All of the bakeries in the Gaza Strip are closed. Dependent on imports of flour, the 1.2 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, the most crowded place on earth in terms of population to land area, are now facing an unprecedented food crisis due to Israeli closures that have prevented the import of the grain.
Completely controlled by Israeli military forces, the borders of the Gaza Strip resemble prison walls and gates around this crowded and undernourished strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea. The coastlines themselves are also tightly controlled, so that in most parts of Gaza, children spend their entire lives growing up within view of the sea, but unable to access it.
Now, with the world focusing on an Israeli attack on the Palestinian prison in Jericho, an event that many Palestinians and Israelis view as a ‘publicity stunt’ by Israel to garner support for the ruling Kadima Party in upcoming elections, the impoverished population of the Gaza Strip waits, ignored and forgotten, for the Israeli military to re-open their border crossing as was promised by Israeli leaders last week so that their children will not starve.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were mainly employed in Israel, prior to the current open conflict that broke out in September 2000. Since 2000, the unemployment rate has reached levels of up to 80% in some areas, making the Palestinian population more and more dependent on foreign imports and aid.
Palestinian Economic Ministry Undersecretary Mr. Nasser As’saraj confirmed that the Gaza Strip mills are empty of flour as a result of the Israeli closure of the crossings used to import this vital grain.
As’saraj confirmed Thursday that the ministry has been in contact with the Israeli and Egyptian authorities so as to have the crossings reopened so the Palestinian people will be able to import the substantial and vital food stuffs such as flour, sugar and rice.
"The Gaza Strip is facing a serious problem; there is a crisis in this regard", Saraj added.
Saraj pointed out that all bakeries in the Strip are closed because there is no flour.
Israeli authorities appeared unconcerned about the severe shortage of food in the Gaza Strip. Top advisor to the Israeli prime minister, Dov Weisglass, said recently that Palestinians should be "put on a diet", referring to the imposition of sanctions on the population as punishment for voting for the Hamas party in January’s democratic election. Despite the fact that the United Nations has condemned the closure, and noted that 40% of children in the Gaza Strip suffer from malnutrition, Israeli politicians seem entirely unconcerned with the fate of the 1.2 million Gaza Palestinians — a fate that is, at this point, entirely in their hands.