News Release – For immediate release – Monday, June 14, 2010
Three Years of Gaza Closure – By the Numbers
June 2007-June 2010: The Gaza Strip border crossings are closed; Restrictions on the passage of goods and people
- The closure of the Gaza Strip applies to a coastal strip 360 km² in area (139 mi²).
|Gaza is just over twice the size of Washington, DC. Gaza is about the same size as Seattle and Philadelphia and one-third the size of New York City. Israel is 22,072 km² – Gaza could fit into Israel more than 61 times!
Israel allows in only items defined as basic products “essential to the survival of the civilian population”.
- The number of types of items Israel allows into the Gaza Strip: 114. Before the closure: more than 4000 individual items.
|A large Israeli supermarket carries 10,000-15,000 items.
- Among the items whose passage Israel forbids: vinegar, children’s toys, cocoa, chewing gum, paper and musical instruments.
- Truckloads of goods entering Gaza: an average of around 2,300 per month. Before the closure: 10,400 per month (truckloads now entering Gaza thus equals about 25% of pre-closure total).
|30,000 trucks enter Manhattan each day (population of almost 1.6 million people).
- Israel prevents the transfer of raw materials for industry as part of its “economic warfare” policy designed to prevent economic activity in Gaza as a means of pressure: it forbids the transfer to Gaza of large blocks of margarine intended for industrial usage yet allows in small packages of margarine for household consumption; it bans the transfer of rubber, glue and nylon which are used in the production of diapers in the Strip, yet allows the transfer of diapers produced in Israel; and it prevents the transfer of industrial salt, glucose and plastic containers used to produce tahini paste but allows in Israeli-made tahini paste. According to estimates by the Palestinian Federation of Industries, more than 90% of Gaza’s factories belonging to the Federation are closed or working at minimum capacity.
- Export: since the closure (June 2007-today): 259 trucks have left Gaza; before the closure: an average of 70 trucks per day left Gaza (2005). In three years, Israel has permitted exports totaling less than what used to be exported in four days.
|The Israeli food company Tnuva sends out 400 trucks per day from its factory to destinations all over Israel.
- Cooking gas: an average of 2,500 tons per month transferred to Gaza. The demand: 6,000 tons per month.
- Unemployment: 33.9% in the first quarter of 2010.
- Actual participation in the workforce: 36.3% (304,900 people). 65% of the population live below the poverty line.
- Supported by international aid organizations: 80% of the population.
Israel allows the passage of people into and out of Gaza only “in humanitarian and exceptional cases”.
- The Rafah Crossing: closed since June 2007 except for occasional and limited openings that meet 8% of the needs of the residents of the Gaza Strip. In 2010 thus far, an average of 3,192 people passed through the crossing monthly. Before the closure: an average of about 40,000 people traveled through the crossing.
|An average of 910,000 people transit through Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport each month. An average of 125,000 people cross through the Allenby Bridge Crossing (between Israel and Jordan) every month.
- Not humanitarian according to Israel: A visit by a woman living in the West Bank to her husband in the Gaza Strip; children visiting their father in the Gaza Strip; a son from Gaza visiting his dying mother in Jordan (“family ties in themselves do not constitute sufficient humanitarian justification for travel”); students going to study in the West Bank and abroad; travel by merchants for the purposes of trade; travel for training and more.
- Untreated or partially treated sewage dumped into the sea: 80 million liters per day.
- More than 90% of water is polluted (its origin is the Gaza Strip aquifer).
- 660 schools; 453,258 students; an average of 38 students per classroom; two shifts of school per day.
- In 2009, 38,317 students graduated and were supposed to be absorbed by the labor market.
Construction and Rehabilitation
- 86,000 housing units need to be constructed to meet the needs of the population (due both to natural growth and the destruction caused by the war).
- 3,956,000 tons of cement are needed.
- 653,600 tons of steel are needed.
- 129 million meters of electric cables are needed.
- Building materials whose transfer Israel prevents: cement, gravel, iron, marble, wood.