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Life for the Palestinians in official statistics

Gaza is an Israeli prison says UN representative

Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a prison for the Palestinians where life is "intolerable, appalling, tragic", a UN human rights envoy said on Tuesday, according to Reuters news agency.

John Dugard, the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, slammed Israeli raids, blockades and demolitions, and accused the Jewish state of violating international humanitarian law with imposing strict security measures that amount to "collective punishment".

October 2006

What Israel chooses to describe as collateral damage to the civilian population is in fact indiscriminate killing prohibited by international law," he said.

Dugard also criticized the United States, Europe and Canada for halting aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government, warning that three-quarters of Gaza's 1.4 million people were dependent on food aid.

"Gaza is a prison and Israel seems to have thrown away the key," he said.

"Israel violates international law as expounded by the Security Council and the International Court of Justice and goes unpunished," he said.

"But the Palestinian people are punished for having democratically elected a regime unacceptable to Israel, the U.S. and the EU.

"In effect, the Palestinian people have been subjected to economic sanctions - the first time an occupied people has been so treated," he said.

Sources:, BBC World News

Food Aid for Palestinians
Israeli-Palestinian conflict almost 500,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, not counting refugees, are dependent on food aid. In March 2006, major international donors cut direct aid to the Palestinian Authority in an attempt to pressure Hamas to renounce violence. This move has made daily life harder for most Palestinians, and has raised the prospect of financial collapse. Some 4.2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian territories rely on the United Nations for basic health care and education. There are now 4.2 million refugees living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon - 1.3 million of them housed in overcrowded camps. Under interim Israeli-Palestinian peace accords, their fate is to be determined in negotiations leading to a final settlement of the conflict. Gaza is surrounded by an Israeli security fence, but Palestinians, under European Union monitoring, control a border crossing to Egypt. In the West Bank, Israel continues to construct a barrier, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice because it is being built on occupied land. The World Bank and U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) say that Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian people and trade continue to hamper the Palestinian economy. UNCTAD says it hinders people’s basic ability “to feed themselves”. The United Nations says the Israeli government has imposed restrictions on Palestinians’ water use, given Jewish settlers preferential access to water resources and ensured that most of the water is diverted or percolates underground to Israel. As a result Palestinians are experiencing the effects of a man-made “water crisis”.
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