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Al-Khodari: Israel's closure of Gaza crossings puts lives in grave danger

The Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, which is the economic lifeline of Gaza, has now been closed for 33 days, reducing the work of the main power plant, and aggravating the fuel crisis in the enclave, 11 June 2021 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
The Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing, which is the economic lifeline of Gaza, has now been closed for 33 days, reducing the work of the main power plant, and aggravating the fuel crisis in the enclave, 11 June 2021 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khodari called on Friday for the international community to pressure Israel to open Gaza's crossings to end the threat facing the lives of Gaza's residents.

In a statement, Head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege on Gaza Al-Khodari explained that goods worth $60 million belonging to Gazan traders had been blocked at the crossings for 60 days.

He also called for the European Union and the United Nations (UN) secretary-general to urgently interfere in order to save the lives of over two million people facing harsh living conditions due to the Israeli siege and strict measures imposed on the crossings.

Al-Khodari hailed the remarks made by Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Lynn Hastings on the necessity to ease the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza.

Following Hastings's visit to Gaza, she said:

Without a return to regular and predictable entry of goods into Gaza, the capacity of the UN and our partners to deliver critical interventions is at risk, as are the livelihoods of and basic services for the people in Gaza.

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She stated: "The UN currently estimates that 250,000 people are still without regular access to piped water, and that 185,000 are relying on unsafe water sources or paying higher prices for bottled water," stressing that: "The critical agricultural sector, a main source of food and income in Gaza is at risk, including the current planting season."

Hastings urged: "Meeting humanitarian needs, including the resumption of basic water, health and sanitation services, and the reconstruction of Gaza cannot progress without the entry of a broad range of supplies, including equipment, and construction materials necessary to support those repairs and humanitarian activities."

"The cessation of the regular entry of commercial goods is impacting the work of hundreds of Gaza private sector businesses and the income of thousands of workers. Exports from Gaza, which are critical to livelihoods, are virtually halted. Obstacles facing the private sector need to be removed if it is to recover and resume its role as the main driver of growth and employment."

Hastings concluded: "I urge Israel to ease the restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza, in line with UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), with the goal of ultimately lifting them. Only by fully lifting the debilitating closures can we hope to sustainably resolve the humanitarian crisis and contribute to longer-term stability."

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Al-Khodari further added that the closures of the crossings had inflicted massive losses to the Gaza economy, as 90 per cent of factories have stopped operating and unemployment has sharply risen to 60 per cent.

He pressed that the crossings and living conditions of the people "must not" be part of the political and security equation, asserting that: "Closing the crossings is a flagrant violation of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Global Declaration of Human Rights."

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