ACTNews, PALESTINE – The world community commemorates International Day for the Eradication of Poverty On October 17th. This commemoration was contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, which emphasized that poverty is a violation of human rights and the need to jointly ensure that these rights are respected.
However, the humanitarian consequences of the conflict have been devastating, exacerbating the already-present impact of restricted movement of people, reduced access to resources and basic social services, and economic stagnation caused by the blockade. Poverty and unemployment—the key drivers of food insecurity in Palestine— are at their peak: in Gaza, nearly seven out of ten people are poor, half of the workforce is unemployed, and seven out of ten households are food insecure.
Researcher Hussein Hammad, who also works with the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, blames the multiple challenges Palestinian children face in various sectors for reducing their chances of obtaining their rights. He singled out the Israeli occupation for undermining the chances of Palestinian children to access their rights, especially about "mobility, medical treatment, and life”.
"Israel continues to violate the rights of children, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, through arrests, physical or psychological harm, or restricting their movement," Hammad said, explaining that sick children in Gaza are blocked from seeking better treatment in hospitals in the West Bank or Israel. "Denying patients’ referral requests sometimes causes death,” Hammad added.
According to estimates, due to the pandemic and related lockdown measures, the proportion of poor households will increase to 64 percent in the Gaza Strip and 30 percent in the West Bank. More than two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer from deteriorating economic and living conditions as a result of the Israeli blockade imposed on the territory since 2006.
The blockade launched by Israel has also made it difficult for Gazans to access health care in hospitals in the West Bank and Israel. "Denying patients’ referral requests sometimes causes death,” Hammad added.
The impact of military escalation worsens the life of Gazan
According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the escalation in Gaza in May, 261 Palestinians were killed, including 67 children. Over 2,210 Palestinians were injured during the hostilities, including 685 children and 480 women, some of whom may suffer a long-term disability requiring rehabilitation. Thirteen people in Israel, including one soldier, were killed by Palestinian rocket fire.
At the height of the escalation, 113,000 IDPs sought shelter and protection at UNRWA schools or with host families. According to the Shelter Cluster, there are still about 8,250 IDPs, primarily those whose houses were destroyed or so severely damaged as to be uninhabitable.
In addition to not having a home to take refuge in, Gazans are having a hard time finding work amid a nearly shattered economy and labor market. The International Labor Organization (ILO) reported with the economy and labor market approaching collapse, approximately 80 percent of Gazans depend on humanitarian assistance.