The Gaza Strip is a Palestinian exclave on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, where 2,346,204 people live in a coastal strip of 365 km2.
Refugees, driven out of their homes in 1948 and 1967, make up most of the population and live in miserable camps that lack basic human living standards.
Society in Gaza is young as young people (15-59 years) and children (under 15 years) make up 54.1% and 40.4% of the population respectively, while elderly people (more than 60 years) represent 4.5% only.
Gaza refugee camps:
The Strip includes eight refugee camps, Rafah, Khan Yunis, Deir Al-Balah, Nuseirat, Shati, Maghazi, Bureij, and Jabalia.
In 1967, the Israeli occupation forces occupied the Gaza Strip. Gaza became a center of political resistance in the first intifada in the 1980s. After the Oslo Treaty of 1993, the newly established Palestinian National Authority brought Gaza under its direct control.
In addition, in 2005, the Israeli regime implemented a unilateral disengagement plan from Gaza. It dismantled settlements and withdrew its military forces.
The move aimed to end the direct Israeli occupation of the territory. However, “Israel” still maintained control over Gaza’s borders, airspace, and waters.
Also, in 2006, the Israeli occupation state imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip. Thus, it increases the suffering of the 2 million Palestinians in the Strip, who have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.
Many practices in Gaza from 2000 until now.
Israeli occupation authority has been practicing collective punishment against Gaza Strip. And also imposed a suffocating blockade on its population since the beginning of the Palestinian intifada in 2000. However, occupation severely tightened in 2006. Therefore, we can say that the Gaza blockade is the longest and the most barbaric in human history.
Before imposing the siege, people and goods used to move through six crossings, i.e., Beit Hanoun/Erez, Karni, Nahal Oz, Kerem Shalom, Sofa, and Rafah (with Egypt).
After the siege, “Israel” closed all the crossings except for Erez and Kerem Shalom. Also, it started to use them as leverage and a bargaining chip during times of political and security crises.
During the Intifada, the occupation destroyed Gaza International Airport and stopped work at the Gaza seaport. As a result, the “Israeli” occupation denies Gaza residents their rights to freedom of movement and prevents the entrance of some of the most basic supplies under false claims of security precautions. Even it prevented both Muslim and Christian worshipers from visiting their holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
International law experts all agree that the “Israeli” blockade of Gaza is collective punishment and a form of genocide, and is a stark violation of the Geneva Fourth Conventions. The occupation forces have always obstructed the work of international investigation committees and prevented its members from coming into Gaza Strip.
It has also prevented some representatives of diplomatic and security missions from accessing Gaza Strip and examining firsthand the catastrophic impacts of the siege and aggression.
Effects of Israeli blockade :
During the blockade, Israeli occupation forces launched many military aggressions against the Gaza Strip in the years 2008, 2012, 2014,2019,2021, 2022, and 2023.
Also, during the span of 16 years, along with dozens of daily “Israeli” assaults on farmers and fishermen. As a result, The occupation killed and injured thousands, and thus destroyed massive destruction of civilian infrastructure and residential homes.
Housing & Reconstruction:
▪ 75,000 housing units need rehabilitation.
▪ The deficit of housing units exceeds 130,000 units.
▪ 20% of Palestinian families live in crowded housing units (more than 3 people/room).
▪ More than 70% of Palestinian families lack the ability to construct new housing units or rehabilitate the already existing ones and need assistance in this regard.
▪ 97% of the aquifer water in the Gaza Strip is undrinkable.
▪ 60% of roads are unpaved and unusable.
▪ 50% of paved roads need maintenance and rehabilitation.
Economic & Social life:
▪ The rates of unemployment are estimated at 45%
▪ while 71.1% of the youth are unemployed.
▪ Poverty rates are estimated at 64%
▪ while the rates of absolute poverty are estimated at 33.8
Health in Gaza:
Gaza Strip suffers from an acute shortage of medical supplies, including necessary equipment and drugs. 40% of drugs and medical disposals are completely missing in the warehouses of the Ministry of Health. Gaza Strip also lacks a sufficient number of hospitals. Even existing hospitals lack beds, as the number of available beds is estimated at 1.3 beds/1000 people.
To this end, Gaza is a region with a rich history and culture that Israeli occupation apartheid, and subjugation have marred it.