Crisis in Gaza

A Palestinian woman sits on the rubble in her destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Rafah. Photo:REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, courtesy of

A Palestinian woman sits on the remains of
her home after an Israeli air strike in Rafah
In December 2008.

For five years, the 1.6 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been living under a blockade imposed on security grounds by the government of Israel in violation of international law. This was in response to sporadic rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel by armed groups.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose mandate is to impartially safeguard the application of international humanitarian law: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law”.

The blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy, restricted freedom of movement, and has had severe negative impacts on the ability of ordinary people to access the essential services they need. The blockade is also increasing fragmentation and disrupting economic, social, and political ties between Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.

Reconciliation between Palestinian factions is urgently needed, but what Gaza needs more than anything else is long-term sustainable development.

What Oxfam is doing

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, Oxfam works with local partners to help people to earn a living and ensure that they have sustainable supplies of food. We are also working to provide water and sanitation, build a stronger civil society, and empower communities to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Besides supporting Palestinians in Gaza to cope with the poverty they currently experience, we are committed to helping find ways to end the blockade and occupation so that people can live with dignity with their rights upheld.

To this end, we continue to raise concerns with decision-makers and the wider public about the need for a lasting peace settlement, starting with an end to violence by all parties.

Related links


Stories, pictures and videos from Gaza 2008

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