Palestinian rights center warns of deteriorating conditions in Gaza

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-19 01:12:48|Editor: Chengcheng
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GAZA, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian human rights center warned Sunday that the Gaza Strip is on the path to become incapable of adequately supporting human life before 2020.

In its annual report, the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said deterioration of humanitarian conditions during 2017 was beyond all expectations.

The deterioration is the result of various human rights violations, said he report, adding that the most influential violation is the Israeli blockade, which has been in place since 2007.

Al-Mezan's 2017 annual report showed that the internal Palestinian division between Fatah and Hamas political parties has led to "catastrophic decline in development and governance," leaving the entire Gaza Strip out of the span of developmental planning.

Gaza has been placed under a tight Israeli blockade since Islamic Hamas movement seized the territory by force after routing forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

In the recent six years, Israel and Hamas movement have been engaged in three major wars that claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.

The blockade has pushed Gaza's 2 million populations deeper into poverty with inflating unprecedented unemployment rates.

According to the report, Israeli forces killed in Gaza 31 Palestinians and injured 618 others, including 160 children and nine women during 2017.

"Some 54 patients from Gaza lost their lives as a direct result of having their permits delayed or rejected, which denied their access to hospitals outside the Gaza Strip ... shortages in drugs and medical disposables reached a peak in the past five years," according to the report.

The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism, which was introduced in 2014 following Israel's assault on Gaza, has failed to bring about the desired outcomes as 53 percent of the houses that were completely destroyed had been reconstructed by the end of 2017, according to the report.

"2017 marked the lowest recorded percentage in exports since 2000, at 2 percent of the total trade ... the closure and blockade incurred economic losses of 16 million U.S. dollars a month," the report added.

According to the report, unemployment rose to 46.6 percent in the Gaza Strip, with unemployment rate of youth exceeding 60 percent.

With this report, the center expected that deterioration in the situation of economic, social and cultural rights in Gaza will continue as far as the Israeli blockade and the intra-Palestinian political division are not brought to an end.

"These two factors result in serious human rights violations that have had devastating cumulative effects, leading to aggravated human suffering amid shrinking opportunities for amelioration and absence of political stability," the report said.

The center urged the international community to honor its moral and legal obligations by intervening swiftly and effectively to lift the closure and blockade and to pressure Israeli authorities to comply with rules of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Al-Mezan center has also called on all Palestinian political powers to work together to end the internal division and end the duality in the political system.

"A comprehensive process of reconciliation involving all political powers and civil society must be supported to achieve unity, which is essential in preventing the collapse of the Gaza Strip," the report noted.