UN DETAILS DEVASTATING YEAR FOR PALESTINIANS

The grim report deplored the ongoing blockade of Gaza strip coupled with the lack of funds that resulted in hampering the reconstruction efforts. (Photo: On Islam)
The grim report deplored the ongoing blockade of Gaza strip coupled with the lack of funds that resulted in hampering the reconstruction efforts. (Photo: On Islam)

Gaza, 9 Jumadil Akhir 1436/29 March 2015 (MINA) – Shedding light on the miserable life of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, a new UN report has dubbed 2014 a “devastating” year for Palestinians, amid ongoing blockade and escalating hostilities from Israeli police and extremists.

“Continued occupation undermines the ability of Palestinians to live normal lives,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territory, James Rawley said, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

“Were these factors removed and related policies changed, international humanitarian assistance would not be necessary here,” he added, acknowledging that last year had been a “devastating” one for Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Titled “Fragment Lives”, the 2014 Annual Humanitarian Overview by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) outlined on Thursday, March 26, a traumatic year for millions of Palestinians during last summer war.

Nearly 1.8 million Palestinians have been affected by the Israeli hostility on Gaza that left 1,500 civilians killed, including more than 550 children, according to the report.

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The conflict has also left some 100,000 Palestinian residents homeless. Despite aid groups’ efforts to offer humanitarian assistant for the traumatized nation, the sharply increasing needs are overwhelming OCHA relief efforts, the UN agency warned.

Amid dwindling funds from donors, the continued displacement in the territories has resulted in the departure of more than 22,000 families over the past months.

Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian agency warned that “up to 1.6 million people [≈ population of Lyon, France] across the occupied Palestinian territory would be deprived of adequate water and sanitation services, and food assistance. Access to basic healthcare and education would also be compromised”.

Israel launched war on besieged Gaza strip from July 8 to August 26, where more than 2,100 have been killed and thousands injured. According to UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 80% of deaths in Gaza are civilians, including dozens of children and women.

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Hampering Reconstruction

The grim report deplored the ongoing blockade of Gaza strip coupled with the lack of funds that resulted in hampering the reconstruction efforts. Along with Gazans, Palestinians in the West Bank have been suffering from a similar strained economy, as the blockade continues.

The large scale of mass destruction in Gaza has left about 5,510 homes completely destroyed and about 31,000 partially damaged, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes that were caught up in the Israeli air strikes.

“A record number of 1,215 Palestinians were displaced due to home demolitions by Israeli authorities, while settlement and settler activity continued, in contravention of international law, and contributed to humanitarian vulnerability of affected Palestinian communities,” Rawley noted.

The OCHA scathing report came a few days after a senior UN official to the Human Rights Council warned that Violations of human rights “fuel and shape the conflict” in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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“Human rights violations in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are both cause and consequence of the military occupation and ongoing violence, in a bitter cyclical process with wider implications for peace and security in the region,” said Flavia Pansieri, the UN’s Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Israel was created on May 15, 1948, on the rubbles of Palestine.

Later in the 1967 Middle East War, Israel occupied other Palestinian lands along with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights. Israel returned Sinai Peninsula to Egypt under the 1979 Camp David peace accords.

The Palestinians insist that Israel ceases all settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) to return to the peace talks.

In January, the UN has accepted the request form Palestine to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) from April 2, giving Palestinians the green light to lodge war crimes complaints against Israel. (T/P011/P3)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)