Israeli Forces Killed 2,300 in Gaza Under Blockade
June 15, 2012 - BETHLEHEM (Ma'an)
-- Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,300 Palestinians and
injured 7,700 in Gaza over the last five years, the UN Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Thursday.
Some 27 percent of the fatalities in Gaza were women and
children, the UN agency said in a report highlighting the
effects of Israel's blockade.
The land, sea and air blockade of Gaza entered its sixth year on
Under the blockade, exports have dropped to less than 3 percent
of 2006 levels.
"The continued ban on the transfer of goods from Gaza to its
traditional markets in the West Bank and Israel, along with the
severe restrictions on access to agricultural land and fishing
waters, prevents sustainable growth and perpetuates the high
levels of unemployment,
food insecurity and aid dependency," UNOCHA said.
Israel's naval blockade has undermined the livelihood of 35,000
fishermen, and farmers have lost around 75,000 tons of produce
each year due to Israeli restrictions along Gaza's land border,
Meanwhile, Israeli restrictions on imports have led to the
growth of the smuggling trade. At least 172 Palestinians have
been killed working in tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt,
the report said.
Despite the risks, young men are still drawn to tunnel work in
Gaza, where more than half the youth is unemployed and 44
percent of people are food insecure.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, said Thursday that the blockade was necessary because
Gaza's ruling party Hamas is a "terrorist organization."
"All cargo going into Gaza must be checked because Gaza is
controlled by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist
organization," Regev told Reuters in response to a petition by
50 aid groups, including six UN agencies, calling on Israel to
lift the blockade.