For Immediate Release

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Two Years Since War, Gaza Blockade Plunging Palestinians Deeper into Poverty

As the blockade imposed by Israel approaches its 9th anniversary, it continues to devastate the lives and livelihoods of 1.8 million Palestinians living in Gaza. This collective punishment keeps people poor, denies them their rights and fails to make Israel safer, Oxfam said today.

Oxfam Country Director Chris Eijkemans said the restricted movement of people and goods has crippled Gaza’s economic growth and the lives of Palestinians.

“The blockade is making a dire situation worse. The economy has ground to a halt and people have been denied their freedom, access to essential services and basic human rights for almost a decade,” Mr Eijkemans said.

“Gaza has not recovered from the 2014 war. 75,000 people still can’t return home. Less than 10 percent of destroyed homes have been completely rebuilt and 80 percent of the population rely on international humanitarian aid to survive. The blockade must end before Gaza plunges further into humanitarian disaster.”

The blockade has all but shut down trade, separated families and prevented people from travelling for healthcare, education and business.  According to the UN, electricity and power shortages, the highest unemployment rate in the world and inability to access even the most basic necessities such as food and clean water mean that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020.

Working with partners in Gaza, Oxfam provides safe water to communities, works with farmers and fishermen who are prevented from accessing their livelihoods, helps local producers improve the quality of their products and campaigns for a lasting peace.

As the ninth anniversary approaches, Oxfam calls on the international community to press the Government of Israel to immediately end this stifling blockade and to ease access into and out of Gaza, so the 1.8 million Palestinians living there can claim the basic human rights and freedom they deserve. Oxfam also urges Egypt, which controls Gaza’s severely restricted Rafah crossing, to ease access restrictions as well.

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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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