According to a BBC news post, UK-based human rights and development groups say that Gaza’s humanitarian situation is at its worst since Israel occupied the territory in 1967. The groups include Amnesty International, Save the Children, Cafod, Care International and Christian Aid. They criticise Israel’s blockade on Gaza as illegal collective punishment which fails to deliver security.
As a result of Israel’s crippling blockade, currently more than 1.1 million Gazan people (80% of the population) rely on humanitarian aid, unemployment runs at about 40% and 25-30% of Gazans have no running water; of 110,000 workers previously employed in the private sector, 75,000 have now lost their jobs, the report says. And to make the situation worse, last week Israeli forces launched a bloody and destructive raid in northern Gaza, in which more than 120 Palestinians – including many civilians – were killed.
The UK-based groups agree that Israel has the right and obligation to protect its citizens, urging both sides to cease unlawful attacks on civilians. But they call upon Israel to comply with its obligations, as the occupying power in Gaza, to ensure its inhabitants have access to food, clean water, electricity and medical care, which have been in short supply in the strip.
“Punishing the entire Gazan population by denying them these basic human rights is utterly indefensible,” said Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen. I totally agree. And Israel’s appalling and illegal behaviour also needs to be seen in a larger context: it is not only Gazan citizens that suffer; the same goes for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and even those living within Israel.
Consecutive governments since the foundation of the Jewish state have objected the original inhabitants of the land that is now Israel to social and economic injustice as well as an arrogance that can only be described as racism. Palestinians’ legal and human rights are disrespected and abused, they lose their land without compensation, they suffer economic ruin form having their orchards flattened by bulldozers, and they are discriminated against in terms of education, social care and political and civic rights. The global Jewish community always reminds the world of the Holocaust, but it and the certainly most of the Western world conveniently overlook the oppression and suffering inflicted upon one semitic people by another.