UN Human Rights Council, March 10, 2009 via ReliefWeb
6.) The Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), particularly the Gaza Strip, has been affected by protracted conflict and occupation policies for decades. On 27 December 2008 the Israeli military launched a large-scale operation against Hamas in response to rockets fired towards populated areas on Israeli territory. According to available estimates, a total of around 1,453 people were killed. Of these, 1,440 were Palestinian, including 431 children, and 114 women. Thirteen were Israelis, including three civilians and six soldiers killed by Hamas, and four soldiers killed in friendly fire incidents.1 This operation also resulted in a dramatic deterioration of the living conditions of the civilian population. At the onset of the recent military operation, the population of the Gaza Strip was already rendered vulnerable following a 20-month-long blockade which severely restricted movement of people and goods and the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance. In addition, discriminatory legislation and policies of the Occupying Power in, inter alia, access to housing, health care, food and water systems have governed for decades the institutional set up in the OPT thus aggravating the situation of the area’s residents. An estimated 80 percent of the population in Gaza, particularly women and children, was already dependent on humanitarian assistance, before the recent military operation.
7.) Targeted and indiscriminate attacks on public facilities, including medical facilities, water and sanitation networks, government and municipal buildings, electricity, gas, transportation, agriculture, fisheries and industries have further eroded people’s access to basic services and goods. Combined with the decreasing ability of the authorities to manage basic public services and the collapse of the local economy, the recent military operation has exacerbated the situation of the 1.5 million Gaza residents whose rights, including the rights to education, food, health, housing, and to be free from violence cannot be protected. The conflict has further exacerbated the desperate situation of those living in poverty in Gaza and has pushed even more people into a life of poverty.
8.) Even after the ceasefire was declared on 18 January 2009, restrictions on movement of people and goods as well as humanitarian assistance have continued, thus hampering efforts for recovery and return to normalcy.
1 In addition to the 1,440 killed the Palestinian Ministry of Health lists 5,380 Palestinians injured, including 1,872 children and 800 women. In addition to the 13 killed, the Magen David Adom lists 518 Israelis injured, including 182 civilians and 336 soldiers. For additional data on children see also Annex I. OCHA, The Humanitarian Monitor, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Number 33, January 2009.
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