Here are the basics:
• Israel controls all access to and from the Gaza Strip by sea and air
• More than 70% of the population in Gaza relies on humanitarian aid
• Before Israel’s latest assault, 57% of the population was suffering from food insecurity
• The unemployment rate was 45% in the second quarter of 2014 – this is compared to 18.7% in 2000
• During summer 2014, Israel completely destroyed 22 schools in Gaza and damaged 118
• Even before the military operation, Palestinian children needed an additional 250 schools, including at least 150 government schools
• 80,000 Palestinian homes were damaged or destroyed during the Israeli military campaign in summer 2014
• As of December 2014, more than 106,000 of Gaza's 1.8 million remain displaced in UN shelters and with host families
Read Noura Erakat’s article “Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked”.
Restrictions on the entrance of goods into Gaza:
• Kerem Shalom, connecting Gaza to Israel, is the only official crossing open for the transfer of goods into and out of the Strip
• The Rafah Crossing with Egypt only allows for the transfer of people and has largely remained closed since the Israeli campaign in Gaza began in summer 2014
• Israel does not allow materials that it defines as “dual-use” into Gaza
• A new mechanism that is meant to allow materials in for use by the private sector has been operating for the last few months, yet what has entered is just a fraction of what is needed
• Five million tons of construction materials are needed in the Strip for rebuilding following the summer 2014 military campaign as well as to meet cumulative needs; however the amount of materials that entered Gaza in the latter half of 2014 represents about 3.9% of the total need.
Restrictions on the exit of goods from Gaza:
• Throughout 2014, an average of 19 truckloads of goods exited Gaza for the West Bank, less than 2% of what exited monthly on the eve of the closure in 2007
• Prior to 2007, some 85% of the goods that left Gaza were marketed in Israel and the West Bank
• Ever since Israel tightened the siege of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel has banned the marketing of goods to the West Bank and Israel
• Selected exports to Europe are allowed, but they are negligible in quantity and depend on European subsidies
During the first half of 2007, approximately 1,064 truckloads (TL) exited Gaza per month for sale in Israel, the West Bank and abroad, compared to 19 TL/month in 2014. As restrictions on the sale of goods from Gaza to the West Bank, once Gaza’s second market after Israel, were lifted, increases in exit of goods were seen in November and December.
Travel between Gaza and the West Bank:
• The only crossings through which people are permitted to travel to and from the Gaza Strip are Beit Hanoun/Erez (with Israel) and Rafah (with Egypt)
• Israel allows passage through Beit Hanoun/Erez to some merchants, otherwise only “in exceptional humanitarian cases, with an emphasis on urgent medical cases”
• After the summer 2014 military campaign, Israel changed some of the criteria for travel from Gaza, but these remain very narrow
Travel from Gaza to the outside world:
• Until 2013, such travel took place mostly through Egypt
• The average number of crossings per month in both directions at the Rafah Crossing in 2014 was approximately 8,119, compared with an average of 25,147 departures and arrivals in 2013
• Through its control of the Palestinian population registry, Israel has indirect control over the issuing of Palestinian passports, which are required for travel through the Rafah Crossing
During 2014, Rafah operated erratically. Operations at Erez were further restricted during Israel's intensive military operation, while afterwards relatively expanded.