(Europal Forum) A report issued by theÂ United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)Â confirmed the severe deterioration in various aspects of life in Gaza as a result of the continued Israeli siege imposed on the Strip over the lastÂ 10 years.
The report listed the negative impact of the siege on the health andÂ educationÂ sectors, as well as the freedom ofÂ movementÂ and travel, and the living conditions of Gazans. It alsoÂ mentionedÂ the sharpÂ deteriorationÂ of the medical infrastructure needed to provide health care to Gazans.
The report said: â€śYears of socioeconomic decline, conflict and closure have left the health sector across the Gaza Strip lacking in adequate physical infrastructure and sufficient medical training opportunities for health staff.Â â€ś
â€śFacilities are overstretched, and service is frequently interrupted by power cuts. These challenges further threaten the health of the population, which is already at increasing risk.â€ť
Gaza needs 800 additional hospital beds 1,000 additional doctors and 2,000 nurses by 2020 to maintain the current level of services, the report warned.
â€śThe United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs noted at the end of 2015 a rise in medical referrals out of Gaza, but a decline in the approval of exit permits.â€ť
The report also stated that â€śIsrael does not only impose restrictions on travelling abroad, but also for Palestinians travelling to and within the West Bank, heavily restricting people, and particularly youth, from pursuing education or trying to find work; families from visiting relatives; and sick patients from seeking medical treatment.â€ť
â€śThese restrictions have reduced access to livelihoods, essential services and housing; disrupted family life; and undermined the peopleâ€™s hopes for a secure and prosperous future.â€ť
Itâ€™s said that the Erez crossing, located in the north of the Gaza Strip, is now the only crossing between Israel and Gaza that is available for the movement of people. Israeli policy technically allows for the movement of limited numbers of authorised travellers, including medical and humanitarian cases.
â€śResidents of the Gaza Strip are required to obtain individual exit permits to Israel. The permit is issued by military officials rather than the Ministry ofÂ Interior, and Israelâ€™s policy is to not permit entry for residents of the Gaza Strip except in extreme and exceptional humanitarian cases,â€ť added the report.
The UN report also noted that theÂ recurrent conflict and the illegal blockadeÂ imposed by IsraelÂ on land, air and sea, entering its tenth year in June 2016, remainsÂ the principal cause of the socioeconomic and psychosocial crisis in Gaza.
â€śThe restrictions on the movement of people and goods continue to collectively punish the civilian population, affecting every aspect of life in Gaza,â€ť the report explained.
The siege is â€śundermining the local economy and threatening the enjoyment of most human rights, in clear violation of Israelâ€™s legal obligations under international humanitarian law.â€ť
Full report here.
Archive IMEMC:Â 09/03/15Â United Nations: Gaza Could Be Uninhabitable Within 5 Years