[QODLink]
Middle East
'Gaza situation worst since 1967'
Rights groups consider Israel's blockade of the Strip as illegal collective punishment.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2008 13:05 GMT
More than 80 per cent of Gaza's population is dependent on humanitarian food aid [AFP]

A new report has said that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is at its worst since Israel seized the territory in 1967.
 
The study released on Thursday was conducted by a coalition of eight British-based human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Save the Children.
The report found more than 80 per cent of Gaza's 1.1 million population are now dependent on food aid.
 
Unemployment has risen to 40 per cent after around 70 per cent of the 110,000 workers employed in the private sector lost their jobs.
The report comes just days after a spate of Israeli raids left more than 120 Palestinians dead.
 
It also said that hospitals are suffering from power cuts of up to 12 hours a day, and the water and sewage systems were close to collapse, with 40-50 million litres of sewage pouring into the sea daily.
 
The organisations called on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza and for both sides to stop cease cross-border attacks.
 
Blockade 'indefensible'
 
Gaza diaries


First-hand accounts from inside the strip.

Sewage on our doorstep

After the party

Birthday under siege

Not a life for children

Send us your views

Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty international said: "Israel has the right and obligation to protect its citizens, but as the occupying power in Gaza it also has a legal duty to ensure that Gazans have access to food, clean water, electricity and medical care.
 
"Punishing the entire Gazan population by denying them these basic human rights is utterly indefensible. The current situation is man-made and must be reversed."
 
Israel removed settlements and withdrew its forces from inside Gaza in 2005 but maintains control of most of Gaza's land, sea and air access.
 
After inter-Palestinian fighting left Hamas in de-facto control of Gaza in June, Israel closed the territory's borders, allowing only shipments of vital goods into Gaza.
 
Israel's defence ministry rejected the report, blaming Hamas for the hardships in Gaza.
 
"The main responsibility for events in Gaza - since the withdrawal of Israel from the territory and the uprooting of the settlements there - is the Hamas organisation, to which all complaints should be addressed," Major Peter Lerner, a defence ministry spokesman, said in a statement.
 
The Israeli defence ministry also said medicines and medical equipment are shipped into Gaza with no limitation. On Wednesday, the military said it allowed 69 truckloads of supplies into Gaza, including basic food and baby formula.
 
However, Zahir Janmohamed, the Middle East advocacy director for Amnesty International, told Al Jazeera: "The Israeli government needs to lift the blockade, humanitarian assistance is not reaching Palestinians and if things continue the way they are, then I'm worried that even more chaos will erupt."
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.