Geneva - Urgent letters were sent by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor to a number of international officials, most notably the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
In the letter, Euro-Med Monitor called for an urgent international meeting to end the humanitarian crisis crippling the lives of two million people in the Gaza Strip as a result of the 12-year-long Israeli blockade and the severe cuts by the Palestinian Authority.
The letter stated that the recent calls for demonstrations next Friday on Gaza-Israel border reflects the imminent collapse in the Gaza Strip.
In another letter sent to a number of high-level international figures, Euro-Med Monitor urged recipients to work to ensure the safety of the protesters in the intended 46-day sit-in-area. The letter also called on the parties to discuss with the concerned countries ways to bring about an urgent and prompt end to the crisis while also ensuring Gazans’ right to a peaceful protest against the tight blockade and closure of Gaza.
The parties addressed in the above-mentioned letter includes: The Presidency of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Coordinator of the Middle East Peace Process, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, as well as the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has affected all aspects of life in the coastal enclave, while the PA’s recent cuts of public servants’ salaries, electricity fuel and medicine have only worsened the crisis.
With the 20-hour daily power cuts, “the normal life system has been put on hold and with it the lives of nearly two million Palestinians, while hospitals are now hardly operable,” the letter read.
UNRWA and PA employees have already staged major sit-ins protesting their salary cuts or employment termination, which affected their ability to provide basic needs of their families.
With the continued closure of Gaza’s border crossings, thousands of students and patients are still locked inside Gaza and are unable to leave. As a result, dozens of students have already lost their scholarships and a handful of patients lost their lives.
According to recent report published by Euro-Med Monitor, “97% of Gaza’s water is unfit for human consumption.” Thanks to the continued power cuts, Gaza’s sewage and water systems, have come to a near collapse. Huge amounts of untreated sewage have been pumped into the sea, further polluting it, spreading diseases and closing Gaza’s only place of entertainment.
In the Gaza Strip, 41% of Palestinian refugees lack food security, while 47.2% are unemployed. That is, 924,000 of refugees in Gaza alone depend on UNRWA’s relief aid, while over 562.000 have been living below the poverty line.
Following the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014, the reconstruction of destroyed houses has barely progressed. Some 4,400 completely destroyed houses have not been rebuilt yet. 2,000 houses need considerable reparations and 47,000 need minor reparations.
Concluding the letter, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called on the United Nations and the European Union to take initiative by exerting serious pressure on the parties concerned (Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority), to hold an urgent meeting to discuss possible ways to end the suffering and plight of Gaza in the face of an imminent collapse.