A human rights monitor said that about 1.5 million of the population of the Gaza Strip, which numbered two million and 300,000 people, have become poor, as a result of the Israeli blockade and restrictions imposed on the Strip since 2006.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, in its annual report entitled “16 years of bitterness: A generation born under siege”, documented the dire effects of the long-term siege on various levels in Gaza, especially social, economic and humanitarian, which were also exacerbated by the repeated military attacks on the Strip. The most recent was last May.
The observatory urged the International Criminal Court “to open investigations against the Israeli leaders and soldiers involved in the policy of collective punishment and the military attacks against the Gaza Strip.”
The report stated that despite the humanitarian situation in the Strip reaching unprecedented levels of deterioration, and the succession of 7 Israeli governments since the beginning of the blockade, the Israeli policy of “collective punishment” against the population in Gaza remains constant.
The report considered that this “clearly shows Israel’s intention to inflict huge material and moral losses on the population in the Gaza Strip.”
According to the report, the indicators of the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip have doubled due to the blockade, as the unemployment rate in 2005, before the imposition of the blockade, was about 23.6%, while at the end of 2021 it reached 50.2%, to be among the highest unemployment rates in the world.
Likewise, poverty rates have risen sharply due to the Israeli closures and bans, from 40% in 2005 to 69% in 2021.
The report highlighted that thousands of economic, service and production facilities were disrupted, destroyed and damaged during the Israeli military attacks that occurred during the years of the siege. The last military attack in May alone destroyed hundreds of economic facilities, with a total loss of about $400 million.
According to the report, the health sector is one of the sectors most affected by the Israeli blockade, as health services are directly related to the population’s health level. The Israeli authorities deliberately prevented or limited the entry of medicines and medical supplies into the Gaza Strip, which led to a 66% decline in health care services in the Gaza Strip. .
On the level of freedom of movement, the report indicated that the Israeli authorities still allow a limited number of people – mostly humanitarian cases – to move through the Erez crossing, which is the only Israeli crossing designated for individuals to enter and exit the Gaza Strip.
The Rafah crossing with Egypt witnessed a remarkable improvement in the movement of travelers to and from the Gaza Strip during 2021, as the monthly rate of entry and exit of individuals through the Rafah Crossing increased to about 15,000 cases for the first time since 2013.
Israel began imposing the blockade on the Gaza Strip, following the success of the “Hamas” movement in the legislative elections in January 2006, and tightened it in mid-June 2007, following the movement’s control of the Strip.