Palestinians in Gaza are ‘locked in’, denied free access to the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory and the outside world. Movement restrictions imposed by Israel since the early 1990’s and intensified in June 2007, following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, have severely undermined the living conditions. The isolation of Gaza has been exacerbated by restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities on its single passengers crossing (Rafah), as well as by the internal Palestinian divide. The UN Secretary-General has found that the blockade and related restrictions contravene international humanitarian law as they target and impose hardship on the civilian population, effectively penalizing them for acts they have not committed. Major escalations of hostilities in the past years have resulted in extensive destruction and internal displacement.
Mass demonstrations along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza took place today, for the fourth consecutive Friday, as part of the ‘Great March of Return’ expected to continue up to 15 May. As of 19:00, four Palestinians, including one child, have been killed by Israeli forces during the events, and 729, including 45 children, have been injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. The MoH also indicated that 42 per cent of the injuries (305 people) have been hospitalized, including 156 people hit by live ammunition. With limited resources, health providers are struggling to deal with the massive influx of casualties and are in urgent need of additional support and funding.
The Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, today called for the protection of Palestinian demonstrators and for urgent funding to meet critical humanitarian needs that have been generated by the massive rise in Palestinian casualties in Gaza since 30 March
Flash update: As of 19:00 today, 13 April, one Palestinian has been killed and 969, including 67 children, have been injured by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. The MoH also indicated that of the total injuries, nearly one quarter (223 people) were hit by live ammunition, including 15 people currently in a critical condition.
Flash update: As of 20:00 today, 6 April, seven Palestinians have been killed and over 1,350 injured by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. The MoH reports that approximately 400 of the injuries were caused by live ammunition, of whom 25 are in critical condition. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reported that their teams handled 700 of the injured, including over 320 of the live ammunition injuries.
The hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups from 7 July to 26 August 2014 were the most devastating in the Gaza Strip since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967. In addition to the 1,460 Palestinian civilians killed, including 556 children,3 some 17,800 housing units were destroyed or severely damaged, causing approximately 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). Three and a half years after the ceasefire, more than 22,000 people (4,162 families) are still displaced (as of the end of February 2018).4 As highlighted below, many of them continue to live in precarious conditions with uncertainty regarding their immediate future.
In 1994, a permitted fishing range of 20 nautical miles (NM) was agreed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In practice, Israel only allowed fishing up to 12 NM until 2006, when the fishing zone was reduced to six and later to three NM. According to the Israeli authorities, “Hamas has established naval forces with significant military capabilities, as seen during operation “Protective Edge” when Hamas naval commando infiltrated Israel and were detected near an Israeli village. This situation required Israel to tighten its security restrictions at sea to prevent similar future attacks.”