Gaza: Final days of Paul Murphy’s Gaza tour

The reality of life in Gaza

As reported previously here and here on Paul Murphy MEP has been visiting the Gaza strip this week to witness and report on the squalid conditions forced upon the people of Gaza by the vicious and illegal Israeli blockade. Below we publish extracts from Paul’s blog dealing with his third and fourth days in Gaza and a video interview with Paul and Marisa Matias, another MEP, who is also part of the visiting delegation.

"Back on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, with our bus headed towards Cairo, our visit to Gaza has come to an end. Although far too short, it has given me a real insight into the devastating effects of the blockade as well as the potential for things to be so different. In many of the meetings we had today and yesterday, the all-consuming effect of the siege on daily life was clear, despite people’s attempts to simply get on with things. Even just driving around, the devastating lack of basic infrastructure is clear – with literally no traffic lights and the roads in very bad disrepair."

"The same picture of constant crisis-management featured in our discussions with the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility this morning. Two major water crises face the people of Gaza – a significant lack of available fresh water for people together with a completely inadequate sewage system. Both of these are as a result of the blockade and the policies of the Israeli regime."

Coastline in Gaza

"Yesterday, we also met the fishermen who have to fish in these waters. Despite the fact that under the Oslo accord, Gazan fishermen were to be allowed to fish up to 20 miles off of Gaza, the Israeli occupation has imposed a reduction of that limit to three miles. This, understandably, has a devastating effect on the prospects for fishing, with much smaller fish being caught and a reduction in the fish stocks of those fish as a result of all of the fishermen fishing in the same area. The fishing industry, which could be an export industry for Gaza, has been almost destroyed as a result. Around 50% of the 3,500 fishermen who previously fished in Gaza have been forced out as there are simply not enough fish to be caught."

To read Pauls full blog visit his website here

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November 2011