A group of 24 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) signed a petition launched by Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) which called on Israel to lift its siege on Gaza and allow COVID-19 medical supplies.
The MEPs included Manu Pineda, the chair of the Delegation for Relations with Palestine. The petition came amidst a sharp spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the coastal enclave.
According to Quds Press, the MEPs expressed their concern about the latest spike in COVID-19 cases in the Gaza Strip, noting that the exceptional situation in Gaza "requires immediate action to allow medicines, protective gears, masks and ICU-units into the territory."
The Gaza Strip has suffered under a strict Israeli siege – which limits the supplies allowed to enter the enclave – since mid-2007. "Today, the numbers of COVID-19 cases, which are spreading like fire in refugee camps in Gaza, are telling of the catastrophic situation there," Chairman of the Euro-Med Monitor, Ramy Abdu, said.
"We call on the international community to immediately end the siege of Gaza, allow medical supplies and allocate vaccines for the Gaza Strip, where many people are facing imminent death," Abdu said.
He added: "The Israeli occupation government must immediately end its siege imposed on Gaza. WHO should make sure that Palestinians, whose healthcare system has almost collapsed, have access to decent healthcare."
Abdu thanked the MEPs who signed the petition, stressing that the situation in Gaza "is no longer acceptable."
Quds Press reported that 32 per cent of urgent medicines and 62 per cent of laboratory drugs are not available in Gaza, where hospitals are running out of supplies.
The petition signed by the MEPs noted that "Palestinian patients go through prolonged processes to cross the borders into Israel and Egypt for treatment and many of them pass away while waiting for permits to be issued."
"Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. The skyrocketing numbers of COVID-19 cases speak of this density," the petition read.
It went on to highlight that nearly 90 per cent of Gaza's ICUs are occupied with COVID-19 patients.
The 24 MEPs called on the EU to work with major powers and the UN to make sure that Gaza, which was described by a UN report as "uninhabitable", receives its share of COVID-19 vaccines.