“What is needed is more than just ensuring the survival of the population of Gaza”

"Not a single house, four months after the hostilities, has been rebuilt [up] to this point". Diamond.

“Not a single house, four months after the hostilities, has been rebuilt [up] to this point”. Diamond.

December 25, 2014. In an interview at the i24 news channel Morning Edition, Eitan Diamond, executive director of Gisha, talked about the current situation in Gaza: “The tragic story of Gaza began before the latest hostilities, but the situation has become more dire as a consequence of the destruction caused by the hostilities. There are over 100,000 people who have lost their homes – they still haven’t found a new home. Not a single house, four months after the hostilities, has been rebuilt [up] to this point”.

“There’s also been a very slow movement of construction materials which are desperately needed in Gaza – a fraction of the quantity of construction material that is needed has gone through, so people are in a desperate state”.

Regarding the rise in Gaza residents trying to enter Israel, Diamond said that “It is very dangerous to attempt to approach the separation fence, so this is an indication of extreme desperation – which is quite understandable, when you have unemployment levels that are in excess of fifty percent for young people – and these are actually numbers before the hostilities, so one can imagine the situation is worse. Seventy percent of the population, even before the hostilities, depended on humanitarian aid just to get by. In this kind of a reality it is not surprising that people are desperate and many take desperate measures”.

Diamond also said that “the main markets for Gaza have always been Israel and the West Bank, and these have been sealed for them since 2007, completely. There is obviously security logic for restrictions; the problem is that these have been imposed beyond anything that security can justify. In fact, we’ve heard statements recently from senior figures in the Israeli security establishment, including the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff, indicating that there is an understanding on the Israeli side that there’s a need to offer hope for Palestinians.

“Unfortunately, this positive rhetoric hasn’t yet been followed through with dramatic changes. The situation there in terms of the capacity to live a normal life is just nonexistent, and what is needed is more than just ensuring the survival of the population of Gaza. I think that it’s in everyone’s interest to ensure that that population can begin finally to start living a normal life”.