Home ยป What Israel’s latest blockade on Gaza means for civilians caught there | CBC News

What Israel’s latest blockade on Gaza means for civilians caught there | CBC News

On Tuesday, humanitarian groups appealed for global assistance for Gaza amid Israel’s imposition of an additional blockade on the struggling region. While condemning the Hamas attacks on Israelis as “abhorrent,” experts cautioned that a total siege on the area would result in severe shortages of food, water, and electricity for millions of innocent civilians.

Representatives from refugee councils in the United Nations have expressed that the ongoing Israeli siege is yet another violation of international law by both parties involved in the conflict. This devastating situation has resulted in numerous fatalities and injuries since Saturday.

A complete blockade, according to Michael Lynk, former United Nations special rapporteur for the situation of human rights and the Palestinian territory, will have widespread impacts.

Gaza represents an ongoing humanitarian crisis, characterized by man-made disasters rather than natural calamities like earthquakes or typhoons.

According to experts, if there is a complete siege on Gaza, it will have an impact on the availability of essential resources such as food, water, electricity, medical supplies, and sewage treatment for the 2.3 million people living in the territory. The United Nations has stated that this blockade would go against international humanitarian law. However, experts have emphasized that without the international community taking action to enforce these laws, it will be the civilians who suffer the consequences.

WATCH | The humanitarian crisis facing civilians in Gaza:

Israeli retaliation has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

1 day ago

Duration 1:59

Featured VideoIsrael has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip following an assault from Hamas, resulting in the restriction of essential resources such as food, water, and fuel. This action is anticipated to exacerbate the existing challenges faced by the region, leading to a potential humanitarian crisis.

Israel promises to impose a total blockade on the territory.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Monday that authorities would fully cut off supplies to Gaza after Hamas militants launched a stunning attack on Israel Saturday.

Since the attack, civilians have suffered the consequences of the violence occurring on both sides of the conflict.

Hamas’s attack led to the death of over 1,000 Israelis and approximately 150 civilians and soldiers were held captive. Hamas warned of potential executions if Israel continued its airstrikes on Gaza without prior notice.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported on Tuesday that a minimum of 900 Palestinians have lost their lives due to the ongoing war. Moreover, significant areas in Gaza have been completely destroyed.

Numerous individuals have sustained injuries on both factions.

Since 2007, there has been an Israeli blockade in place, controlling the movement of people, goods, food, and water. Although Israel removed its military forces from the area in 2005 due to international pressure, they argue that the blockade is necessary for the protection of Israelis against Hamas.

“Israel controls everything that goes in and out of the Gaza Strip,” said Lynk, who visited Gaza periodically while he worked for the UN in Jerusalem.

The United Nations representative states that according to international law, sieges that put civilians at risk are prohibited.

The United Nations representative stated that sieges that put civilians at risk are not allowed according to international humanitarian law.

16 hours ago

Duration 0:52

Featured VideoRavina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, addressed the declaration made by Israel regarding a comprehensive blockade of Gaza following Hamas’ initial attacks from the region, which have now escalated into a full-scale conflict.

He stated that in the event of a complete blockade, food supplies would deplete rapidly, resulting in the onset of starvation within a few days. Furthermore, he mentioned that approximately two-thirds of the Palestinian inhabitants in Gaza would face the consequences of the scarcity of drinkable water.

Lynk mentioned that the siege would also have an impact on sewage treatment, resulting in the presence of untreated sewage in the Gaza streets, potentially causing the spread of diseases.

He stated that there would be a worsening of “substantial deficiencies” in medical supplies and medications, leading to a severe “humanitarian crisis in healthcare.”

He mentioned that the healthcare providers and medical facilities will be extremely overburdened due to the large influx of patients and the lack of necessary resources such as staff, equipment, and medications to effectively treat them.

People inspect the rubble of a mosque destroyed after it was hit by an airstrike.
On Monday, the West mosque at Shati refugee camp in Gaza was visibly damaged as a result of an Israeli airstrike. Following Hamas’s unexpected attack on Israel over the weekend, Israeli authorities announced their intention to completely halt the provision of supplies to Gaza. However, international aid organizations have cautioned that this action may potentially breach international law. (Adel Hana/The Associated Press)

According to a spokesperson from a UN humanitarian office, approximately 187,500 individuals have been displaced from their residences in Gaza. On Tuesday, the Rafah crossing, which is the only exit point from the territory due to Israel’s presence and the Mediterranean Sea surrounding the rest of Gaza, was shut down.

The World Health Organization has urged for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to enable the transportation of fresh medical supplies into Gaza.

Organizations caution that “siege” could signify a complete catastrophe.

The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, a global humanitarian organization, expressed concerns that the actions taken by the Israeli government on Monday would have devastating consequences for the civilian population residing in Gaza.

Jan Egeland stated in a phone interview with The Associated Press that there is unquestionable evidence of international law being violated by collective punishment.

“If such circumstances result in the loss of innocent lives, particularly children in hospitals due to insufficient energy, electricity, and resources, it could be considered as acts of war crimes.”

The International Criminal Court issued a statement on Tuesday announcing that its prosecutor is currently collecting information regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The court’s primary objective is to investigate and prosecute individuals who are accused of committing severe crimes that are of great concern to the global community, such as crimes against humanity.

WATCH | How Hamas went undetected in days leading up to attack on Israel:

How Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel unfolded

2 days ago

Duration 7:42

Featured VideoAfter the Palestinian militant group launched a surprise attack, resulting in numerous casualties, Israel has officially declared war on Hamas. The National examines the failure of Israeli intelligence to detect Hamas’ activities in the months and days preceding the attack and speculates on the potential outcomes that may follow.

The secretary-general of the UN expressed strong disapproval for the attacks carried out by Hamas, describing them as “abhorrent”. However, he also expressed great concern over Israel’s blockade, stating that it deeply troubled him.

Antonio Guterres expressed his concern about the already severe humanitarian situation in Gaza, stating that it will worsen significantly due to the recent hostilities.

Although I acknowledge Israel’s valid security concerns, I must also emphasize that any military actions should adhere strictly to the principles of international humanitarian law.

Guterres urged for UN access to provide humanitarian assistance and appealed to international allies to back these endeavors.

Political determination is necessary in order to effectively enforce laws.

Lynk, who is also a professor emeritus at the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., says international humanitarian laws are only as strong as the international community’s resolve to enforce them.

“He stated that an efficient global court capable of effectively enforcing rights, which we believe are protected under international law, does not exist. International law represents the commitments made between countries,” he expressed.

People gather around grey concrete rubble in Gaza.
On Monday, individuals from Palestine come together near the remains of a structure in the southern Gaza Strip. The World Health Organization has urged for the establishment of a humanitarian passage to enable the transportation of medical resources into Gaza. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/REUTERS)

The ultimate factor for accountability is not solely the law, but also the determination of the international community, and unfortunately, there has been very little of that.

The statement from a commission of inquiry appointed by the UN indicates that there is undeniable proof suggesting the possibility of war crimes committed by all parties involved in the conflict. The commission is actively gathering evidence to ensure that those responsible can be held legally accountable in the future.

Source: cbc.ca