For Immediate Release
Willow Heske, Oxfam Media Lead for the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel
+972 (0) 59-713-3646; +972 (0) 54-639-5002
People in Gaza Need More Than Ceasefire
With a ceasefire holding, Oxfam sees an opportunity to break the cycle of violence and lift the blockade once and for all
WASHINGTON - In a new briefing note, Beyond Ceasefire: Ending the Blockade of Gaza, Oxfam outlines concrete, specific measures that the international community and Government of Israel should take to finally bring an end to the five-year-old blockade that has devastated Gaza’s farming and fishing industries, shut down nearly 60 percent of Gaza’s businesses, cost billions in trade, and pushed 80 percent of Gaza’s people into an unsustainable reliance on humanitarian aid.
Oxfam’s Country Director Nishant Pandey said:
“The international community can no longer accept the abnormality of blockade as a fact of life in Gaza. The current negotiations between Hamas and the Government of Israel represent an unprecedented opportunity – people in Gaza need more than ceasefire, they need an end to the blockade for good.”
Oxfam’s Head of Policy for the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel Martin Hartberg said:
“Oxfam has been working for the past five years to help improve the lives of Palestinians in Gaza, but as long as the blockade remains in place we are stuck using buckets to bail out a sinking ship.
“It is up to Israeli, Palestinian, and world leaders to make the lasting changes people need. In addition to a complete cessation of violence by both sides, Palestinians in Gaza should be allowed to securely move between Gaza and the West Bank, build trade networks, and reduce dependence on international aid. So long as Palestinians in Gaza remain isolated, the prospects of peace for Israelis and Palestinians remain distant and the chances for economic recovery in Gaza ever more remote.”
In the briefing note, Oxfam is calling on the world leaders to:
- Press the Government of Israel to immediately end its military enforcement of the land and sea buffer-zone and find alternative means to protect its border with Gaza, which do not harm civilians;
- Deploy a well-resourced international inspection force mandated to monitor and secure the opening of all crossings, including Rafah crossing and tunnels, in line with international law;
- Support the rebuilding of the Karni cargo terminal and the opening a new sea port, ensuring commercial goods freely enter and leave Gaza;
- Press the Government of Israel to facilitate the free movement of people between Gaza and the West Bank including the opening of transit systems.
Download the report: Beyond Ceasefire: Ending the blockade of Gaza
Dream On: 5 Years Lost: Case studies looking back at life under blockade (June 2012, pdf 629kb)
5 Fallacies in Gaza: The facts of life 5 years in to the blockade (June 2012, pdf 423kb)
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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.