For five years, the 1.6 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been living under a blockade imposed on security grounds by the government of Israel in violation of international law. This was in response to sporadic rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel by armed groups.
After a marked increase in violence on both sides in recent weeks, violence has escalated rapidly. The current ceasefire must hold. The violence over the last few weeks has been devastating for people in Gaza and Israel,and civilian lives are at stake.
What Oxfam is doing
We have been working in Gaza for over 15 years. Our work in Gaza together with our partners includes:
- Building sustainable livelihoods for families through income generating projects;
- Supporting economic empowerment and participation of women;
- Improving water quality and public health in vulnerable neighborhoods;
- Helping farmers to increase productivity through land reclamation.
Besides supporting Palestinians in Gaza to cope with the poverty they currently experience, we are committed to helping find ways to end the blockade and occupation so that people can live with dignity with their rights upheld.
To this end, we continue to raise concerns with decision-makers and the wider public about the need for a lasting peace settlement, starting with an end to violence by all parties.
Oxfam Media Advisory on Gaza/Israel Crisis (pdf, 21 Nov 2012) - more detail on our work with partners in Gaza and Israel who are available for interviews/visits
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose mandate is to impartially safeguard the application of international humanitarian law: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.”
Because of the blockade on Gaza, people are sealed in to a small strip of land and unable to flee. Our partners working in Gaza have stressed that it is not safe to move around in Gaza right now, and we are growing increasingly concerned about the ability of people to find safe shelter, stock up on food, or seek first aid and medical care.
The blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy, restricted freedom of movement, and has had severe negative impacts on the ability of ordinary people to access the essential services they need. The blockade is also increasing fragmentation and disrupting economic, social, and political ties between Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.
The government of Israel needs to facilitate a consistent opening of the crossing to allow in essential humanitarian goods so we can keep helping people in need.
Reconciliation between Palestinian factions is urgently needed, but what Gaza needs more than anything else is long-term sustainable development.
Read the report: On the Brink: Israeli settlements and their impact on Palestinians in the Jordan Valley (July 2012)
Dream On: 5 Years Lost: Case studies looking back at life under blockade (June 2012, pdf 629kb)
5 Fallacies in Gaza: The facts of life 5 years in to the blockade (June 2012, pdf 423kb)
Oxfam Gaza Blockade Factsheet: The Big Uneasy: Israel’s easing of the Gaza land, air and sea blockade: promises and realities (8 December 2011, pdf 207kb)
Updated 22 November 2012