It is now three months since the end of the latest round of conflict in Gaza between Hamas and Israel. Last December and January this conflict topped the news agenda and the world was appalled by the shocking and disproportionate force against the civilian Palestinian population which was literally trapped inside the Gaza enclave. More than 1300 Palestinians (an estimated 400 of them children) lost thier lives in the military operation and some 5000 suffered serious and debilitating injuries.
- No construction materials, industrial/electrical appliances, livestock, vehicles/transport and/or any other type of commodity were allowed entry this week.
- Fishing continues to be restricted to three nautical miles only, causing major losses to fishermen. Sardines were not available last week in the market even though the sardine season has already started. Fish imported from Israel (at 30-40 NIS per kg) was available.
- On 19 March COGAT (the Israeil authority in charge of access in and out of the OPT) refused clearance for tomato paste, white tahine, macaroni and jam to Gaza. This decision meant that 150 pallets of food parcels (approximately 6 truck-loads) were prevented from delivery to Gaza.
- Plastic floor mats were rejected by COGAT, the reason being their potential use in mosques.
- No petrol or diesel for public use was allowed entry from Israel to Gaza during the reporting period. Petrol and diesel were last allowed entry for public use on 2 November 2008.
- A total of 2,159,620 litres of industrial gas for the Gaza Power Plant was allowed in; similar to the amount being allowed in during the last seven weeks. This amount represents only 69% of the required weekly needs set by the Power Plant authority.
- As of 25 March one out of the six Gaza flour mills is still not operating (El Bader Mill), destroyed during the military operation. The total stock of wheat flour at the Gaza mills stands at 11,300 tons, sufficient for approximately 25 days.
- The Crossing Points, controlled by Israel (except for Rafah which is mainly controlled by Egypt) have been more or less sealed off. This is the latest status report for the last week of March: Sufa crossing was last open on 12 September 2008. Karni crossing was closed. Karni grain conveyor belt was operational on three days. Karni cement lane has been completely closed since 29 October 2008. Rafah border crossing was closed for cargo on all days during the reporting period.