At no other point since the onset of the Israeli blockade in 2007 have the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip been more isolated, from the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory and the rest of the world, than at present.
With a view to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the Gaza Strip, the already intense movement and access restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupying government have been tightened, along with new internal restrictions imposed by the Gaza authorities, and tightened following the first cases of community transmission of COVID-19 in late August. Exit from the Strip in recent months has been limited largely to cancer patients, if possible at all, while entry is reduced to a handful of humanitarian workers and the periodic return of residents from abroad, all of whom must enter 21-day mandatory quarantine imposed by the Gaza authorities. The Rafah Crossing with Egypt has been completely closed, with exceptional openings to facilitate the movement of a limited number of Palestinians.
But the humanitarian situation in Gaza remains as serious as ever, with 62 per cent of the population food insecure, unemployment at 45.5 per cent (Q1 2020), access to health compromised and reports of rising violence against women and children. Added to this are initial indications and projections for additional deterioration stemming from the socio-economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, alongside the ever-present risk of a new round of hostilities #CollectivePunishement