Joint statement from Amnesty International UK, Broederlijk Delen, CAFOD, CCFD Terre Solidaire, Christian Aid, Church of Sweden, Diakonia, Finn Church Aid, Medical Aid for Palestinians, medico international, medico international schweiz, Mercy Corps, MS ActionAid Denmark, Oxfam International, Trocaire, United Civilians for Peace (a coalition of Dutch groups - Oxfam Novib, Cordaid, ICCO, and IKV Pax Christi).
The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to back their words with effective action to secure the ending of the Israeli blockade which is preventing reconstruction and recovery, says a group of 16 leading humanitarian and human rights groups in a report released ahead of the anniversary of the start of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
The Israeli authorities have allowed only 41 truckloads of all construction materials into Gaza since the end of the offensive in mid-January, warn the groups, which include Amnesty International, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Mercy Corps and Oxfam International. The task of rebuilding and repairing thousands of homes alone will require thousands of truckloads of building materials, they add.
Little of the extensive damage the offensive caused to homes, civilian infrastructure, public services, farms and businesses has been repaired because the civilian population, and the UN and aid agencies who help them, are prohibited from importing materials like cement and glass in all but a handful of cases, says the report.
The blockade, which began in June 2007 after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, has sharply increased poverty, helping make 8 out of 10 people dependent on some form of aid. Businesses and farms have been forced to close and lay off workers. An almost complete ban on exports has hit farmers hard, compounded by the offensive which wrecked 17% of farmland together with greenhouses and irrigation equipment, and left a further 30% unusable in no-go ‘buffer zones’ expanded by the Israeli military after the end of the offensive.