A new report by the UN has described Gaza as “unliveable” after 10 years of Hamas rule.
The report, published on Tuesday, describes living conditions for the two million people in the Palestinian enclave as deteriorating “further and faster” than the prediction made in 2012 that the enclave would become “uninhabitable” by 2020.
Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, said: “Gaza has continued on its trajectory of ‘de-development’, in many cases even faster than we had originally projected.”
The report, compiled by the UN country team, found that real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the Gaza had decreased, as well as a deterioration in the provision of health services, where average Palestinians are trapped in a “sad reality” and their daily lives are “getting more and more wretched.”
In an interview with BICOM on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog said, “Hamas very skilfully managed to isolate the Gaza Strip from the outside world, triggered three rounds of armed conflict with Israel, and brought about a situation in Gaza where infrastructure is collapsing, people live in poverty, and there’s a lack of basic needs as well as frustration and despair.”
Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007 following an intra-Palestinian conflict. Israel has sought to isolate the group and maintained strict controls over the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza for security reasons.
The report called on Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the international community to take action towards more sustainable development investments, reinvigorate Gaza’s productive sectors and reduce the restriction of movement for both people and goods.
Piper warned that “the alternative will be a Gaza that is more isolated and more desperate,” and “the threat of a renewed, more devastating escalation will increase.”
Herzog said that another round of conflict between Israel and Hamas is unlikely in the foreseeable future as “it is in neither party’s interest.”
He said that Hamas is still “weak, isolated and deterred from the last round in 2014,” and that “Hamas could find itself in an even worse situation if it triggers another war.”
[Photo: BICOM ]