A UN human rights expert has welcomed the announcement last Monday that Israel and Hamas have reached an understanding to halt hostilities, but he warned that the Gaza Strip does not need temporary solutions.
Michael Lynk, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, said in recent remarks that the true agreement on Gaza should only lead to full respect for the fundamental rights of the two million Palestinians living there.
“Gaza has been reduced to a humanitarian whisper”, Lynk added.
“Behind the current hostilities – the launching of rockets and incendiary balloons by Palestinian armed groups and the disproportionate use of targeted missile strikes by Israel – is the long-term impoverishment of Gaza by Israel’s 13-year-old comprehensive blockade.”
The UN expert outlined some of the issues resulting from the prolonged blockade, such as a collapsing healthcare system, high unemployment, and inadequate and unreliable power supplies.
“Gaza is on the verge of becoming unliveable”, he said. “There is no comparable situation in the world where a substantial population has endured such a permanent lockdown, largely unable to travel or trade, and controlled by an occupying power in breach of its solemn international human rights and humanitarian obligations. Our international standards of dignity and morality do not allow such experiments in human despair.”