On Wednesday, 19 February 2014, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a report detailing effects of the Israeli closure on the human rights of the population of the Gaza Strip.
The closure of Gaza poses serious challenges to the efforts to ensure respect and protection of human rights.
The report describes the challenges to the basic human rights; including inter alia the right to health, education, adequate housing, and freedom of movement.
It also discusses the effects of the Israeli closure policy, which also includes a naval blockade and imposing restricted access areas, on the fragile economic conditions in the Gaza Strip.
The report captures developments affecting the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip; including the closures of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt and the demolition of most of the underground smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt– once the lifeline of the Gaza population under Israel’s closure of the crossing points for trade and people movement.
These developments have a serious impact for current and future conditions within the context of a stifling closure of Gaza by Israel.
The Israeli closure of Gaza severely restricted movement and access of people and goods, including construction materials, for which, rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, first aid centers, water and waste infrastructure was severely impacted.
It put the housing and construction sectors under severe pressure; rendering re-housing displaced people impossible and damaging the economy.
The report presents some of the violations to the right to health of the population due to the Israeli closure that obstructs entry of medicine and medical equipment as well as the free access of people to adequate healthcare outside of Gaza.
The Israeli closure also contributed to the recent and current fuel and electricity crisis in Gaza, and in the deterioration of living conditions in Gaza overall.
Effects of the Israeli closure can be seen in employment and poverty levels which have continued to rise in 2013 and 2014.
The report concludes with the following recommendations and calls on: The international community to uphold its legal and moral obligations by promptly intervening to ensure the full lifting of the Israeli closure and ensure that Gaza Strip is provided with its basic needs and its population had uninterrupted access to basic goods; especially those available in the occupied West Bank; The International Community to exert pressure on Israel to respect its obligations, as an occupying power, to ensure the welfare of the civilian population of Gaza Strip; The international community to condemn the unlawful collective punishment of the population of Gaza and bring it to an end.
Israel must allow for freedom of movement for people and goods including construction materials, electricity supplies, medicines and medical equipment; also to ensure the availability of necessary materials for the water and education sectors; The Palestinian parties to end the internal political split and to reach an agreement with the Egyptian side to maintain an open Rafah crossing, ensuring freedom of movement and access, in accordance with international law.
Link to report (Arabic)