For the eighth straight day, Israeli officials maintained a full closure of all border crossings in and out of the Gaza Strip Tuesday, refusing to allow even the small trickle of goods that has been allowed to pass since late last year, when a 4-year old blockade was slightly decreased.Thousands of flowers which had been prepared for export to florists worldwide have been prevented from passing through, devastating the flower industry in Gaza at a crucial time in the growing season.
The head of the Flower and Berry Growers’ Association in Gaza, Mahmoud Khalil, said that the organization had a meeting to determine what to do if the border remains closed for the entire season, and that they considered reducing the planting of certain crops in order to avoid serious losses.
In addition to the flower export crisis, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has stated that essential food supplies are about to run out, adding that there are currently 172 truckloads of oil, sugar and flour waiting in Israel just outside the Gaza border. The food aid from the UNRWA supplies basic food to about 2/3 of the population of Gaza, who have been unable to maintain their economy due to the Israeli siege, and have become dependent on food aid as a result.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, there are about 150 basic medicines that are lacking in Gaza’s hospitals and clinics.
Although Israeli officials deny that they are depriving Palestinians of basic goods by continuing the siege, a number of Israeli officials were quoted when the siege began as saying they would impose a ‘diet’ on the Palestinian population of Gaza.
Collective punishment measure like siege warfare are considered violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.