For the first time in forty-three years, an investigative committee of the United Nations General Assembly has managed to enter the Gaza Strip.Although various UN committees have entered Gaza during that time period, they were mainly from the Human Rights Committee, and not authorized by the full body of the United Nations – the General Assembly.

After the Israeli military takeover of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the UN General Assembly created a three-member special committee to investigate Israeli human rights violations in the territories occupied by its military.

That committee was denied entry by Israel at the time, and had to take testimony from Palestinians in Cairo, Amman and Damascus.

All of these cities involved a difficult cross-border journey for Palestinians, and many were unable to testify as a result.

But last week, a newly formed version of the Committee, led by representatives from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Senegal, was able to gain entry to Gaza through Egypt.

The Committee said it was dismayed by the conditions in Gaza, where Israeli occupying forces quote “disregard their obligations under international law.”

Their report detailed the dismal living conditions in Gaza, and found that the Israeli blockade was the cause of these poor conditions.

The committee also underlined its concern regarding reports that Israeli security forces raid Palestinian homes in the middle of the night to detain children, some as young as seven years old.