Rights Groups Urge End to Gaza Blockade
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Human rights organizations and civil groups called on the Israeli regime to immediately end the blockade it has imposed on the Gaza Strip, amid a dire fuel and power crisis in the Palestinian territory.
Gaza's sole power plant has stopped working for over a month due to the fuel crisis caused by the Israel’s siege.
The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), which represents more than 130 Palestinian civil society organizations, has called on the international community to end the continuous Israeli siege.
“It is an urgent appeal from the Palestinian civil society in order to intervene immediately to save the lives of 1.8 million Palestinians who are living under serious catastrophic conditions due to the shortage of fuel [and] electricity cuts,” Amjad Shawa, the director of the PNGO said in an interview with Press TV.
Rights activists also criticized the Egyptian army as well as the Israeli regime for preventing the people in Gaza from accessing most of their basic goods like construction materials, food, and fuel.
“Since the Egyptian coup at the beginning of July, Egypt has seemingly been competing with Israel to impose the harshest possible siege conditions here. Because of their restrictions, the supplies of fuel and electricity have reached a severe crisis point. Power is off for as many hours a day as I can remember in my time here,” said human rights activist Joe Catron.
On December 1, Amnesty International issued a statement, saying, “Israel must immediately lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, including by allowing the delivery of fuel and other essential supplies into the territory without restrictions.”
“This latest harsh setback has exacerbated the assault on the dignity of Palestinians in Gaza and the massive denial of rights they have experienced for more than six years because of Israel’s blockade, together with restrictions imposed by Egypt,” the statement added.
Israel imposed an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade on Gaza in June 2007.
The siege has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the impoverished enclave, having turned the territory into the world’s largest open-air prison.
In recent months, fuel and electricity shortages in Gaza have worsened as the Egyptian military has blocked supply tunnels leading into the region.
The underground tunnels serve as a lifeline for the Palestinians in Gaza.
The blockaded Gaza is now experiencing daily power outages of up to 16 hours. Hospitals, homes, water and sanitation plants as well as businesses have also been affected by the serious energy shortage.
The power cut has caused the failure of sewerage and water plants. It has also put the lives of many hospitalized patients in danger.
According to the UN, all 291 water and wastewater facilities in the Gaza Strip are now relying on standby generators, which are also affected by the fuel shortages.