UN Appeal on Gaza: Access for Aid Just as Crucial as Funding

For Immediate Release

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Louis Belanger on + 972 57 553 8536 or Michael Bailey on + 972 572233014

UN Appeal on Gaza: Access for Aid Just as Crucial as Funding

Israel denies Gaza more than 50 percent of minimum daily needs;

WASHINGTON - As the UN is launching an appeal for funding to Gaza in Geneva today, aid agency Oxfam International insists that access of goods to the Strip is equally important as fundraising. Without further delay, Israel must allow for all existing crossings to function at maximum capacity, Oxfam said.

Oxfam estimates that Israel is denying Gaza more than 50 percent of its normal minimum daily requirements, when the needs are even greater today after 3 weeks of heavy bombardments and conflict with Palestinian armed groups in the Strip.*

Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International said: "The Israeli authorities are drip feeding 1.5 million people when vital supplies are urgently needed. Humanitarian access to Gaza must be improved and guaranteed. Using Kerem Shalom crossing, too far to the south of where most of the needs are, is inadequate, inefficient and wasteful of aid resources. Nothing less than a 24hours/7days a week opening of all crossings is what's needed today.

Hobbs: "On top of blocking key access points, Israeli authorities have been denying entry for items such as dates or provisions of macaroni. This is unacceptable."

Along with the daily needs and humanitarian assistance, Gaza needs to bring in goods for reconstruction. There is a tremendous shortage of building materials and spare parts for repair of houses, water, sewage and electrical facilities. For example, Gaza is in dire need of cement, since the cement-processing factories were destroyed by the Israeli air attacks.

Oxfam also said that money alone will not solve the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Political will and long term investment by the international community to tackle the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are also urgently needed.

"It's not enough for donor countries to reach out for their check books. They must also press Israel to open up the border crossings and make sure their aid money is being used effectively. The people of Gaza cannot indefinitely continue to be dependent on external aid," Jeremy Hobbs concluded.

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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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