Alwaght-An Arab Israeli has described the situation in the besieged Gaza Strip as desperate following a crippling blockade imposed by the Israeli regime since 2007.
In an interview with Irseali regime-based daily, Haaretz, Salah Haj Yahya has said, “Gaza is cloaked in desperation. You feel it the minute you cross the border. It’s like traveling to another world.”
Yahya runs a mobile clinic on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights and leads medical teams going to Gaza. He says the situation in Gaza is getting worse while describing the besieged Palestinian territory as a sad place where there is no water, no electricity with children dying unnecessarily.
Calls to end Israeli Blockade on Gaza
This interview came days after Head of the Popular Committee for Resisting the Siege (PCRS), Jamal Al-Khadri, called on the world to work on making 2017 the year that ends the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip. Speaking last Thursday near the Beit Hanoun, Al-Khadri pointed out that there is need for concerted efforts by Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and the international community to end the illegal and immoral siege.
The Palestinian activist pointed out that all of the international and UN reports, and even the Israeli reports, talk about the dangerous situation in Gaza and warn against the dangers the situation causes. He said the desperate situation in Gaza requires an immediate response to end the suffering that has continued for a decade.
The Gaza Strip has been under an illegal Israeli siege since 2007 which was imposed following the democratic election of Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. The inhumane blockade has led to a dramatic decline in the standards of living as well as acute levels of unemployment and poverty.
ICC urged to probe Israeli war crimes in Gaza
Last November, Palestinian human rights groups have urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a probe into Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has deprived two million Palestinians of their fundamental rights. Human rights activists say the Israeli apartheid regime rulers are responsible for “committing genocide” in Gaza.
The Israeli regime has conducted three brutal wars on Gaza. The first one was in 2008–09, the second one in 2012 and the third one in 2014 in which over 2,200 Palestinians were brutally killed, including 577 children. Over 11,100 others were wounded and thousands of homes destroyed. Due to the heroic resistance by Palestinians, the Israeli regime failed to attain its stated objectives in all the above wars on Gaza.
The Israeli regime continues to carry out deadly attacks on the besieged Palestinian enclave from time to time.
The World Bank says the 2014 war onn Gaza created a humanitarian crisis and impacted the enclave's economy which continues to suffer to this day with losses amounting to US$1.7 billion. This global financial institution notes that at the current pace of recovery, Gaza’s economy is not expected to rebound to its pre-war level until 2018.
The World Bank adds that unemployment rates are higher in Gaza, at 42%, and youth unemployment is at 58%. Although nearly 80% of Gaza’s residents receive some form of aid, poverty is very high.
Immediate former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called on the Israeli regime to end its siege on the Gaza Strip.
Gaza is a tinderbox
In his last briefing to the UN Security Council as the UN chief, Ban said, “Gaza is a tinderbox and certain to explode unless movement and access restrictions are lifted and humanitarian needs are addressed.” He said that the increasing pressure of settlement and restrictions on the Gaza Strip are the main obstacles to sustainable development in the Occupied Territories.
In mid-October last year, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov raised concerns over the dire conditions in Gaza and said the Israeli regime must understand that punitive measures could trigger a new conflict between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian resistance movements.
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has warned that the next Israeli war on Gaza would be a decisive one and reiterated that Hamas is ready to confront the Israeli regime.