Crisis in Gaza in depth

A number of factors, including the suspension of international aid to the Palestinian Authority, the closure of the occupied Palestinian territories by Israel, the continued rocket attacks against Israel and increasingly bitter fighting between Palestinian factions have led to worrying deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the West Bank.

With many Palestinians unable to work as a result of the closures, 57 per cent of Palestinians are now living in poverty. According to the UN, that figure rises to 79 per cent in Gaza.

Starved of funds and fuel, health services are approaching meltdown. The population is increasingly dependent on food aid and the incidence of chronic malnutrition and dietary-related diseases, especially among children, is increasing.

Oxfam works with partner organizations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable people, in particular the disabled.

Oxfam partners run primary health clinics and mobile clinics, which play an important role in identifying health problems among children. We are also installing water tanks and engaging with kindergartens to distribute hygiene kits and promote good health and hygiene practices.

We are also working with impoverished families, especially farmers, to help them to provide food for their families and to make an income.

A crucial element of our work is to lobby donor governments to resume international aid to the Palestinian Authority to allow it to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation. In April 2006, key donors including the USA, EU and Canada suspended aid following Hamas’s victory in parliamentary elections.

Similarly, we are asking Israel to resume the transfer of tax and customs revenues it collects on behalf of the PA, as well as fuel supplies which have massive impact on essential services such as hospitals and water treatment plants.

Oxfam continues to call for a cessation of violence from both sides, which prevents the proper provision of humanitarian access to civilians.