News24

Gaza enters 5th year of Israeli blockade

2011-06-14 10:01

Jerusalem - The Gaza Strip enters its fifth year of a full Israeli blockade by land, air and sea on Tuesday with unemployment at 45.2%, one of the highest rates in the world, a UN aid agency report said.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) found that by the second half of 2010, real wages had fallen 34.5% since the first half of 2006, when sanctions were imposed by Israel after Hamas, an Islamist group that now rules the Gaza Strip, won a Palestinian legislative election.

The UN says the full-on blockade began a year later.

"These are disturbing trends," said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness, "and the refugees, who make up two-thirds of Gaza's 1.5 million population, were the worst hit".

Densely populated Gaza has a population of more than 1.5 million, mostly spread along the 40km coast of the Mediterranean enclave between Israel and Egypt.

"It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution," Gunness said.

No airport, seaport


Israel continues to blockade Gaza, controlling the flow of imports and tightly restricting access to Israeli territory mainly to urgent humanitarian cases, to prevent Hamas militants who are supported by Iran and Syria from obtaining weapons, explosives and ammunition.

It partly relaxed its grip a year ago in response to international pressure, allowing in more trade goods and expanding the secure logistics hub at Kerem Shalom crossing to a potential 400 truckloads of goods per day.

UNRWA provides food staples and schools for Gaza's refugee population. The enclave has no airport or seaport for freight.

The UN has recently asked countries to dissuade those pro-Palestinian groups with plans to break the blockade by sea in so-called "international humanitarian aid" flotillas that Israel says are simply politically motivated provocations.

Gaza's pressure cooker atmosphere has been relieved since the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak this year and a change in policy by Cairo, a party to the blockade with Israel, which now opens the southern border crossing at Rafah daily for civilian traffic, though not for trade.

But UNRWA reports that Gaza's working-age population (those over 15-years-old) is estimated to have grown by 2% in the second half of 2010 from the first half, increasing the demand for jobs that do not exist in its broken economy.

Deadlock


This month marks another anniversary for Gaza: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was seized by Hamas in a cross-border raid into Israel near Kerem Shalom on June 25 2006.

He has been held at an unknown location for five years, despite intermittent negotiations in secret to swap him for hundreds of Palestinians serving sentences in Israeli prisons.

The release of Shalit, who will be 25-years-old later this year, has become a political cause celebre in Israel. The permanent vigil kept by family and supporters near the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a frequent stop for visiting foreign dignitaries.

The elusive deal to free Shalit has stumbled on Israel's reported refusal to release certain Palestinians - those imprisoned for involvement in lethal attacks on Israeli civilians.

While freedom for Shalit would probably ease tensions between Israel and Hamas somewhat, it would have little effect on the unchanged rationale for Israel's blockade.

The Islamist group Hamas refuses to recognise the Jewish state or renounce violence and is shunned in the West as a terror organisation. Netanyahu has said no country could be expected to negotiate peace with Hamas under such conditions.


Comments
  • battle4truth - 2011-06-14 10:20

    Gaza borders on both Israel and Egypt. Egypt has now recently opened the crossing into it's country from Gaza, allowing free flow of goods. Therefore Egypt should also be held responsible for the so called blockade. Also take note, and think about what I'm about to say "THE PLO including HAMAS, is the single most richest beneficiary organization in the world, as was with ARAFAT, they stink of the money flooding their covers." This money is never seen by the people suffering in Gaza (they are used for military build up alone), the suffering is caused by the Arab world, because they are using the gaza people as a politcal pawn to destroy the ONLY JEWISH STATE, amongst all the Muslim countries. Check the History books, a peace deal was struck down each and every time by the PLO, because it's not peace they seek, but the destruction of Israel.

      Valis - 2011-06-14 10:29

      Wow, you have been heavily brainwashed if you really believe the nonsense you are spouting! Where do you get this rubbish from, Fox News? If you read the leaked Wikileaks cables you will see it is ISRAEL refusing and blocking any peace deals. Israel DOES NOT want a peaceful settlement because it would mean giving up all the Palestinian land they stole. Also, the PLO and Hamas are polar opposites and enemies, not in collusion like you are lying about here. Good grief, what a bunch of lies you are spouting. You really should change your screen name, as it is a complete misnomer.

      pop101 - 2011-06-14 10:36

      Valis, I read and re-read battles post. Can't see much wrong with it. I think you read what you want to read....maybe a bit blinded by your hatred for Israel?

      Mister A - 2011-06-14 11:05

      @valis - Sorry mate but you are clearly uninformed when it comes to the Israel/Palestine situation. Please go read up a little more on it. There are no factual inaccuracies in battle4truths statement.

      aaron - 2011-06-15 13:56

      yes, Isreal shouls\d be destroyed. Why not. it is a racist state based on the zionist ideology that jews are Gods chosen people. it is the same as the nazi ideology which is why they could not co-exist.

  • Arno Young - 2011-06-14 10:51

    Should read: Gaza enters 5th year of Terrorist rule. "It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution," Gunness said. -- And to think of it, Hamas only needs to recognize Israel, and then they will stop the suffering they are causing their own people.

      Paco7 - 2011-06-14 11:06

      Arno u sound like a 12 year old,shouldn't u be at school or something.Innocent people are being killed everyday by Israeli soldiers and it's not about recognition it is a religiuos war

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-14 13:39

      Paco7 - Innocent people firing missiles and hiding behind the civilian population? If Israel wanted to they could wipe out all the arabs in the region - if the arabs had the same capability to wipe of the israelis they would do so by now! Thats their way - violence - its in the koran : "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:01

      infedels = a person who doesnt believe in GOD, in fact the crusades used that term to describe Muslims...in fact, they couldnt even establish the difference between Arab-christians, jews and Muslsim, that they mass murdered them all. unfortunately we Muslims believe in God so that term is incorrect... please show me where infedels = christians and jews?... so making sense of what you are actually saying, is that if you DO NOT defend and fight against people who DO NOT believe in GOD, then your home will be in heaven.

  • kubs - 2011-06-14 10:55

    Are there really people out there who still defend Israel?..how much more proof do u need?..Israel is evil, landgrabbers ..plain and simple..

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 11:10

      @kubs - Yes, there are plenty. You see Israel as evil land grabbers, while the state of Israel was founded on an agreement. It is the Muslim hatred of Jews and the rejection of Israel as a state that cause the problems.

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 13:16

      @ Kubs: What irritates me about people like you is that you have plenty to say about Israel but you can't be bothered to criticize Muslims in Sudan who REALLY are committing genocide. Today on News24 there is such an article. Where are YOUR comments??? See http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Ethnic-cleansing-of-Nuba-people-in-Sudan-20110614 By the way, there are 2 sides to the Israel/Palestine story and plenty of rationale for what Israel is doing there. Do you see the same problems in the West Bank? No. That is because Fatah is not trying every day to kill Israeli civilians with missiles, and does not have a charter calling for the murder of all Jews in Israel. Hamas needs to take responsibility for its actions instead of playing the victim.

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-14 13:43

      kubs - go read the koran - Israel didnt grab any land - Arabs STARTED the war and LOST - when you lose a war you lose land! Which part of that dont u understand? If Israel lost the war would you expect the arabs to give back the land? "Slay them wherever you find them...Idolatry is worse than carnage...Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme." (Surah 2:190-)

      kubs - 2011-06-14 14:09

      GonnyvonYuristein..Israel only won the war cos they wer supported by the US..give the palestinians 250 warplanes and the latest weoponry and then lets see who wins..

      pop101 - 2011-06-14 14:17

      "Israel only won the war cos they wer supported by the US" So what, the record shows they lost. By the way, despite a larger air force posted by Egypt, Iran, Syria et al combined during the 6 day war, Israel still rose as victors through quick decisive precision strikes. It's amazing what can be achieved when you and your whole nations existence depends on it.

      pop101 - 2011-06-14 14:19

      *they being Israels Arab neigbours

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-14 15:52

      kubs - if arabs/muslims stop worrying so much about religion and abusing their women - instead used their intellect to advance themselves they would be able to develop their own weapons just like Israel. Palesntinians have the rich oil muslim countries supporting them - why dont these countries buy them planes? You know why? Cos they palestinians are too dumb and backward to fly them- they more concerned about memorising the koran - firing missiles and blowing themselves up than educating themselves and progressing.

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:06

      @ GonnyVonYuri: so you finally expose yourself as being an IDOL WORSHIPPER!

  • Mister A - 2011-06-14 11:04

    'The Islamist group Hamas refuses to recognise the Jewish state or renounce violence and is shunned in the West as a terror organisation' Says it all really. Until the Palestinian people realise this they will continue to live a life of misery at their own people's hands. In SA its the same - communities keep re-relecting the ANC only to strike about it later. Sorry but no more sympathy for that lot. Live with your choices.

  • Neo - 2011-06-14 11:09

    No matter what anyone says, this is ethnic cleansing and land grabbing. No other country in the world has broken or not complied to more UN resolutions than Israel. I am not an anti semetic, but for how long is the world going to turn a blind eye to this? See the truth for what it is!!!

      pop101 - 2011-06-14 12:31

      "No matter what anyone says"....well that sums it up. No matter what anyone says, you are not going to see the other side of the coin. Sad really, that is exactly the problem in the middle east.

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 13:15

      I know of countries that are actually REALLY guilty of ethnic cleansing and land grabbing. It's a pity that so many people actually don't see it and blame Israel instead.

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 13:16

      @ Neo: What irritates me about people like you is that you have plenty to say about Israel but you can't be bothered to criticize Muslims in Sudan who REALLY are committing genocide. Today on News24 there is such an article. Where are YOUR comments??? See http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Ethnic-cleansing-of-Nuba-people-in-Sudan-20110614 By the way, there are 2 sides to the Israel/Palestine story and plenty of rationale for what Israel is doing there. Do you see the same problems in the West Bank? No. That is because Fatah is not trying every day to kill Israeli civilians with missiles, and does not have a charter calling for the murder of all Jews in Israel. Hamas needs to take responsibility for its actions instead of playing the victim.

      GTFO - 2011-06-14 16:18

      neo. follow the white rabbit. knock knock

  • kubs - 2011-06-14 12:48

    Desmond Tutu,Mandela, The UN..Mel Gibson even..all these peopel cant be wrong can they?..Israel is pure EVIL

      pop101 - 2011-06-14 12:54

      Is that your reason...seriously. Because these people say so, it must be true!

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 13:18

      Mel Gibson? Seriously???

      kubs - 2011-06-14 13:34

      Yes Lex Lutherstein..google it

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 14:45

      Well, Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic anyway, so no wonder.

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 14:48

      Mel Gibson shares two qualities with many Muslims, he is misogynist and anti-Semitic.

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-14 15:54

      kubs - the UN??? The UN proposed to give both countries an independent state in 1947 - the Jews agreed to PEACE - the muslims chose WAR (which is instilled in the koran) - and look at the, today - they are a backward nation who cannot even purify their own water - look at israel today - its the world leader in water purification in a country that has no pure water!

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:23

      not only those people Kubs, but educated Jewish Rabbi's aswell: http://www.nkusa.org/ and even holocaust survivors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSlFR541Uoo here is how the Zionist puppet masters pull strings of the their "own" people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF3-YqZkoMs Zionist supporters need to catch a wakeup, the Jewish religion has been hijacked, heres the evidence: http://www.nkusa.org/Historical_Documents/Herzl_quotes.cfm

  • kubs - 2011-06-14 13:06

    Israel has pioneered the science of making life unlivable with as little violence as possible..They include deliberately messy surgical strikes, halting ambulances, uprooting orchards and olive groves, destroying urban sanitation, curfews, road closures, holding up food until it spoils, allocating five times the water to settlers as to the people whose land was confiscated, and attacks on educational or cultural facilities

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 13:17

      @ Kubs: What irritates me about people like you is that you have plenty to say about Israel but you can't be bothered to criticize Muslims in Sudan who REALLY are committing genocide. Today on News24 there is such an article. Where are YOUR comments??? See http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Ethnic-cleansing-of-Nuba-people-in-Sudan-20110614 By the way, there are 2 sides to the Israel/Palestine story and plenty of rationale for what Israel is doing there. Do you see the same problems in the West Bank? No. That is because Fatah is not trying every day to kill Israeli civilians with missiles, and does not have a charter calling for the murder of all Jews in Israel. Hamas needs to take responsibility for its actions instead of playing the victim.

      GTFO - 2011-06-14 16:20

      you forgot to mention thAT they have one bad ass army that no one should mess with...kapish?

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:28

      not only those people, but the Zionists even treat Holocaust survivors like dogs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC37pFQ8tyg&feature=related

  • David - 2011-06-14 13:20

    The unemployment rate is 30.8% and the poverty rate is 38%, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Fifteen per cent less than the UN figures! According to the C.I.A World Factbook unemployment in Gaza was 50% in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Actually higher before the blockade than after even if the UN figures are correct!

  • kubs - 2011-06-14 13:32

    The worse things get for the Palestinians, the more violently they must defend themselves, and the more violently Israel can respond. Whenever possible, Israel sees to it that the Palestinians take each new step in the escalation. The hope is that, at some point, Israel will be able to kill many tens of thousands, all in the name of self-defense...Palestinians are not merely provoked into reacting..it becomes the only rational thing to do..Israel is evil and all those who defend them shud burn with them

      Observer - 2011-06-14 13:45

      Zzzzzz....kubs, you're getting boring with your typing of whatever random idea pops into your head.

      kubs - 2011-06-14 13:54

      Observer..go back to watching porn and leave us alone..thanks

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 15:19

      The problem with you Jew-haters is that you refuse to take responsibility for your actions. Everything is Israel's fault. You commit acts of murder and terrorism and then, when Israel retaliates, you cry like children.

      Observer - 2011-06-14 15:28

      Ha ha kubs...thanks for a chuckle. Could help but laugh at your retort. Then I shook my head at your other comments.

  • Numsa - 2011-06-14 13:38

    these people are worse than verwoerd with high wals and barikades they should be helped

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 15:16

      Hamas daily fires missiles into Israel in an attempt to murder Israeli children, women and men (civilians). Prior to this, before the security barrier was implemented, Hamas militants used suicide bombers to murder civilians. Israel has the right to defend its citizens by refusing to allow into Gaza those resources which will be used to attack its civilians. It does not stop food or medicine from entering Gaza. It provides Gaza with electricity. Why do you say that this is apartheid? Would you rather have it that Irael lets the Gazans enter at will into Israel to murder as many innocent civilians as possible and do nothing about it? Would that in your view be better? Or are Jewish lives not important as Palestinian lives?

      GTFO - 2011-06-14 16:21

      WHY DONT YOU GO HELP THEM NUMSA??

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:32

      at lex luther: you mean the 100's of daily rockets which Isreal tells us about?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF3-YqZkoMs

  • jowza - 2011-06-14 13:50

    according to reports coming out of europe.the west are increasingly turning anti-israel.i wonder why

      Allain - 2011-06-14 14:21

      THE PROPHECY HAS TO BE FURFILLED.

      JT4 - 2011-06-15 09:06

      if by 'the west' you mean largely Europe, perhaps they becoming anti-israel because they becoming islamicised

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:36

      maybe because they are discovering the truth: http://www.nkusa.org/Historical_Documents/Herzl_quotes.cfm

  • kubs - 2011-06-14 14:14

    Israel's crimes are no longer the normal atrocities of nation-building nor an excessive sort of self-defense. They represent a cold-blooded, calculated, indeed an eagerly embraced choice of war over peace, and an elaborate plan to seek out those who had fled the misery of previous confrontations, to make certain that their suffering would continue.

      pop101 - 2011-06-14 14:21

      WTF is "normal atrocities of nation-building"?

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 14:23

      Where did you copy and paste that from? One of your Jew-hating radical Islamic websites? And it's LexLutherberg, not LexLutherstein, mohammed Kubs mohammed.

  • ZACKIE - 2011-06-14 14:21

    evil country

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 15:15

      Yes - Gaza is an evil country, as is Syria, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, and Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and other equally repressive Arabic/Islamic states, where there is still no democracy, no women's rights, no freedom of religion, and where real genocides and human rights attrocities take place. You are a hypocrite and a racist.

      kubs - 2011-06-14 15:22

      Lol..its so obvious Lex..u realize that u will never be able to have an arab women from these countries..you just have to make do with the plastic surgery -fake, alcahol,drugs,smoke breath, cheating Western women..sorry..deal with it

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 15:41

      Kubs I can't really take you seriously when you make comments like that. But you're right about cheating. In the Muslim states like Iran and Libya and Sudan, women are stoned to death when they commit adultery or even when they are raped. Now that is something we should all aspire to, right? I feel very sorry for your wife.

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-14 15:56

      kubs - your arab women are already being enjoyed in the US by western men - yes they left their cavemen husbands and ran to the western countries to enjoy freedoms - did u the the US Senator Weiner married a muslim! aha! Just playing you at your own game - I dont believe in this sily games you're starting.

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 16:31

      @kubs - Honestly, we can still go for Arab women, since they are not all Muslim. You make me think that you did not know about this fact, right?

  • Apple5 - 2011-06-14 14:39

    God people where's your humanity,everything's tit for tat, the kids and the elderly are suffering, im sure no one would want to loose a loved one to a senseless centuries old war, or not even know where your next meal is coming from. or is it ok becuse the Palastinian ? Sounds like the Apartheid Goverment to me .....

  • Apple5 - 2011-06-14 14:44

    LexLuther go back to school , you need an education my dear

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 15:11

      Apple5, if this wasn't such a serious issue, your last comment would be laughable. You shouldn't tell me that I need an education when your grammar and spelling is so bad that it is clearly you who needs an education. However, I am sure that irony will be lost on you. What is sadder, however, is your lack of logic or understanding of the stuation. Hamas daily fires missiles into Israel in an attempt to murder Israeli children, women and men (civilians). Prior to this, before the security barrier was implemented, Hamas militants used suicide bombers to murder civilians. Israel has the right to defend its citizens by refusing to allow into Gaza those resources which will be used to attack its civilians. It does not stop food or medicine from entering Gaza. It provides Gaza with electricity. Why do you say that this is apartheid? Would you rather have it that Irael lets the Gazans enter at will into Israel to murder as many innocent civilians as possible and do nothing about it? Would that in your view be better? Or are Jewish lives not important as Palestinian lives?

      kubs - 2011-06-14 15:19

      Palestinians are forced to react.this has been proven many times before..as usual the pro Israel lunatics discreetly ignore the facts

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:39

      once again luther, you probably refering to these rockets as advertised on Isreali television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF3-YqZkoMs

  • NYN - 2011-06-14 14:52

    @GonnyVonYuri. Please do not bring religion into this situation as no one has slated your religion. Another thing to remember don't quote the Quraan out of context... there are other versus around the versus that you quoted. Maybe if you read the Quraan with an open mind and heart our CREATOR might guide you to the TRUTH.

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 15:23

      @NYN - Then why don't you do us the favour and please explain those violent verses to us, in context? To me the meaning is crystal clear. However, if you have another interpretation, then go ahead by all means.

      NYN - 2011-06-14 15:32

      @Cornix. No explaination required. Just read the verses in the Quraan that appear before and after the verses quoted.

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 15:46

      NYN - I believe a religion is defined by the actions of its followers. Leaving aside the conflict between Israel and Hamas for the moment, I would estimate that 80% to 90% of all conflicts, wars, human rights abuses, murder and terrorism is committed by Muslims, from Somalia to Sudan to India to Egypt to Indonesia, to Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Tunisia (Western Sahara), Nigeria, Bali, Britain, France and on and on and on. Why is that? Or is it all Israel's fault? Why do Muslims have to murder and bomb and terrorise wherever they are?

      NYN - 2011-06-14 15:54

      @Lex. Don't believe everything you read in the media.

      LexLuther - 2011-06-14 15:57

      Oh so now it's the media that lies about everything? They just make up all those stories? That is a very weak defence. When will Muslims like you take responsibility for your brothers' actions and say, "You know what? We do have some work to do."?

      GonnyVonYuri - 2011-06-14 15:59

      LexLuther - "Why do Muslims have to murder and bomb and terrorise wherever they are? " Answer : because the koran says so... Koran 9:73 Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their Home: an evil fate. Here mohammed is trying to justify his brutal acts. He conveniently claims divine justification for the expression of his hatred by saying Allah himself revealed to him personally that people of other religions are evil and belong in Hell. Therefore, according to mohammed any barbaric act against the unbelievers is completely justified.

      Arno Young - 2011-06-14 16:04

      The verses will still mean the same, the only difference is that you'll be aligned with the verse, because you'll 'hopefully' no longer be an infidel yourself, and will therefor no longer be offended by the verse. There are too many verses calling for the heads of the infidels to be solely a question of context.

      NYN - 2011-06-14 16:05

      @Lex. Everyone must take responsibility for what they do. As ONE day we will all stand in front of our CREATOR and not even an atom's worth of good or bad will be hidden. Please don't slate ISLAM for what the followers are doing wrong.

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 16:07

      @NYN - Okay, I will go read and study those verses, but I cannot guarantee that it will change my opinion (which is the opinion of many others) on the matter.

      Cornix - 2011-06-14 16:39

      Just another thing, NYN. By saying: "Please don't slate ISLAM for what the followers are doing wrong" you admit that the followers can do wrong things. What if many Palestians fit this description?

      Waleed Toefy - 2011-06-15 14:54

      @tt cornix:there are about 100,000 palestinian Christians living in Palestine today and considering how small Palestine is today, thats alot, and if you really want to see the size of it then educate yourself by looking at the map how it stands today: http://original.antiwar.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/palestinian-land.jpg stereotype=ignorance

  • GTFO - 2011-06-14 16:25

    what ever all of you said, very super cool story...any way, Merkava standing by....

  • hardus.lauwrens - 2011-06-15 18:20

    WOW so COOL!! My comments got deleted!!! IS the Bible too Vicious and Brutal for news24?? I THOUGHT SO People slandering the Muslims holy book have never even read their own holy book which is full of slavery and sodomy

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