The ceasefire agreed between the Government of Israel and Hamas on 21 November 2012, following the recent military escalation in Gaza and southern Israel, provides an unprecedented opportunity to end the cycle of violence that has affected too many innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians. In the ceasefire understanding, the parties agreed to negotiate 'opening the crossings' into the Gaza Strip and to put an end to 'restricting residents' free movement and targeting residents in border areas'. It is therefore also a unique chance to once and for all lift the Israeli blockade on Gaza, which has had a devastating impact on the lives and well-being of Gaza's civilian population and on Palestinian development.
In this briefing note Oxfam sets out practical recommendations to better protect civilians on both sides from violence and to finally achieve an end to the collective punishment of Gaza's 1.6 million residents, whilst addressing Israel's security concerns. These are necessary steps towards lasting peace in the region and the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.