[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
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Analysts say China moving back toward 1950s-era public trials aimed at shaming and intimidation.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
In Vietnam, 40 percent of all pregnancies are terminated each year, a rate that health officials are hoping to reduce.
join our mailing list