Israel has imposed movement restrictions on the Gaza Strip since the early 1990’s. Restrictions intensified in June 2007, following the takeover of that part of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) by Hamas, when Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza, citing security concerns. Despite relaxation of some blockade-related restrictions in recent years, 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza remain ‘locked in’, denied free access to the remainder of the territory and the outside world. The blockade has undermined the living conditions in the coastal enclave and fragmented the oPt and its economic and social fabric. The isolation of Gaza has been exacerbated by restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities on Rafah, its single passengers crossing.
Mass demonstrations along Israel’s perimeter fence with the Gaza Strip took place today for the eleventh consecutive Friday, as part of the ‘Great March of Return’. As of 20:00, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, including one 15-year-old boy, and injured 618 demonstrators, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. 254 of the injuries were transferred to hospitals, including 117 due to live ammunition injuries, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. Eight are said to be in a critical condition. One Israeli soldier was also reportedly lightly injured. Today’s casualty toll was the highest since the demonstrations on 14 May, when over 60 Palestinians were killed and 2,000 injured, the highest casualty toll in the Gaza Strip in a single day since the 2014 hostilities. For cumulative casualty figures and breakdowns, as of 7 June, see the OCHA Snapshot.
The findings of a Household Expenditure and Consumption Survey, released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in May, show a significant increase in poverty rates in the Gaza Strip: from 38.8 per cent in 2011 (the previous time poverty was measured) to 53 per cent by the end of 2017, which is the equivalent to around 1.01 million people, including over 400,000 children.6 This means that poverty increased by more than 14 percentage points in a period of six years.
The ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza took place again today, with the number of demonstrators estimated at around 5,000, similar to the previous week. As of 20:30, Israeli forces have injured 109 demonstrators, of whom 54 were transferred to hospitals, including 23 due to live ammunition injuries, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza.
Mass demonstrations along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza took place again today for the seventh consecutive Friday, as part of the ‘Great March of Return’. As of 20:00, a Palestinian man was reported killed by Israeli forces, and, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, 973 people were injured, of whom 38 per cent required hospitalization; 176 of those injured were hit by live ammunition and 10 are reported to be in a critical condition.
The Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, today called for urgent support to meet the humanitarian needs of victims of violence in Gaza. “The situation in Gaza is devastating and the crisis is far from over,” said Mr. McGoldrick. “For every person killed and injured this week and those before, there is a family and a network of friends affected,” he continued. “For many, especially those who lost a loved one, who will now suffer a permanent disability or who will need intensive rehabilitation, the impacts of recent violence will be felt for months and years to come.”
Today, as of 20:00, two Palestinians were reported killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, and 417 injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH), during demonstrations near the perimeter fence. Although today’s protests were originally announced as the culmination of the ‘Great March of Return’ protests which began on 30 March, there are indications that the demonstrations may continue until 5 June.