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Palestinian Medical Relief Society calls for an immediate end to the murderous siege of Gaza

December 2007

People are dying in Gaza. Patients die in their hospital beds because they are denied permits to access life-saving treatments abroad. Patients with such permits die at the Erez crossing because the Israeli military denies them exit, despite their permits.

These are all avoidable deaths. These are patients diagnosed with a critical condition, seeking life–saving treatment. This is tantamount to murder. Premeditated murder. More than 29 Palestinians have already died in this manner so far. A further 900 are still waiting to permits to leave the Strip.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg, for the collective punishment unleashed on the Palestinian people in Gaza cuts much deeper: food, goods, medicine, medical supplies, critical equipment, construction materials and now fuel and electricity. The closure of the crossings by the Israeli military and the new delivery cuts ordered by the Israeli government are far reaching. All sectors of life are impacted; all the population is under attack.

Hospitals depend on medicine and medical supplies, water distribution depends on pumps that need fuel and electricity, sewage treatment plants depend on fuel and critical spare parts, factories and construction yards depend on imported raw materials, but all of these are unavailable in the Strip. Tens of thousands of jobs have been destroyed, and only 41% of the basic commercial food import needs reach the impoverished Gazan people, who now buy 79% less food than before the siege. People walk in the dark at night, for lack of fuel for transportation and power for public lighting.

The health sector in particular is suffering. Seven out of the 17 incubators at the Gaza paediatric hospital are not functioning properly. Twenty percent of essential drugs and 31% of essential medical supplies are no longer available. “Zero availability” is the technical term used by the United Nation Agencies in their reports.

While all these facts are well known, this massive violation of international humanitarian law is taking place openly, and the international community’s failure to uphold international law and pressure Israel is abysmal.

There are no technical terms for the suffering endured by the Palestinians in Gaza. There is no one to denounce the inhumanity of the Israeli siege and the cruelty of its treatment of an entire population, women, children, and patients included.

PMRS, on behalf of the people of Gaza, calls for an immediate campaign to lift the Israeli siege of the Strip.

Everyone must act now to stop this collective punishment. It is the only ethical, just and humane thing to do. The siege must stop. Now.

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