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‘Israel responsible for patients’ deaths in Gaza’

Newborn babies at the intensive care unit are seen at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on 27 June, 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Newborn babies at the intensive care unit are seen at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on 27 June, 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israel must immediately lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and refrain from politicising the lives of civilians, a statement released by the organisations working for Palestine in Europe urged yesterday.

This comes after news that a number of children have died as a result of the siege on Gaza and due to the lack of access to medical care outside of the beleaguered Strip. Israel is said to be ignoring or hindering requests made by patients to leave the Strip in order to obtain the medical care they need.

Read: Ministry of Health in Gaza warns of increase in mortality rate

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 11 patients in the Gaza Strip have recently passed away after being prevented by central authorities from travelling abroad for treatment.

A copy of the joint letter can be found below:

We, the Undersigned, representatives of organisations that work for Palestine in Europe, condemn in absolute terms the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel, and the deprivation of Gazan children who are in desperate need of medical attention to receive the medical care they need whether within Gaza or abroad, and hold Israel entirely responsible for the lives and welfare of all patients.

The prevention of children and civilians from receiving much needed health care is an obscene crime against humanity which exposes to the entire world the repugnant reality of the Occupation which constantly, consistently and repeatedly violates international treaties and laws, and violates basic human rights protected by international law.

Meanwhile, we denounce the deafening and inexplicable silence displayed by the Arab and international communities in respect to these crimes being committed against more than 2 million Palestinians living under siege since 2006 in the aftermath of the first and only free, fair and democratic elections ever held in Palestine.

Therefore, we call on the international community and all international, legal, humanitarian, medical and relief organisations to move to see this horrific siege against Gaza lifted immediately. The Gaza Strip is presently enduring one of its most difficult times since Israel imposed the siege 11 years ago, due to consistent and complex unprecedented crisis striking at all levels of daily life.

This includes acute shortage of medical equipment and medication, along with shortages in fuel and power which, coupled with the restriction on travel and movement, have led to the deaths of several patients including children, who were prevented from traveling outside Gaza to receive desperately needed medical treatment and care.

As such, we call on the leadership of the PLO, as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and stemming from the unity of the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian people, to work effortlessly towards lifting the siege imposed on Gaza, and away from any politicking or political point-scoring.

This falls squarely within the responsibilities of the PLO, as the acute human crisis does not allow for any time wasting on political bickering.

We also call on the Palestinian Authority to retract the irresponsible decisions it took which led to the stop on salaries of hundreds of government employees as well as the interruption of the main Power Generator in Gaza.

We stress that we shall not spare any effort in working towards lifting the siege on Gaza through all legal means available, and we stress too that standing by and supporting besieged civilians is a basic human instinct within whomsoever has any inclination towards human rights anywhere around the world.

Indeed, the siege imposed against civilians, including children and the elderly, is a stain that will forever taint all those who actively imposed it, supported it or contributed towards it.

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