Thursday, September 3, 2009

A UN Special Focus on Gaza Under Siege

By Stephen Lendman
Palestine Chronicle

"In August 2009, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a special report titled: "Locked In: The Humanitarian Impact of Two Years of Blockade on the Gaza Strip." It focuses on import and export restrictions, the travel ban on "livelihoods, food security, education, health, shelter, energy and water, and sanitation." It explains how violence and human rights abuses increase the suffering of 1.5 million people......

In Summary

For over two years under siege, including months post-conflict, Gaza has endured "a protracted (humanitarian) crisis that is reflected in almost every aspect of daily life:" their livelihoods, income, enough food, too little of the nutritious kinds, medical care for the seriously ill, enough electricity and fuel, no homes for many thousands, the ability to rebuild, and other collective punishments.

Pre-siege, over 4,000 products, commodities, medicines, materials, and other items entered freely. Now it's around three to four dozen in limited quantities, gradually being increased to include small amounts of others. Yet most basics are denied - most food items, medicines called "dual use," light bulbs, fabrics, needles, candles, matches, mattresses, blankets and sheets, cutlery, books, coffee and tea, cigarettes, clothing and shoes, and much more, things posing no threat to Israel or planned for "dual use."

As a result, most Gazans "report a growing sense of being trapped: physically, intellectually and emotionally." Their ability to cope and survive is severely challenged. Efforts by humanitarian organizations are no match for Israel's malicious intransigency. The UN's most senior humanitarian official, John Holmes, expressed frustration saying:

"Protection, food, water, healthcare, and shelter are basic human needs, not bargaining chips. This fact must be recognized by all parties responsible for the immense suffering in Gaza."

Many others express similar sentiments to marshal support for global action, hold Israel accountable under international law, free Gazans now entrapped, and end an illegal occupation so Palestinians can live freely on their own land without fear."

No comments: