A report by sixteen human rights groups has found that civilians in the Gaza Strip are suffering disproportionately due to Israel’s stranglehold blockade of essential goods. Israel and Egypt have allowed only critical humanitarian aid into Gaza since Hamas was democratically elected in June 2007.

The groups said that Israel had allowed only 41 truckloads of construction materials into Gaza since last January.

Homes, public services, farms and businesses, all parts of the civilian infrastructure, were damaged, and little has been repaired.

According to Kate Allen of Amnesty International UK, the result is that sick, traumatized and impoverished people are being punished by an illegal policy imposed by the Israeli authorities.

The report called on European foreign ministers to visit Gaza to see the damage for themselves and urged the EU to do all it can to lift the blockade.