Gaza has been under an illegal siege since January 2006, after its residents elected one of the biggest political Palestinian parties, the Islamic Resistance movement Hamas. This angered the US and Israel. Once Hamas began to form a Palestinian government, Israel began its illegal blockade to punish the residents of Gaza for electing a leadership that the Israeli occupation and allies disapproved of.
Israel controls the airspace, waters, and borders of Gaza (with the exception of the land-border with Egypt – Rafah). Israel controls the electrical and sewage infrastructure of Gaza, and how much food, fuel and other supplies can arrive and leave, giving it almost total control over the economy. Palestinians in Gaza do not have the freedom to leave at will, to visit relatives in the West Bank, or get adequate health care.
Over 2 million Palestinians are crammed into 140 square miles, making it one of the most crowded places on earth. David Cameron once referred to Gaza as a “prison camp” and “some sort of open-air prison”.
- Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza in free and fair democratic elections.
- Hamas is the largest political party in Palestine, with 66% of seats in the Palestinian Parliament.
- Hamas has recently formed a Unity Government with the Palestinian Authority.
- The siege is considered illegal under international humanitarian law.
- In 2008, Israeli defence officials in charge of restricting food and supplies from entering Gaza went so far “as to calculate how many calories would be needed to avert a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished Palestinian territory.”
- Basic supplies and medicine are restricted, while safe drinking water is scarce. Some 10% of children under five in the Gaza Strip have had their growth stunted due to prolonged exposure to malnutrition.
- Unemployment rate in Gaza is 28%, with 58% of young people aged between 20 and 24 unemployed.
- 80% of households in the Strip receive some form of financial assistance and 39% of people live below the poverty line according to the UN.
- In December 2008, Israel launched a war against the besieged Strip [Operation Cast Lead] in which over 1400 Palestinians were killed, over 5000 injured, and over 4000 homes destroyed.
- In November 2012, Israel launched another offensive against besieged Gaza [Operation Pillar of Defense] in which over 150 were killed and nearly 1000 injured.
- Israel launched its third, and deadliest, war against Gaza in July 2014 [Operation Protective Edge] where over 2000 Palestinians were killed (including 519 children), and over 11,000 injured.
- The majority of fatalities were civilians, including large numbers of women and children.
- Targeting civilians is a war crime and contrary to international law.
- All onsloughts have been one-sided by one of the most advanced militaries in the world with the full backing, and weaponry, of the US.
- The US gives Israel over $3 billion a year in military aid.
- Israel is waging a war against the Palestinian people’s will to resist, but no military might will break the will of a people to resist in order to live in freedom and dignity.
- The siege is imposed on Gaza by both Israel and Egypt.
- Palestinians have the right under international law to resist occupation, ethnic cleansing, colonisation, aggression, and annexation.
- Many non-governmental organisations have been working hard to raise awareness of the situation in Gaza, and have endeavoured to break the siege by land and sea. “The goal is to challenge the ongoing, illegal Israeli blockade and focus worldwide attention on the situation in Gaza and the complicity of the governments that support it or look the other way,” said one of the organisations.
1- Gaza siege
5- Gaza siege