Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) sent an urgent appeal to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, to intervene immediately and take effective measures to end the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, which has been escalating since the beginning of the unjust Israeli siege more than 17 years ago.
The letter was sent following the arbitrary Israeli decision to stop exports of products and goods from the Gaza Strip. This disastrous decision will have a severe impact on the sectors that depend on exports, especially the agricultural, fishing and clothing sectors which are the main sources of income for the residents of Gaza.
This arbitrary decision, along with the ongoing blockade and the restriction on the freedom of movement, has left the people of Gaza without any sources of livelihood.
Serious negative effects of this decision would double the suffering of the residents of the Gaza Strip and would threaten the ability of many factories and institutions to provide job opportunities, thus affecting the entire population of the Gaza Strip, who live in extremely difficult humanitarian conditions, where 61% of the Strip’s population suffers from poverty, while 47% suffer from unemployment.
The letter indicated that the decision threatens the agricultural sector in particular, and much constitutes 85% of total exports. It also threatens the entire fishing sector, as Gaza produces about 80 tons of fish on a monthly basis, and its losses are expected to reach 50%, which would make it impossible for most fishermen to afford the operational cost of their boats.
Losses threaten about 60,000 families whose members work in the fishing and agriculture sectors, while it would affect 70% of workers in the textile sector, which includes about 290 factories and 100 companies employing 9,000 workers.
This unjust decision is in line with the systematic abusive policy the Israeli occupation have been practising against the people of the Gaza Strip since 2006, when it imposed unjust siege on the Gaza Strip that continues till today, which restricted movement to and from the Gaza Strip. During the siege, the Israeli occupation destroyed various infrastructure in the sectors of education, health, and basic facilities such as electricity and water. It also imposed restrictions on the entry of humanitarian aid, on which more than 80% of the population of the Gaza Strip depend.
The letter also highlighted the double suffering of the people of the Gaza Strip through the restrictions imposed on them by the Egyptian side, which refuses the exit and entry of the people of Gaza most of the time, even for medical treatment, education, or family reunification. The Egyptian border guards also violate the rights of Palestinian fishermen, like the Israeli occupation.
The right to life is the most prominent right violated by the Israeli occupation forces, through repeated air attacks and brutal aggression at least once a year. It left more than 4,500 people dead, including more than 1,000 children, as well as thousands of injured people, most of whom suffer from permanent disabilities, and are not entitled to receive the necessary medical care due to the movement restrictions imposed on the people of the Gaza Strip.
The people of Gaza, already suffering from the long-term effects of the blockade, are now facing the consequences of these repeated attacks, with urgent needs related to health, shelter, livelihoods, material assistance, medicines and basic food supplies stopped by the Israeli occupation.
AOHR UK stressed that the responsibility for lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip and finding urgent solutions to the escalating humanitarian crisis, which is considered a form of collective punishment imposed by the occupation on the Palestinians, falls on the international community, including the Arab and Islamic countries. AOHR UK also warned that international silence allows the Israeli occupation to commit more of its brutal crimes against the bereaved Palestinian people.