Press Releases

Israel Steps up Gaza Siege; Reduces Cooking Gas Allowed into Gaza: Al Mezan Condemns Israeli Siege and Calls International Community to Intervene

    Share :

17 November 2009 |Reference 91/2009

The Israeli siege and collective punishment of the Gaza Strip have continued, causing more deterioration to the human rights and humanitarian conditions.
The severe restrictions on imports and almost full prohibition of exports have brought economic productive activities to a halt in Gaza.
Recently, Israel reduced the amount of cooking Gaza it allows into the Gaza Strip, which makes life more difficult for households and food production activities that depend on cooking gas, such as bakeries.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemns the Israeli siege as a measure of indiscriminate collective punishment of 1.
6 million people in Gaza, and calls the international community to act urgently to bring it to an end.
  The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) procedures have destroyed Palestinian economy and; therefore, severely hampered the standards of living for Gazans.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have lost their jobs because of the siege measures.
They joined other tens of thousands unemployed people.
Palestinian private sector is at the brink of collapse and has no chance to survive unless international intervention creates quick, significant changes in the current situation.
  The Israeli siege has also obstructed all the efforts aimed at rehabilitating and reconstructing tens of thousands of homes and other civilian infrastructure.
Private and public properties that were destroyed during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip remain destroyed owing to the lack of the construction materials, which Israel does not allow into Gaza.
Families remain displaced and workers remain without work.
  Recently, since October 2009, the IOF has imposed further restrictions on the supply of cooking gas to the Gaza Strip.
Israel had allowed limited amounts of cooking gas into Gaza before that date.
According to Al Mezan's monitoring, IOF allowed 2550 tons of cooking gas into the Gaza Strip, a daily average of 85 tons, during September 2009.
In October, IOF reduced the amount to 1639 tons, i.
53 tons daily.
During the first half of November 2009, the IOF has further reduced the amount to reach 457 tons, i.
30 tons per day.
According to sources at the Ministry of National Economy, the average need for the Gaza Strip's gas consumption is about 280 tons per day.
The amount allowed into Gaza in November represents less than 10.
7% of the daily needs of Gaza population.
  The occupation authorities claim that this reduction is owed to technical problems related to moving the cooking gas pumps from Nahal Oz Crossing to Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) Crossing.
However, according to information collected by Al Mezan, the IOF has not moved the gas pumps, or made any steps towards moving them, until now.
Moreover, most of October cooking gas imports entered Gaza through Karm Abu Salem Crossing by means of large gas tanks.
  Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights warns from the serious consequences of reducing the cooking gas amounts, especially for hospitals, bakeries and households.
This reduction will only exacerbate an already deteriorated situation.
Al Mezan is gravely concerned by the implications of Israel's siege measures which violate basic human rights for Gazans, despite the world's condemnation.
As stated in the Goldstone Report, the set of human rights violations the siege causes, coupled with depriving Gazans from access to legal remedies, amount to persecution; a crime against humanity.
  Al Mezan expresses its outrage for the continued lack of any meaningful international protection of Gaza's population.
This only encourages IOF to continue with its serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.
Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to live up to its moral and legal responsibilities and take action to bring a swift end to this illegal collective punishment.