Palestinian NGO appeals to UN chief to pressure Israel to lift blockade of Gaza

Gaza /PNN/

A Palestinian anti-siege group has appealed to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to improve the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip by pressuring the Israeli regime to lift its years-long crippling siege of the impoverished enclave.

Palestinian lawmaker Jamal al-Khudari, who is the head of the Popular Committee against the Siege on Gaza (PCAS), made the comments in a statement.

“The situation in the Gaza Strip entails urgent and decisive intervention from the UN Secretary-General to pressure the occupation to lift the siege,” said Khudari, stressing that “ending the Israeli blockade will contribute to saving the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. It has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

Figures show that 85 percent of Gazans are currently living under the poverty line, according to Khudari. Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

Elsewhere in his statement, Khudari stressed that “the blockade is immoral and inhuman, and contradicts all principles of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The economic situation across Palestinian lands worsened earlier this year after the US cut all its financial aid for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

The cuts in the humanitarian aid were soon hitting hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people, especially in Gaza, where 80 percent are dependent on aid.

Since March 30 last year, the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip have been holding the “Great March of Return” rallies, demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression since 1967.

Israeli troops have killed nearly 310 Palestinians since the beginning of the rallies and wounded more than 18,000 others, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.