On June 20, 2010, following concerted international pressure, the Government of Israel announced a set of measures to ‘ease’ its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip.
This included: Publishing a list of items not permitted into Gaza and allowing all other items to enter; Expanding and accelerating the inflow of construction materials for international projects; Expanding operations at the crossings and opening more crossings as more processing capacity becomes necessary and security conditions allow; Streamlining entry/exit permits for medical and humanitarian reasons and for aid workers; Facilitating the movement of people in additional ways as conditions and security allow.
Many in the international community, including Quartet Representative Tony Blair, expressed hopes that this would lead to a major change and alleviate the plight of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza.
2 However, five months later, there are few signs of real improvement on the ground as the ‘ease’ has left foundations of the illegal blockade policy intact.
In order to have a positive impact on the daily lives of the 1.
5 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are children, Israel must fully lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
While the Government of Israel committed to expand and accelerate the inflow of construction materials for international projects, it has so far only approved 7 per cent of the building plan for UNRWA’s projects in Gaza, and of that 7 per cent only a small fraction of the necessary construction material has been allowed to enter for projects including schools and health centres.
3 In fact, the UN reports that Gaza requires 670,000 truckloads of construction material, while only an average of 715 of these truckloads have been received per month since the ‘easing’ was announced.
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