Ten Years Later - Let Gaza Live
The Gaza Strip may already have passed the point of viability, three years faster than the United Nations predicted in 2012, according to a report released today by the international agency. Addressing grave humanitarian concerns, including no power, no drinkable water and an extraordinarily high unemployment rate among youth, which now comprises nearly 50 percent of the population of 2 million people, UN humanitarian chief Robert Piper told news media today that the Gaza Strip may already be unlivable.
The dire humanitarian situation, caused by Israel’s blockade on Gaza – supported by Egypt – and three major Israeli military attacks between 2008 and 2014 that cumulatively killed nearly 4,000 Palestinians, is beyond comprehension. Consider these facts, according to the UN report, "Gaza: Ten Years Later":
- 96 percent of the water supply is unsafe for drinking.
- The only water aquifer will be rendered unusable by the end of 2017 and will be irreparably damaged.
- For domestic water use, 50 percent of the population receives water for eight hours a day, every four days.
- Residents have electricity for between two and four hours per day.
- Raw sewage is flowing into the Mediterranean Sea because of damaged water treatment plants and lack of rebuilding material, which is prohibited under Israel’s siege. Swimming is no longer allowed.
- More than 1,000 new hospital beds are needed to meet demand.
- More than 1,000 new doctors are needed to meet demand.
- The housing shortage – caused by intense property destruction in Israel’s three attacks and natural population growth – has exceeded 120,000 homes.
"I see this extraordinarily inhuman and unjust process of strangling gradually two million civilians in Gaza that really pose a threat to nobody," Robert Piper, UN coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told Reuters.
We cannot sit idly by while the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip suffer under these deplorable conditions. We must continue to speak out loudly and often until the siege is lifted and the 2 million people in Gaza can reclaim their inalienable human rights.
2. Call Todd Holmstrom at the State Department to assert the siege violates international law prohibiting collective punishment.
Israel’s siege on Gaza, which is supported by Egypt, violates international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Conventions prohibition of collective punishment.
Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.”
As an occupier, Israel has the legal obligation to ensure a quality of life for Palestinians.
Prohibiting construction materials into the battered Gaza Strip, allowing sewage to leak into the Mediterranean Sea, allowing electricity to be cut to just two to four hours per day and prohibiting the free movement of Palestinians in Gaza violate Palestinians’ right to a quality of life.
The United States presents itself as the protector of human rights around the word. To continue to unconditionally support Israel, when the world can see its gross violations of human rights, hurts our credibility globally and threatens our national interests.
The State Department must pressure Israel and Egypt to open the borders with Gaza, allow the free flow of goods and people and allow for the unfettered reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.