More than half of Gazans live under poverty line due to Israeli blockade: NGO report

More than half of Gazans live under poverty line due to Israeli blockade: NGO report
The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reports that unemployment and poverty rates have been on a steep rise in the Strip since Israel imposed its illegal blockade in 2006.
2 min read
Gaza city
25 January, 2022
Gaza's unemployment rate went up by 26.6% between 2005 and 2021. [Getty]

Gaza - More than half of Gaza's 2.3 million population lives under the poverty line as a result of the 16-year Israeli blockade imposed on the coastal enclave, a Geneva-based human rights group said in its annual report on Monday.

According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, an NGO founded by Gazan human rights advocate Ramy Abdu, "about 1,500,000 Gazans have become impoverished amid the Israeli siege."

In 2006, Israel imposed its illegal siege on the coastal enclave as Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group, won a general election in the Palestinian Territories. Their electoral success resulted in clashes with rivals from Fatah, the movement that runs the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israel tightened its blockade against Gaza after Hamas forcibly took over the territory from Fatah in 2007.

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"The Israeli policy of collective punishment against the residents of Gaza is still consistent, in a way that clearly shows Israel's intention to inflict huge material and moral losses on the residents of Gaza," the report said.

It added that "the humanitarian crises in Gaza have doubled amid the blockade. In 2005, before the Israeli siege, the unemployment rate was about 23.6%, while at the end of 2021 it reached 50.2%, to be among the highest unemployment rates in the world."

As a result, the monitor indicated that poverty rates had witnessed a sharp rise due to Israeli restrictions, jumping from 40% in 2005 to 69% in 2021.

Israel, which considers Hamas a terror organization along with the EU, the US and the UK, launched four large-scale military operations in the Gaza Strip between 2008 and 2021.

"The Israeli attacks destroyed tens of thousands of houses and industrial facilities, causing an unprecedented collapse in the economic life of the Strip," the report explained.

The human rights organisation called on the international community to pressure Israel to end its illegal siege, urging the International Criminal Court "to open investigations against the Israeli leaders and soldiers involved in the policy of collective punishment and the military attacks against Gaza."