The Palestinian Wasteland
Gaza is not on its way to being a wasteland as indicated by the United Nations. Palestinians have been living under such horrendous conditions that not even animals would be able to endure. Palestinians, under the threat of continuous war by Israel, have become a sub-class, both in Israel and in the Gaza Strip.
The new report by the UN ignores this fact and only warns that Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2020 if the economic downturn continues. This outlook was revealed through a report at the UN Conference on Trade and Development, which was released Wednesday by Palestinian media.
The letter blames the eight years of Israeli blockade supported by Egypt and three Israeli military operations that have occurred since 2008 for the deterioration of the Strip, which it describes as “de-development” or reversal of development that has “devastated the already weakened infrastructure of Gaza “.
“They have broken their production base, have not left time for a reconstruction or a significant economic recovery and have impoverished the Palestinian population in Gaza, so that their economic welfare has deteriorated to the level of two decades ago,” the report says.
The situation worsened with the latest military operation in 2014, which caused the displacement of 500,000 people and the destruction or serious damage to 20,000 houses, 148 schools, 15 hospitals and 45 primary health care centers.
The UN report stopped short of calling the Israeli attacks and policies towards Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere ethnic cleansing, even though evidence and observation clearly points to that.
The UNCTAD document recalls that three years before the latest conflict, the UN conducted a study to forecast the conditions in the coastal enclave by 2020, when the population was expected to increase from 1.6 million to 2.1 expected million inhabitants.
The investigation concluded that for then Gaza was a habitable place that “needed to accelerate, through ‘Herculean efforts’, sectors such as health, education, energy, water and sanitation.”
But instead of these efforts, “the tragedy of Gaza has deteriorated and the destruction of 2014 accelerated the reversal of its development”, the report criticizes.
The document warns that “the donor support is necessary but not sufficient for recovery and development of the Gaza Strip” and highlights how as of May of this year none of the damaged houses had been rebuilt nor progress had been made in improving the infrastructure affected by the Israeli attacks.
In May Gaza had only received 27% of the $5 billion dollars pledged at the Cairo conference on Palestine, of which $3,5 billion were for the reconstruction of Gaza after the ceasefire which ended in August 2014; after 51 days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants which resulted in the deaths of more than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis.
“For the Palestinian people is much more necessary to ensure their human right to development under international law than the donors assistance,” says the document, which highlights the capacity and “self-sufficiency of Gazans” as an “impossible”, “under the conditions of the blockade and the periodic destruction of infrastructure and private assets.”
“Aid should not be considered an alternative to end the blockade and to urge Israel to comply with its obligations under international law,” demands a note.
With the blockade in place and with insufficient help, “Gaza will become economically unviable, a reality that adds to the already bleak economic conditions that can only deteriorate.”
“The likely result will be more conflicts, mass poverty, high unemployment, lack of electricity and drinking water, inadequate health care and infrastructure in danger of collapse. In short, Gaza will be uninhabitable, as stressed by the United Nations’ 2012 report” sentenced the document. This statement is the very definition of ethnic cleansing, but said in a sanitized form not to alter the egos of the Israeli leadership.
For his part, the spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nachshon, shamelessly said in a statement that the economic future of Gaza “is in the hands of its people and leaders.”
“Israel is in favor of the prosperity of Gaza. The Hamas destructive choices are responsible for the extreme situation of the population,” he said.