10 Years Later: Let Gaza Live!
Last summer, more 13,000 colorful kites filled the sky over the sea of Gaza. They were being flown by 13,000 Palestinian children, who set a Guinness Book of World Records for the most kites being flown at the same time. It was the fourth world record for the Palestinian kids participating in summer camps hosted by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the last couple of years.
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:
- 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.