
The situation was further aggravated when the Egyptian authorities blocked the movement of people in and out of Gaza, claiming it was to contain Hamas‘ power.
For years, both the Israeli occupation and Egypt have restricted the majority of Palestinians in Gaza from departing the coastal enclave.
At times, both Egypt and the Israeli occupation allowed travel across their borders again after coming to an arrangement with Palestinians.
“In last December, the Israel-controlled Erez crossing in the north of Gaza, about 45,640 Gazans were allowed by the Israeli authorities to reach either the West Bank or the Israeli territories to work or even receive their treatment,” OCHA’s report noted.
“This was the highest number of exits on record since early 2000 (…) it was more than six times higher than the monthly average in 2021 but only 9 per cent of the monthly average in 2000, before imposing the Israeli blockade,” OCHA added.
According to the report, approximately 87% of the exits from Gaza were Palestinians with permits that allowed them to leave for economic or trading activities, who mostly work as day labourers in the lands occupied by Israeli in 1948. Additionally, 9% of the exits were those referred for medical treatment in the West Bank or Israel, and those accompanying them.
In December 2022, the Egyptian authorities allowed 13,270 Gazans to pass through Rafah crossing, which was slightly higher than November‘s figure and 58% higher than the average monthly figure of 2021 after the COVID–19 restrictions had been lifted. The report also makes mention of this.
Since the blockade began in 2007, Israeli officials have stated that certain goods such as construction materials, certain medical equipment, and some agricultural items cannot be brought into Gaza due to the possibility of them having both civilian and military uses.