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Israeli rights group calls on Israel to stop punishing measures against Gaza

An Israeli rights group on Thursday called for Israeli occupation authorities to immediately stop the punishing measures against the besieged Gaza Strip and to allow the entry of fuel, commodities and essential equipment needed to fight COVID-19.

The Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement (Gisha) confirmed that the authorities in Gaza: “Have extended the general lockdown in the strip by 72 hours, ending Sunday. Movement between Gaza’s districts is forbidden.”

Amidst the difficult situation, Gisha announced: “Only medical facilities and essential services, such as bakeries and water distribution centres, are open. Schools, businesses, mosques and public institutions are all shut. Residents have been instructed to wear masks when leaving their homes to shop for essentials. Kerem Shalom Crossing has been [partially] reopened.”

Gisha stated that Israel continues its unjustified punishment against Gaza. “At this time of great alarm and uncertainty, Israel continues to block entry of fuel into Gaza, including the power plant, which has been shut down since 18 August,” the rights group disclosed.

It reiterated that the lack of electricity: “Jeopardises hospitals, quarantine centres, waste disposal and water desalination and distribution services, and basic household tasks, including refrigeration of goods, at a time when residents are forced to stay in their homes.”

Meanwhile, the group explained: “Israel is also continuing to enforce a full maritime closure, in effect since 16 August, harming an important source of food and income in Gaza. Since 11 August, it has also barred entry of construction materials.”

Concluding its statement, the Israeli rights group urged: “Israel must immediately reverse its measures of collective punishment and allow access to fuel, essential goods and all that is needed to protect food security for Gaza’s residents, and enable economic activity to the greatest possible extent at this time.”