Oxfam today warned that prolonged closure of crossings into Gaza could cut Palestinians off from essential goods such as fuel and food, threatening to further deteriorate what is already a dire humanitarian situation.
Israel’s 10-year blockade of Gaza has caused infrastructure and services to collapse, provoking a humanitarian crisis for nearly two million people, mostly refugees, who have been effectively trapped inside.
Some forty percent of Gaza's population struggle to get enough to eat. Unemployment is over forty percent and over 23,500 people have been displaced from their homes due to the aftermath of the last war in 2014.
Chris Eijkemans, Oxfam’s country director for the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, said: “The vital Karem Shalom crossing, one of the only entry points for goods in and out of Gaza, was damaged three days ago and is now closed or opening for limited goods. If this continues, this could spark a further fuel shortage which would hit agricultural irrigation. Oxfam is working to rehabilitate a number of irrigation wells in Gaza but we don’t have a Plan B at this stage. The knock-on inflation on food prices would hit poor families hard and quickly.”
Any sudden fuel shortage would also hit Gaza’s vital desalination plants which ninety percent of the people of Gaza depend on.
Eijkemans said: "Oxfam condemns the killings of at least 58 demonstrators in Gaza. The international community must take strong and urgent action to end the violence and ensure restraint from all sides. The killings should be investigated – independently and immediately – for any breach of international law and those found guilty be brought to justice. "
Oxfam is currently helping 258,000 people in Gaza providing food and vital water and sanitation.