Hope and despair over health in GazaBMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38993.390822.68 (Published 19 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:845
All rapid responses
Solutions to Gaza's health and social problems suggested by
Hill,Clark,Lubbad and Bruderlein include 'planning for
development,productive employment and free movement of people and
goods'.As the people of Gaza are trapped inside a small parcel of land
surrounded by Israel there is no free movement of people and goods, little
meaningful employment and no effective means of trading with the wider
Much of EU and international groups' efforts in Palestine to
establish industry and improve agricultural production is so undermined by
these restrictions that products rot for want of an export route.
The sea offers an alternative trading route, but Gaza has no port fit
for purpose. This presents the EU with an opportunity to mitigate the
economic stranglehold and make a real difference to the Palestinians’
health and well-being.
We propose that the EU funds the design, build and long-term
management of an appropriate container port facility, in co-operation with
the Palestinian Authority. The objective would be to facilitate trade,
provide jobs and give the Palestinian Authority an opportunity to
demonstrate good governance through their involvement.
This extension of EU involvement aims to inhibit Israeli objections
and any attempts to stop the facility. Equally an EU presence would work
to prevent corruption and damaging power struggles among certain
Such a major EU commitment not only ensures that medicines and other
healthcare products would freely enter Gaza, but by providing jobs and
trade will help alleviate poverty and so improve public health. In the
event of a viable Palestinian state being established this facility would
fuel the development of the region.
Robin Cornell, Ruth Taylor FRCGP.
Competing interests: No competing interests