After seven years of Israeli blockade, 1.7 million Palestinians continue to be trapped in the Gaza Strip, largely cut off from the outside world.
The needs in Gaza are enormous and aid agencies need to be able to deliver aid safely. Due to the increase in violence some important humanitarian work has been put on hold. We are doing what we can under the circumstances, but much more is needed.
We condemn all violence against civilians, both Israeli military actions and Palestinian rocket fire. Civilians are bearing the brunt of the attacks and civilians in Gaza make up the vast majority of casualties.
In Gaza, vital civilian infrastructure such as water systems, sanitation and health services have been badly damaged.
The people of Gaza are already extremely vulnerable due to the Israeli blockade, which has devastated the economy, left most people stranded in Gaza, and restricted their access to essential services such as healthcare and education. Hospitals and basic services are struggling to cope. Food prices are rising and livelihoods are being destroyed.
Tens of thousands of Israeli civilians have been affected by the rise in rocket strikes from Gaza, with buildings being hit and schools and other facilities closed.
The international community needs to redouble efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace that brings security and development to all Palestinians and Israelis. Israel must end the blockade on Gaza, which is collectively punishing an entire civilian population.
The blockade of Gaza
- The blockade - now in place for seven years - has devastated Gaza's economy, left most people unable to leave Gaza, restricted people from essential services such as healthcare and education, and cut Palestinians off from each other.
- More than 40% of people in Gaza - nearly 50% of youth - are now unemployed and 80% of people receive international aid. Many key industries, such as the construction industry, have been decimated as essential materials are not allowed into Gaza. Exports are currently at less than 3% of their pre-blockade levels, with the transfer of agricultural produce and other goods to the West Bank and exports to Israel entirely banned.
- The blockade left people reliant on tunnels from Egypt to bring in goods. The Egyptian government's closure of these tunnels in mid-2013 has severely worsened the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Massive fuel shortages have led to daily power cuts of 12-16 hours - leaving hospitals, schools and small businesses struggling to keep going, and water and sanitation systems often failing.
What Oxfam is doing in Gaza
Working with partners, our humanitarian and development work helps around 350,000 people in Gaza impoverished by the Israeli blockade.
We work with farmers and fishermen who are prevented from accessing their livelihoods, and support a hospital and mobile clinic to provide primary healthcare.
We supply safe water and sanitation, and run a food-voucher project that ensures families have enough to eat and supports the local economy.
We help local producers improve the quality of their produce and get it to market, and we help local civil society to advocate for their rights.
We call on all sides to immediately agree a ceasefire and respect international humanitarian law.
"Scary. Dangerous. Confusing." Arwa Mhanna describes how it feels to be in Gaza at the moment.
Updated 23 July 2014