Movement of people through tourism, family visits is taking for granted by more than 1 billion tourists yearly. This is according to the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization). In one small region of the world tourism is wiped out, and movement of people a rare luxury. Since 2007 the 1.7 million residents of Gaza in Palestine, more than half of whom are children, have lived under a tight blockade that places a near complete ban on the movement of people and goods (including medical supplies, construction materials, mechanical parts, fuel, chemicals, raw materials for industrial production, electronic equipment, etc.). According to UN OCHA, as a result of the blockade:
•Fewer than 200 people per day were allowed out of Gaza via Israel in the first half of 2013
•57 percent of Gaza households are food insecure and approximately 80 percent receive some form of food assistance
•35.5 percent of those able and willing to work are unemployed – one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
•Due to fuel shortages there are power outages for up to 12 hours per day in most areas of Gaza
•Only 25 percent of households in Gaza receive running water every day, and then only for a few hours.
•Over 90 percent of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption, while needed filtration equipment cannot be imported to Gaza.
•Less than one truckload of goods per day were allowed out of Gaza during the first half of 2013
The blockade was implemented by Israel, with U.S. support, in order to weaken Hamas. However, after more than six years, it is clear that the blockade is a complete failure. It has not weakened Hamas. It has not increased security for Israel. And it has not increased the prospect of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. What it has done is increase poverty and suffering among the civilian population of Gaza.