One year ago, the Gaza strip was ravaged by an Israeli military operation (‘Protective Edge’) that lasted 50 days. This hugely disproportionate conflict saw the Gaza strip devastated, with entire neighbourhoods left in ruins.
Over 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed, and a third of them were children. Six Israeli civilians were also killed by Palestinian militant rocket fire.
Today, over 100,000 people still remain displaced in Gaza – living in temporary accommodation, with extended families or at UN schools.
Not a single destroyed home has been rebuilt in Gaza in the last 12 months.
Due to an economic blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt, less than 1% of the construction materials required to rebuild and repair houses destroyed and damaged during the 2014, and previous hostilities, have so far entered Gaza.
The UN has said “the extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come”.
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We have been here before. Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, Operation Cast Lead in 2009, Operation Warm Winter in 2008 and so on. These cycles of military operations in Gaza happen with alarming regularity. Without accountability for grave breaches of international law, a climate of impunity exists. We see history repeating itself with the repeated devastation of Gaza and an incredible loss of civilian life.
If action is not taken to challenge impunity, another round of conflict in Gaza in the coming years is all but guaranteed. We need meaningful pressure to be put on Israel and the Palestinian Authority by the international community.
Trócaire has been responding on the ground in Gaza over the last year, providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities including providing medical supplies, food and blankets and providing counselling to traumatised victims.
We are also working with human rights organisations to provide legal aid to affected families in their search for justice, and are working with both Israelis and Palestinians to build a long term peace based on international law.
This week Trócaire tied ribbons to the railings of Merrion Square, Dublin, and St Mary's, Chapel Lane, Belfast, for each of the children killed in the war (see images below).
For more background information on the conflict, please visit our partner’s websites:
Learn more about Trócaire's work in Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Israel.