The Palestinian Non-Government Organisations Network (PNGO) warns of the serious repercussions of the continued deterioration of the economic, social, and humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip as a result of the continued Israeli blockade for the sixteenth year in a row. The Humanitarian Response Plan for 2023 launched by the United Nations and its local and international partners stressed the need for more than $500 million to cover the humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory and to allocate more than 70% of it to the Gaza Strip.
The Humanitarian Response Plan indicate that nearly 60% of the Gaza Strip's population, which exceeded 2,350,000 people, needs humanitarian assistance, most of whom are children, women, and persons with disabilities.
PNGO stresses that the Israeli blockade caused a humanitarian catastrophe that affected all aspects of life for the residents of the Gaza Strip, whose area does not exceed 365 square kilometers, which is the highest population density in the world. Israeli occupation forces continue to impose restrictions on the movement of goods and people and prevent farmers from accessing their agricultural lands in the border areas, and they attack the fishermen in the restricted fishing area, in addition to preventing the entry of many raw materials, devices, and equipment, and preventing the export of many items outside the Gaza Strip, which prevents the development of the economic sector.
The blockade on the Gaza Strip was accompanied by military attacks by the Israeli occupation army, which claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinian civilians, most of them women and children, and caused great destruction to homes, infrastructure, and economic institutions.
Statistics show that more than 60% of the population of the Gaza Strip suffers from food insecurity, in addition to unemployment rates, which have risen, according to official statistics, to nearly 50%, while among youth it has risen to more than 70%, which is the highest in the world. More than 60% of the population of the Gaza Strip is below the poverty line. The occupation prevented more than 33% of patients in the Gaza Strip from treatment outside the Gaza Strip, and it is still preventing the entry of some medical devices and equipment into the Gaza Strip, in addition to the continued power outages for long hours, and the water shortage, as 97% of the water in the Gaza Strip is non-potable.
The Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip has resulted in severe exhaustion of the infrastructure, as well as the systematic destruction of various sectors, including health, education, industry, agriculture, communications, and others. Such deterioration is accompanied by the inability of the international community to put pressure on the Israeli occupation, as well as the donors' reduction of their financial support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and to civil society organizations that work to provide multi-sectoral services to our Palestinian people.
PNGO holds the Israeli occupation directly, legally, politically, and morally responsible for what befell the Gaza Strip due to the blockade as a collective punishment, which requires holding the occupation accountable for this crime before the International Criminal Court.
PNGO calls on the international community at all levels and official bodies, civil society organizations, human rights, and humanitarian organizations to put pressure on the Israeli occupation state to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, in implementation of Resolution No. 1860 issued by the Security Council in 2009, which emphasized the need to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
PNGO also calls on civil society organizations to exert all pressure on their governments and parliaments to carry out their political, legal, and moral duty to end the blockade, implement the principles of international law and international humanitarian law, and achieve justice.
In addition, PNGO calls on the donors to provide financial support for the humanitarian response plan, as well as work to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees and intensify its work in the Gaza Strip, which is mostly refugees.
PNGO Network stresses the need to achieve Palestinian reconciliation in a manner that enhances the steadfastness of our people in the face of the occupation and its aggressions.
The Palestinian NGO Network includes 150 Palestinian NGOs as members.