Israel is collectively punishing innocent civilians by withholding and controlling food and medicine to Gaza, says Christian Aid.
Despite repeated calls from the international community, Gaza remains closed to food and medicine. For almost one and a half years, 1.5 million Palestinians have endured collective punishment as a result of Israel’s tight closure of Gaza.
In recent weeks the situation has once again deteriorated further with a resurgence of violence. Last week, UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for assisting Palestinian refugees, announced that it had run out of food to distribute. With 80 per cent of the population dependent upon food aid, the situation is critical but the crossings into Gaza – the only points of entry for people and goods - remain tightly closed.
Says Costa Dabbagh, from Near East Council of Churches, a Christian Aid partner, "It is not acceptable for us to be waiting for food to come. We want to live freely with Israel and other countries in peace, we are not against any individual or government, but we are against imprisonment."
Despite an agreement on cessation of violence since June 2008, Gazans remain isolated from the world and continue to live in abject poverty. Although getting food supplies into Gaza is a vital first step, Christian Aid believes steps must be taken to resolve the political crisis before people will see a real change in their lives.