After 10 years of siege and devastating wars, Israel’s recent decision to cut Gaza’s already meager electricity supply, down to just two hours a day, is inflicting enormous suffering on the population of the Gaza Strip while seriously affecting its very chances of survival.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has already announced that the lack of electricity jeopardizes "essential services including healthcare, wastewater treatment and water supply". In practice, this makes it impossible to carry out dialysis treatment, surgery, intensive care, to rely on a secure blood supply, or to keep other essential services operating, such as incubators for premature newborns. It also precludes access to clean water, which will undoubtedly result in further risks to public health. Beyond the devastating effects of all this on Gaza’s humanitarian situation, the lack of energy could also threaten its future, because it risks rendering it uninhabitable, by dealing what may be the final blow to its already terribly fragile economy, and leaving it with permanent environmental damage as untreated sewage seeps into the soil and groundwater or is pumped into the sea.
All this is taking place in the midst of a resounding silence, inertia and indifference on the part of the international political establishment and media.
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, shamefully cut off the PA's funding for Israel's electricity supply to Gaza as part of the conflict between the PA and Hamas, but that does not absolve the Israeli government of its responsibility for the safety and well-being of the people of Gaza. Indeed, despite Israel's disengagement from the Strip, its ongoing blockade, and its restriction of supplies and exports, continue to make it responsible for Gaza under international law.
Furthermore, this situation could easily escalate into another outbreak of hostilities, which could develop into an even greater massacre than preceding ones, with Gaza’s inhabitants deprived of any possibility of escape or shelter.
These events are taking place within the wider context of the dramatic situation affecting the entire area, with the West Bank colonized and under Israeli military occupation for over 50 years (in defiance of numerous UN resolutions), and with its population living under an apartheid regime.
We therefore call on the European Union and each of its Member States, to undertake decisive action to force the Israeli government to take stock and see reason.
The following steps need to be taken with the utmost urgency:
- Immediate supply of the electricity required to prevent needless deaths in Gaza.
- An end to the siege that has been suffocating the Gaza Strip.
- An end to the military occupation of the West Bank and its colonization by Israel.
The time has come to bring an end to a situation that has gone on for too long; one that forces intolerable living conditions, through various means, upon an entire population.
The time has come to restore, in that strife-torn land, the principles of justice and the rules set by international law.
European Jews for a Just Peace
On Behalf of European Jews for a Just Peace, EJJP,
Dr Paola Canarutto, President of Rete italiana Ebrei Contro l'Occupazione (ECO)