The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) and
human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip express their deep concern for the
deteriorating humanitarian conditions of the population of the Gaza Strip due
to the continued tightened closure imposed by Israel on 1.8 million people and
its impact on all aspects of their lives, while the international community
remains silent towards human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli
occupation forces.  PNGO and human rights
organizations are deeply concerned for the aggravation of the crisis of electricity
outages resulting from these policies which leads to an imminent humanitarian
disaster seriously impacting all vital interests of the population, including
water and sanitation services, educational services and all daily necessary
vital services.

 

PNGO and human rights organizations are concerned that the
deterioration in all aspects of the population’s life may further aggravate as
a result of the continuous consequences of the Palestinian political split and
the failure of its two parties to solve the power and fuel crisis which has
been persistent since late June 2006 when Israeli forces bombarded the Gaza
Power Plant. 

 

PNGO and human rights organizations observe with deep concern the
deterioration of humanitarian conditions of the Gaza Strip’s population since
01 November 2013, when the Gaza Power Plant was forced off due to the lack of
fuel.  Both governments in Ramallah and
Gaza have failed to take any effective steps to overcome this crisis and its
consequences, and accordingly all daily basic services needed by the population
have disastrously deteriorated.  As a
result of the crisis, electricity supplies to all vital facilities, including
houses and health, environmental and educational facilities, have been sharply
decreased; electricity is off for 12 hours and then on for 6 hours only. 

 

PNGO and human rights organizations believe that the deteriorating
humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip is essentially a result of Israeli
systematic policies against the civilian population, including bombarding the
sole power plant in the Gaza Strip in late June 2006, and decreasing fuel
supplies to the power plant in the context of the illegal closure imposed on
the Gaza Strip.  PNGO and human rights
organizations are aware of the continuous deterioration of the human rights and
humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip due to the crisis of electricity
outages, while the international community remains silent towards human rights
violations perpetrated by Israeli forces, which have created and perpetuated
the crisis, including targeting the infrastructure of the electricity sectors,
such as supply and transmission lines and towers, during repeated incursions
into the Gaza Strip, or using fuel and other consumptive goods as a means to
punish the population, and the Israeli authorities’ failure to meet their
obligations as an occupying power to maintain the operation of medical
facilities and water and sanitation services. 

 

It is worth noting that the electricity crisis has become a serious
challenge to normal life of the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza
Strip, which poses imminent risks to all aspects of daily life due to its
direct impacts.  Currently, the crisis
has led to suspension of many health care programs and services, waste water
treatment, water supplies, especially to high buildings, and educational
services.  Vital economic sectors,
especially workshops and commercial stores, have sustained large economic
losses, due to Israeli attacks and the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.  Life for Palestinians living in high
buildings has become extremely difficult due to the lack of electricity that is
necessary to operate elevators and provide water supplies.  The crisis has also impacted the educational
process and the economic and living conditions of the population due to their
inability to provide alternatives to electricity supplies, especially with the
high prices of fuel which the population cannot afford.  Additionally, the electricity crisis and the
population’s efforts to find alternatives have caused horrible human
tragedies.  According to information of
human rights organizations, 16 Palestinians, including 14 children and one
woman, have died by fire, and 9 others, including 5 children, have sustained
burns since the beginning of 2012.         

 

PNGO and human rights organizations strongly condemn the failure of
relevant parties to fulfill their obligations and take practical steps to
ensure ending the suffering of the civilian population, while all
justifications claimed by them are not acceptable.  There are concerns that the Gaza Strip may
turn into an area of a disaster due to the deterioration of humanitarian
conditions.  PNGO and human rights
organizations believe that all concerned parties, including the international
community, the occupying power pursuant to its international legal obligations
and both governments in Ramallah and Gaza, should ensure protection of and
respect for the inherent human dignity as a value whose waste can never be
justified, or be subject to material or political bargains.  Causing this human suffering that may lead to
loss of lives can never be justified. 

 

PNGO and human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip call upon all
parties to immediately act to stop the suffering of the civilian population and
find sustainable and strategic solutions that take into the consideration the
civilian population’s needs and ensure protection of their lives and respect
for their basic rights, including supplying all consignments of medicines and
foods and basic services that are necessary for the population.  PNGO and human rights organizations emphasize
the following:

1. Israeli occupation authorities are legally responsible for the
deteriorating humanitarian conditions of the Gaza Strip’s population and the
illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip as a form of collective punishment,
as Israel is an occupying power according to the international humanitarian
law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

2. The international community is responsible for the deteriorating
humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip due to its failure to fulfill its
legal and moral obligation and compel Israel to lift the illegal closure
imposed on the Gaza Strip.

3. Both governments in Gaza and Ramallah must immediately and
seriously act to end the electricity crisis, overcome the differences whose
price is paid by the Gaza Strip’s population, abstain from pushing basic
services and sectors into the political conflict, put an end to the suffering
of the civilian population and find sustainable and strategic solutions that
protect basic rights of people and the requirements for their adequate living
conditions.

 

Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Aldameer Association for Human Rights