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    The Gaza war and the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip have grown increasingly stringent and are seen by some as a form of collective punishment. Fuel, electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out of the Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threatening problems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation. The blockade has subjected many of the 1.5 million people to unemployment, penury and malnutrition.

    Dr Salim Al Abadlah stands in the rubble of a church-supported health centre in Al Shija'ia, that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in January 2009. © Mika Hentunen/FCA-ACT International

    The Gaza war and the continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip have grown increasingly stringent and are seen by some as a form of collective punishment. Fuel, electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out of the Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threatening problems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation. The blockade has subjected many of the 1.5 million people to unemployment, penury and malnutrition.  

    This section of the PIEF website offers a selection of articles/reports/documents from various sources to highlight the severity of the situation and the imperative for urgent solutions.

    Resources in relation to Gaza

    B’Tselem issues human rights report on OPT with focus on Gaza covering the period 1 January 2009 to 30 April, 2010.The report begins with a focus on Gaza because the writers that "both chronologically and substantively, a review of human rights during this period must begin with Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. The extent of the harm to civilians in Gaza as well as in southern Israel, and the severity of the allegations regarding the conduct of Israel and Hamas dwarf many other human rights concerns. Absurdly,Israel’s decision to prevent imports and exports has encouraged the development of the tunnels economy between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, which is controlled by Hamas and increases its power. This report makes important reading even beyong Gaza and examine human righst situations in the West Bank too. Read more on the B'Tselem website

    International Humanitarian Law program – Diakonia-Sweden: A persistent question in any discourse on the Palestine-Israel conflict is about how international human rights law is practised and/or flaunted. Diakonia-Sweden has developed useful and important resources on the subject as an educational tool and a basis for intervention on questions of humanitarian law in the oPT. Read more on Diakonia-Sweden's website

    The Gaza Strip is a fact sheet related to the situation in Gaza following Operation Cast Lead. It is provided by Palestine Monitor, a group of Palestinian writers, commentators and activists committed to a Palestinian narrative and analysis of human rights abuses being carried out by the Israeli Government, and military, across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. It is recognized as a dynamic and independent voice of Palestinians living under occupation. Read more on the Palestine Monitor's website

    Gaza Health Fact Sheet is a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), West Bank and Gaza which highlights how “the Gaza Strip has been the setting of a protracted political and socio‐economic crisis leading to a severe deterioration of the already precarious living conditions of the people in Gaza and has further eroded a weakened health system”. Full text of the WHO's Gaza Health Fact Sheet

    A Letter from Palestinian and international non-governmental organizations addressed to the President of the Palestinian Authority calls for compliance to the Goldstone Report recommendations. It asks that the PA take ‘necessary domestic measures to investigate violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and, where appropriate, to hold accountable those who prove to have committed these violations and to prosecute and punish them as recommended by the Goldstone UN Fact Finding Mission during the Gaza War. Read more...

    Reports in relation to Gaza

    Failing Gaza - No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses – a report one year after Operation Cast Lead is jointly published by Amnesty International UK, Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), CAFOD (UK), CCFD Terre Solidaire (France), Christian Aid, Church of Sweden, Diakonia (Sweden), Finn Church Aid (Finland), Medical Aid for Palestinians, medico international (Germany), medico international schweiz (Switzerland), Mercy Corps, MS ActionAid Denmark, Oxfam International, Trocaire (Ireland), United Civilians for Peace (a coalition of Dutch organizations - Oxfam Novib, Cordaid, ICCO, and IKV Pax Christi).

    Full text of the report "Failing Gaza

    Further information on International Humanitarian Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

    The Goldstone report
    is the report issued by the Commission that was appointed by the UN and headed by the eminent jurist Judge Goldstone to analyze Israel’s "Operation Cast Lead" in Gaza (27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009). The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) has made the claim that if the recommendations of the Goldstone report were pursued, it would send a strong message to combatants in all conflicts that nations or groups cannot act with impunity. Read more about the Goldstone report

    Five years of blockade
    The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA) has prepared a fact sheet titled "FIVE YEARS OF BLOCKADE:THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN THE GAZA STRIP" as of June 2012. It is a more-than-useful resource for those who find access to Gaza difficult or impossible because of the blockade. Read more....

    Gaza in 2020- A liveable place?
    August 2012, has as its broad objectives to highlight the longer-term effects and implications of current developmental and social trends and challenges affecting the Gaza Strip; raise awareness of these both locally and internationally; and, inform the strategic programming of the UN in support of the Palestinian people. Read the full report...

    The scope of Israeli control in the Gaza Strip
    Published: 1 Jan 2011
    "In September 2005, Israel completed the "disengagement plan," which included the dismantling of all the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, the evacuation of their residents to Israeli territory, and the withdrawal of all Israeli army forces from the area. After the plan was completed, Israel issued an order declaring the end of the military government in the Gaza Strip. The changes following the disengagement resulted in some improvement in the ability of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to run their lives. Most importantly, they are now able to move about freely in most of the territory. However, Israel continues to hold decisive control over important elements of Palestinian life in the Gaza Strip." Read more...

    Gaza Decleration from the International Associatoin of Democratic Lawyers
    The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a non-governmental organization of progressive lawyers from all over the world with consultative status in Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), held its bureau meeting in Gaza, occupied Palestine from September 24th to 28th, 2012,

    The IADL met with the Palestinian Bar Association, the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), human rights organizations, women’s rights organizations, international organizations, Palestinian political factions, and government officials.. They held discussions with representatives of all political parties and affected individuals. Throughout these events and meetings, the IADL was able to gain first-hand information on the prevailing situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
    The struggle of the Palestinian people is a just struggle to which IADL commits its support.  Read more...

    The Effect of Chronic Stress on Birth Outcome and Infant Cognitive Development in the Gaza Strip

    Author(s): Kaminski, Naomi
    Date: 2011
    Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:15203

    The Gaza Strip has one of the highest population densities in the world, and is an area that has been under perpetual conflict since Israel's independence in 1948. Recently, since Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the area has been under siege, and has received only basic financial aid and humanitarian support. For this reason, standard of living for the already impoverished population has further decreased, while poverty and unemployment have increased, while hunger and malnutrition remain uncommon. The current distinctly severe state of crisis comes on top of a prolonged period of instability, violence and minimal economic growth essentially since 1948. It is expected that such a population would have a high prevalence of mental health disorders, and specifically high stress and trauma. Maternal stress and trauma are predicted to affect birth outcome, postnatal cognitive development and infant well-being. While there have been some studies that explored trauma in children and adults in Gaza, there are no studies on the effect of maternal and prenatal stress on infant development. The unique combination of widespread exposure to conflict, high fertility rate, relative access of the population to health care and lack of basic hunger and malnutrition compared to other conflict regions, make it a model population for the study of the impact of maternal stress on infant cognitive development. Our research will fill the gap in global health research regarding the nature of prenatal stress and mental health in the Gaza Strip and its effect on birth outcome and infant cognitive development. It will also create the foundation for development and delivery of targeted interventions aimed to ameliorate the damage while political solutions are being sought. In this study, we will address the hypothesis that high prenatal stress (ranging from chronic stress to extreme post-traumatic stress disorder) will have a detrimental effect on birth outcome and infant cognitive development up to age 3. The hypothesis is addressed through the following specific aims:

    a.) To determine the prevalence of chronic stress and mental health disorders in pregnant women from Gaza.

    b.) To assess the effect of chronic prenatal stress on birth outcome and infant cognitive development. Factors that will be considered that may alleviate this effect will be income level, level of social support, and access to health care.

    c.) To evaluate the effect of varying degrees of severity of chronic maternal stress on the attachment style of the infant. Completion of these specific aims will greatly enhance our understanding of impairments in infant development frequently observed in areas of conflict, and will allow for the design of new and effective interventions aimed to protect infant health in areas of sociopolitical conflict and will thus lea

    Full PDF form can be found
    Source: http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:154437

    The Water Crisis in Gaza
    Alice Gray
    "The political rhetoric and frequent violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict often serve to mask underlying environmental issues which, if not resolved, may pose an even greater threat to the well-being of the Palestinian population than the guns and bombs of the military occupation.

    Environmental degradation threatens to undermine the viability of any future Palestinian state and create conditions that will make life in many parts of the Palestinian Territories impossible. Many environmental problems are accelerated and exacerbated by occupation practices, which prevent effective environmental management. This problem is particularly acute in Gaza in relation to the water resources and the ongoing military conflict. The roots of Gaza’s water problem lie in the over-population of the area, due to a high influx of refugees in 1948, when approximately 200,000 people fled to Gaza from the Jaffa and Beersheva areas of what is now Israel, following Israel’s War of Independence. The original population of the Gaza Strip at that time was 80,000 people, thus this represented an increase of some 250%. Today, over three quarters of the estimated Gazan population of 1.4 million are registered refugees."
    Source: http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/302

    Gaza Initial Rapid Assessment
    From OCHA, we now have a report which is a compilation of  preliminary findings of the Multi-Agency Initial Rapid Assessment of Gaza Conducted November 24 – 26. The report covers issues of displacement vis-a-vis destroyed/damaged housing units, explosive remnants of war, damage to Water and Sanitation Facilities,education, psycho-social, education, health, and food. The report is a ‘first look’ at potential and real humanitarian impacts. Further studies will establish more accurate figures related to the humanitarian impact of the hostilities.
    Source: http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/gaza_initial_rapid_assessment_report_nov_2012_eng.pdf

    Video: Where Should the Birds Fly?
    Where Should the Birds Fly? is a powerful new film about Gaza by Palestinian filmmaker Fida Qishta. It is the moving story of two young Palestinian women struggling for normalcy in the cruel abnormality of Gaza. This story reveals the resilience of the human spirit, as the farmers, fisherman, merchants, school children, teachers, and medical workers find ways to snatch a semblance of normality from this insanity. But what happens when the abnormal becomes normal? What happens when children grow up among the rubble of their homes and cities, when they face the future as orphans colored by the memory of their parents’ violent deaths?
    Source: http://palestinechronicle.com/where-should-the-birds-fly/

    Gaza's Tunnel Phenomenon: The Unintended Dynamics of Israel's Siege
    This article traces the extraordinary development of Gaza’s tunnel phenomenon over the past decade in response to Israel’s economic asphyxiation of the small coastal enclave. It focuses on the period since Hamas’s 2007 takeover of the Strip, which saw the industry’s transformation from a clandestine, makeshift operation into a major commercial enterprise, regulated, taxed, and bureaucratized. In addition to describing the particulars of the tunnel complex, the article explores its impact on Gaza’s socioeconomic hierarchy, strategic orientation, and Islamist rule. The larger geopolitical context, especially with regard to Israel, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Nile Valley, is also discussed. The author argues that contrary to the intentions of its architects, the siege precipitated the reconfiguration of Gaza’s economy and enabled its rulers to circumvent the worst effects of the blockade.
    Source: http://palestine-studies.org/journals.aspx?id=11424&jid=1&href=fulltext

    Gaza church attacked
    A church affiliated to the Latin Patriarch in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City was attacked last week. Initial reports from Gaza police are that indicate that the blast may have emanated from a homemade explosive device. Police also found "inappropriate" graffiti on a wall inside the courtyard. Fortunately, there were no casualties or damage. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Thursday denounced the attack and urged the Gaza government to "seriously investigate the shameful crime." It also called on civil society organizations to reject the crime. According to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, around 1,550 Christians live among the 1.5 million, predominantly Muslim, residents of the Gaza Strip.
    Source: Palestinian centre for Human Rights

    EU Heads of Missions’ report on Gaza 2013 The annual mission report, which is written by all the heads of diplomatic missions of EU member states is strongly worded about the current situation in the Gaza Strip.



    Oxfam's appraisal of humanitarian crisis
    After six years of Israeli blockade, 1.7 million Palestinians continue to be trapped in the Gaza Strip, largely cut off from the outside world. One year since the ceasefire between the Government of Israel and Hamas, the promised economic improvements for people in Gaza have failed to materialize.

    Although the last 12 months have been the quietest in 10 years in terms of safety, violations continue. At the same time, the commitment to facilitate the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza remains unfulfilled.

    Source: http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/gaza


    Human Rights defenders condemn grave violations of human rights in Gaza
    Human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals denounced “the grave violations, mystification and disrespect of the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.” They also condemned “the launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip, as every indiscriminate attack against civilians, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators” is both illegal and “morally intolerable.” They noted, however, that the two parties to the conflict cannot be considered equal, and their actions – once again – appear to be of incomparable magnitude…”

    Source: http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/joint-declaration-by-international-law-experts-on-israels-gaza-offensive/


    One child killed in Gaza every hour
    One child has been killed in Gaza every hour after July 20, says a report from the United Nations. More children have been killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” than militants, according to the most recent U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report.

    Source: http://www.ochaopt.org/content.aspx?id=1010361


    Israeli forces displayed ‘callous indifference’ in deadly attacks on family homes in Gaza

    Source :


    ‘Nothing is immune’: Israel’s destruction of landmark buildings in Gaza
    In the last four days of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli army launched four attacks that totally destroyed multi-storey landmark buildings in Gaza. While no one was killed, the attacks are of great significance because they are examples of what appears to have been deliberate destruction and targeting of civilian buildings and property on a large scale, carried out without military necessity. This briefing focuses exclusively on these attacks and considers whether they were militarily justified. It concludes that the destruction was extensive and appeared to have been wanton and not justified by military necessity.

    Source : http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/029/2014/en?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+imeu+%28IMEU+%3A+Institute+for+Middle+East+Understanding%29




    A delegation of international medical experts who visited the Gaza during the crisis discovered the failure of the warning mechanisms, the absence of escape routes, the collapse of the mechanism for evacuating the wounded, and strikes against rescue teams increased the number of civilian casualties

    “No Safe Place”, is a report on the events of Operation Protective Edge, written by eight renowned international medical experts.

    Source: https://gazahealthattack.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/gazareport_eng.pdf


    The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014,B'Tselem report
    A report published Wednesday by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem laid the blame for civilian deaths in the summer 2014 Gaza military campaign on the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    "These attacks… are the result of a policy formulated by government officials and the senior military command," the report, published on the organization's website, said. The B'Tselem Israeli Information Center for Human Rights surveyed 70 incidents during the conflict and uncovered over 600 civilian deaths. All but 200 of the dead were found to be either minors or the elderly.

    Source: http://www.btselem.org/download/201501_black_flag_eng.pdf



    Report accuses Israel of targeting Gaza’s water facilities
    A little-publicized report released during the final weeks of Israel’s summer offensive on the Gaza Strip last year accuses Israel of targeting water and wastewater infrastructure during the 51-day assault, despite having been provided the coordinates of all water and wastewater facilities.

    Position paper on EU policy for the Gaza Strip
    In March 2014, a EU policy on the Gaza strip was evolved. It unequivocally stated  that the situation in the Gaza Strip is precarious and needs intervention.  It asserts that « the long-lasting Israeli policy of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank deeply affects any solution for a Palestinian state. » It affirms that «  Protests are no longer sufficient, clear demands must be requested by the European Authorities and Parliament to the Israel government, sanctions must be taken if these demands are not fulfilled.

    Source: http://www.eccpalestine.org/position-paper-on-eu-policy-for-the-gaza-strip/


    Dancing in the Rubble: Breakdancers Offer Hope as Gaza Struggles to Rebuild
    It's been nearly six months since the end of the latest war in Gaza, but the devastation left behind makes it seem as though the last bombs dropped only yesterday. Psychologically, too, Gazans are still shell-shocked and traumatized by a conflict that killed some 2,192 people — mostly civilians, and many children — and destroyed more than 96,000 homes in less than two months. The fact that this was the third conflict in a span of six years made it all harder, not easier.
    Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014.

    Months since the end of Israel’s most recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, B’Tselem received reports of entire families being bombed in their own homes. One report succeeded another, and yet another. Field researchers in the Gaza Strip met with survivors and sent the material they had gathered: witness accounts, photographs, death certificates and other documents. These were meticulously examined each item, cross-checking and corroborating all data. All this is documented in the report Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014.
    Source: http://www.btselem.org/download/201501_black_flag_eng.pdf

    UN report is a reminder: Over 1.5 million people live in the Gaza Strip. It is not a battlefield

    The UN report on the 2014 Gaza conflict rejects Israeli government and military officials’ view of what is permissible in combat in densely populated areas. The UN commission’s premise differs from that of these officials, seeing Gaza as the home of over 1.5 million civilians where combat took place, not as a battlefield on which civilians live. The report states that the immense harm to civilians during the fighting cannot be justified nor can IHL be interpreted so as to legalize it, even considering the modus operandi of Hamas and other armed groups. The commission also found that the responsibility for violating IHL rests with the senior political and military officials who drew up the policy and did not change it even when its lethal consequences became clear.

    Operation Protective Edge: A war waged on Gaza's children

    Defense for Children International Palestine released a report, Operation Protective Edge: A War Waged on Children, detailing the high price paid by children during Israel’s assault on Gaza last summer.

    Operation Protective Edge, which lasted 50 days between July 8 and August 26, claimed the lives of 2,220 Palestinians, including at least 1,492 civilians. DCI-Palestine independently verified the deaths of 547 Palestinian children among the killed in Gaza, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Nearly 68 percent of the children killed by Israeli forces were 12 years old or younger.

    DCIP’s investigation into all Palestinian child fatalities during Operation Protective Edge found overwhelming and repeated evidence that Israeli forces committed grave violations against children amounting to war crimes. This included direct targeting of children by Israeli drone-fired missiles and attacks carried out against schools.

    There was no safe place for children in Gaza during the Israeli assault. Children were killed in their homes by Israeli missiles, while sheltering in schools by high-explosive Israeli artillery shells, and in the streets by Israeli drone-fired missiles and artillery shells as they attempted to escape the onslaught with their families.
    See report in the DCI-Palestine website

    Source: http://www.dci-palestine.org/operation_protective_edge_a_war_waged_on_gaza_s_children


    “This is how we fought in Gaza”

    For candid insights into the 2014 Gaza war, read this revealing 214-page report which contains testimonies and photographs of Israeli soldiers from “Operation Protective Edge ̋ (2014)

    Source: http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/pdf/ProtectiveEdge.pdf


    Pax Christi International joins call to world leaders to lift Gaza blockade

    More than 150,000 people from around the globe have today joined 35 aid, faith, development and human rights organizations in backing an unprecedented joint call urging world leaders to press the Israeli government to lift the blockade.


    Gaza could soon become uninhabitable, UN report predicts

    Yes, the damage is hard to watch and a new UN report says that Gaza will be uninhabitable soon. But we can't forget 1.8 million people living in Gaza and we can't let our representatives in Washington forget either. Rebuild Gaza.

    Gaza: A life under occupation
    In July 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that Israel would withdraw from the occupied Gaza Strip. Israeli settlers living in settler-colonies in the Gaza Strip would also be forcibly removed by August 15, 2005.

    Ten years later, Israel, with Egypt's aid, effectively maintains an occupation of the Gaza Strip, through an absolute land siege and naval blockade. This means that despite Israel's withdrawal 10 years ago, the Gaza Strip has remained occupied since 1948, when Egypt took administrative control over the territory following the Zionist expansion across Palestine and the founding of Israel. Decades later, Palestinians have yet to fully realize their nationalist aspirations.


    Gaza's crumbling healthcare system

    With hospitals falling apart in the besieged territory, doctors cite a desperate need for funds and equipment.
    The frailties of Gaza's health sector are deep and diverse. One year ago, maintenance and cleaning companies went on strike after failing to receive their salaries, and the ensuing financial crunch forced hospitals to stop serving patients' meals. Charity organisations stepped in to help fill the void.



    Q&A: Confronting trauma in Gaza City

    Al Jazeera spoke to psychologist Hasan Zeyada about the rise in mental health issues among Gazans since the summer war.


    Unearthing Gaza’s history

    In a report from Middle east Monitor: "Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City has been the focus of excavation works by the Ministry of Endowments to unearth ruins dating back to the Byzantine era. The 1,500 year old remains include crowns, columns and a cross, which indicates there may have been a church on the site. The city centre may have been the location of many churches from the Byzantine era: "They are ruins and not standing remnants, and this might be owed to an earthquake hitting the Gaza Strip, or the abandonment of these churches."

    See images in The Middle East Monitor report


    Israel blocks construction of 50 schools in besieged Gaza

    Israel has blocked the construction of over 50 schools in Gaza through obstructions of various kinds. Gaza schools suffer from overcrowding and the need to build new schools is dire.

    Read more at: http://english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=77782


    Israel’s military offensives and siege force Gaza children to work

    "Around half of Gaza’s 1.9 million inhabitants live beneath the poverty line, with 80 per cent surviving on humanitarian aid, according to the latest statistics quoted by AFP. Unemployment has risen dramatically to 45 per cent – one of the highest rates in the world – forcing many children to become family bread-winners.

    "Thousands of children in Gaza have been orphaned by the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip over the years. After the Israeli offensive in 2014, the UN estimated that all of Gaza’s 900,000 children had been traumatised by the violence and are in need of psycho-social support."

    Read more at : https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160611-israels-military-offensives-and-siege-force-gaza-children-to-work/