Groups call for end to Gaza blockade

2012-06-14 21:38
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants dressed as suicide bombers stand around the remains of militant Khaled Khateb, after his body was transferred from Israel, during his funeral in Gaza City. (Adel Hana, AP)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants dressed as suicide bombers stand around the remains of militant Khaled Khateb, after his body was transferred from Israel, during his funeral in Gaza City. (Adel Hana, AP) (Adel Hana)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Gaza City - Fifty international NGOs and United Nations agencies on Thursday called on Israel to lift its Gaza blockade, first imposed in June 2006 and ratcheted up a year later.

"For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children," said a statement signed by Oxfam, Amnesty International, Medecins du Monde, Save the Children, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and others.

"The government of Israel is facing mounting international criticism for the Gaza blockade," said the statement, timed to mark the fifth anniversary of the tightening of the blockade.

"We are calling for the blockade to be lifted," Maxwell Gaylard, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, told reporters in Gaza, calling for an end to the "collective punishment of Gaza residents."

Filippo Grandi, commissioner general of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, added: "What Gaza needs is real development but because of the blockade we have to concentrate on humanitarian work, that's a waste of money.

"The blockade is also counterproductive because it does not bring the security it is purported to bring."

Oxfam data submitted with the statement said that, since 2007, "nearly 30 percent of Gaza's businesses have closed and an additional 15 percent have laid off 80 percent of their staff."

It said 80 percent of Gazans are dependent on aid.

A report from Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) said Gaza's only fresh water source is contaminated with fertiliser and human waste and is too dangerous to drink.

"The blockade is a blight on the lives of Gaza's civilians. It is shocking to see so many children struggling to live a fulfilled and healthy life -- unable to play in safe areas and forced to drink dirty and dangerous water that is making them sick," MAP's Aimee Shalan said in a statement.

MAP said that since the blockade started, the number of children under three being treated for watery diarrhoea had doubled, while high levels of nitrate -- found in faeces and fertiliser -- is also linked to some cancers and is a massive risk to pregnant women.

"More than 90 percent of the water supplied through Gaza's aquifer does not meet WHO's safety standards and is unfit for drinking," it added.

Israel first imposed a blockade on Gaza in June 2006 after militants there snatched one of its soldiers. The captive, Gilad Shalit, was finally freed last October in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.

It was tightened a year later after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in the strip, ousting forces loyal to Western-backed president Mahmud Abbas.

The blockade has been eased somewhat but severe restrictions on the movement of goods and people remain in place.


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.