gaza woman 298.
(photo credit: AP)
blockade of the Gaza Strip constitutes collective punishment against its
civilian population, Amnesty International claimed in a report released for
publication Monday to mark the one year anniversary of the end of Operation Cast
Lead in the coastal territory.
In the report, Amnesty calls on to immediately lift the
blockade on the Gaza Strip. The report, entitled "Suffocating: The Gaza
Strip Under Israeli Blockade," contains testimony from residents of the
Strip, who say the blockade has prevented them from putting their lives back
together after the offensive.
The report also criticizes
for delaying travel permits for Gazans seeking medical treatment outside of the
Strip, and says that such delays have exacted a humanitarian toll on Gazans.
The report also says that the blockade is largely responsible for the 40
percent unemployment rate in .
The release of the report comes only days after the Defense Ministry
presented figures showing improvements in 's
humanitarian situation, noting that even during Cast Lead some 1,400 trucks
carrying supplies were allowed to enter.
The Defense Ministry cited an overall 28% rise in humanitarian goods
entering the Gaza Strip
in 2009 over the previous year, and an increase of 125%
in the number of foreign nationals allowed entry to the Strip.
The findings were presented at a conference held last Thursday by the Gaza
Coordination and Liaison Administration, which brought together representatives
from major international organizations operating in .
When contacted by The Jerusalem Post
Sunday, Amnesty did not deny the
presented by the Defense Ministry. Instead, it cited a report they released
last month that stated that since the end of Cast Lead, only 41 truckloads of
construction materials have been let in.
That report, "Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more
excuses," claimed that the paucity of building supplies allowed into the
coastal territory have helped prolong a humanitarian crisis by stifling Gazans'
ability to rebuild their homes and infrastructure. It also stated that fuel
shortages, along with the lack of building materials, have led to breakdowns in
power supplies and in turn greater contamination of the water supply, further
endangering the population.
The IDF had not seen the report by press time and could not issue a response.