The Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, make up the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). For more than a decade, Gaza has been separated from the rest of the Territory, and the rest of the world, because of an illegal blockade imposed by Israel. The blockade places heavy restrictions on the movement of goods and people. It is a physical, economic and political barrier keeping people in Gaza reliant on aid when in fact the enclave is a hotbed of talent, innovation and ability. In this way, the blockade amounts to the collective punishment of everyone who lives in Gaza.
Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. Almost two million Palestinians are trapped between a 60 kilometre concrete wall and the sea. They struggle to access clean water, food, medical care, education and to rebuild their homes after three wars in eight years. Most people can’t leave to see their families, export their crops or study.
The humanitarian needs of Palestinians living in Gaza are staggering. This year, the UN declared that Gaza may be unlivable. Eighty per cent of people rely on humanitarian aid to survive and 4000 people are unable to leave Gaza for urgent medical care. Many key industries have been decimated. Unemployment is the highest in the world at 43 per cent and infant mortality has risen for the first time in 50 years.
As long as the blockade on Gaza is in place, Palestinians living there will continue to be stifled by poverty without the freedom to go outside its borders to attend university, trade, work or reunite with family and loved ones.
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