Israel closes Gaza crossings; possible serious deterioration of humanitarian conditions

Israel closes Gaza crossings; possible serious deterioration of humanitarian conditions

Closure of the crossings would affect fuel supplies, power plants, and access to drinking water and medicine.

reposted from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, May 9, 2023

On Tuesday at dawn, 9 May 2023, Israel launched several attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Al Mezan’s documentation shows that the Israeli attacks killed 15 Palestinians, including four children and four women, and injured 20 others. All were killed or injured while sleeping in their homes.

In parallel to its aggression, Israel further tightened its unlawful closure measures on Gaza by shutting down Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings. Should the complete closure of Gaza by Israel continue, this would exacerbate the already grim living and humanitarian conditions of more than two million Palestinian living in the Strip.

Al Mezan recalls that over 64 percent of Gaza households experience food insecurity, with 40.65 percent experiencing severe food insecurity.

[RELATED: Understanding the Crisis in Gaza]

The closure of Erez, Gaza’s only pedestrian crossing with Israel, denies hundreds of medical patients access to hospitals in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel, or abroad—particularly those with serious diseases in need of life-saving medical treatment otherwise unavailable in Gaza due to Israel’s closure.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported in April 2023 that 255 drug items (43 percent of the essential medicine list) and 165 medical disposables (19 of the essential list) were at zero stock, including 27 of 63 essential drugs for cancer and blood diseases, with another seven items one to three months out of stock.

Notably, the Israeli authorities are also banning diagnostic devices from entering Gaza for the 18th consecutive month.

Furthermore, the closure of Karem Abu Salem, the only commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel, will affect fuel supplies, particularly those intended for the operation of Gaza’s sole power plant. Power outages would impact the work of hospitals, municipal operations, access to drinking water, and other vital basic services, and would cause a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

Israel’s recent escalation of violence and the tightening of closure measures come at a time when the Gaza Strip is experiencing a severe shortage of basic services and is unprepared to deal with a high number of casualties and damage to power and water networks.

While Israel continues its closure of the Gaza Strip for the 16th consecutive year, and conditions of unemployment and poverty increase, international support and UN services dwindle.

Just recently, the World Food Program (WFP) announced it will have to suspend its assistance to more than 200,000 Palestinians—60 percent of its beneficiaries—by 1 June 2023 due to a lack of funding.

Al Mezan reiterates its strongest condemnation of Israel’s aggression on Gaza and the complete closure of crossings, both of which exemplify Israel’s total disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law and its duties as an occupying power.

Accordingly, Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations towards the Palestinian people, to promptly intervene, and to unambiguously demand that Israel re-open Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings and immediately lift its 16-year closure and blockade on Gaza.

We also emphasize once again the need to activate international accountability mechanisms and prosecute those suspected of committing international crimes, including war crime and crimes against humanity, including apartheid.

Lastly, Al Mezan also calls on the international community to keep funding and supporting the WFP, UNRWA, and other relief and humanitarian organizations for the livelihood of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.


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