UN Official: Situation In Blockaded Gaza ‘Grim’

Robert Piper, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, has described current living conditions in the Gaza Strip — which continues to groan under a decade-long Israeli/Egyptian blockade — as “grim”, Anadolu Agency reported.

“Gaza continues to face difficult conditions even though the Palestinian people have great potential,” Piper said during a Wednesday visit to Gaza City’s Islamic University, according to a statement issued by the university.
“Despite the large number of educated people in Gaza, there are few employment opportunities for university graduates,” he said.

“The high unemployment rate poses a serious challenge,” he added.
Piper urged the international community to promote development inside the beleaguered coastal enclave and praised the Palestinian people for their ability to adapt to the difficult circumstances imposed by the siege.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas won the parliamentary elections in January, 2006. Furthermore, Israel has tightened this siege in June, 2007 when Israel declared that the Gaza Strip is an enemy entity. Since the beginning of the year, Israel has tightened the siege and embargo imposed on the Gaza Strip reaching unprecedented levels.

This action included various sanctions such as: cut-off fuel and electricity provisions to Gaza as well as all other energy resources. Israel has also imposed strict closure on all Gaza Strip border crossings, preventing movement of civilians including patients’ for medical services.

This situation added to the already existing crisis due to the fact that 80% of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip depends mainly on the humanitarian aid for securing their basic needs for survival. Furthermore, the three Israeli wars on Gaza have aggravated the Palestinians’ sufferings in the Strip, coinciding with the economic crisis and high rate of poverty and unemployment.