Sixteen rights groups call on EU to lift Israel siege on Gaza / PHOTO

The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to end an Israeli blockade, 16 rights groups said.

Sixteen rights groups call on EU to lift Israel siege on Gaza / PHOTO

The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to end an Israeli blockade which is preventing reconstruction and recovery, 16 rights groups, including Amnesty International and Oxfam, said Tuesday.

The report said that Israel was in violation of international humanitarian law by enforcing a collective punishment with an indiscriminate blockade on Gaza -- punishing all for the acts of a few.



The groups said that Israel had allowed only 41 truckloads of construction materials into Gaza since a devastating 22-day war launched by the Jewish state nearly a year ago ended with mutual ceasefires on January 18, adding that thousands of such deliveries would be needed to repair homes.

Little of the extensive damage the offensive caused to homes, civilian infrastructure, public services, farms and businesses has been repaired because of the shortages, the report said.

"It is not only Israel that has failed the people of Gaza with a blockade that punishes everybody living there for the acts of a few," said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.



"World powers have also failed and even betrayed Gaza's ordinary citizens. They have wrung hands and issued statements, but have taken little meaningful action to attempt to change the damaging policy that prevents reconstruction."

"They have wrung hands and issued statements, but have taken little meaningful action to attempt to change the damaging policy that prevents reconstruction, personal recovery and economic recuperation," he added in a statement.

Israel and Egypt imposes siege into the occupied land home to 1.5 million people since June 2007.



Israel controls all but one of Gaza's border crossings, the Rafah terminal with Egypt, which Cairo keeps closed, drawing anger with people.

Call to EU

The report, signed by 16 international and European humanitarian and human rights groups, was released to coincide with the first anniversary of the Israeli offensive.

The report called on European foreign ministers to visit Gaza to see the damage for themselves and urged the EU to do all it can to lift the blockade.

It said that 90 percent of people in Gaza suffer power cuts of four to eight hours a day. Poor water quality was also a major concern for aid agencies, with diarrhoea causing 12 percent of young deaths.



"Sick, traumatised and impoverished people are being collectively punished by a cruel, illegal policy imposed by the Israeli authorities," said Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK.

"Israel's responsibility to protect its citizens does not give it the right to punish every man, woman and child of Gaza," she added.

Israel killed nearly 1500 Palestinians in Gaza offensive and destroyed homes, hospitals, schools, mosques in the besieged land.

Other groups signing the report include: Broederlijk Delen, CAFOD, CCFD Terre Solidaire, Christian Aid, Church of Sweden, Diakonia, Finn Church Aid, Medical Aid for Palestinians, medico international, medico international schweiz, Mercy Corps, MS ActionAid Denmark, Trocaire, and United Civilians for Peace.


Agencies

Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2009, 14:29
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