A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
In June 2009 the blockade on the Gaza Strip enters its third year. The intense closure policy, coupled with the government of Israel’s recent military operation ‘Cast Lead’, has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of one and a half million Gazans, pushing them further into poverty and aid dependency.
Parties to the conflict and the international community have, to varying degrees, prioritised their own political objectives over people’s rights and needs, leaving Gazans sitting on the ruins of their homes. By attempting to isolate Hamas, the government of Israel and key international donor governments and institutions have in fact isolated the people of Gaza, thereby reducing chances of securing a peaceful, just and durable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The current situation cannot be allowed to persist. Israeli, Palestinian and world leaders must abide by their respective legal obligations to take concrete actions to end the collective punishment of Gazan civilians by securing the full and immediate opening of all the Gaza crossings.
Some topline recommendations from this paper:
To the government of Israel
- Fully lift the blockade on Gaza, in line with its international legal obligations.
To Palestinian actors
- Ensure a speedy agreement on reconciliation is reached in the short-term with a view to facilitating aid delivery and follow this by intensive talks to reach a long-term resolution.
To the international community
- Adhere to its international legal obligations to secure an end to the blockade, in particular by using the tools at its disposal to exert pressure on the government of Israel.
- Cease putting ‘political conditions’ on the delivery of assistance for the reconstruction of Gaza.