More updates on Palestine – Engage Hamas, Allow Humanitarian Access & Stop Settlements

25 Jul

The House of Commons has released a report, ‘The Humanitarian and Development Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ which states that the acute humanitarian situation in Gaza has been going for too long. In its summary, it noted that, ‘ Food, fuel and water have been in short supply and the public health system has been under severe pressure’. Israel is also criticised for not meeting ‘obligations to ensure the health and welfare of the Palestinian population’ while the Quartet ‘did not exert sufficient pressure on Israel to open the crossings’ (House of Commons – International Development Committee 2008).

As have been argued in previous blog postings (such as this blog post on The Quartet), the committee also argued that isolating Hamas has done more harm than good and urged that it is ‘important to bring Hamas into dialogue and into the peace process’ (House of Commons – International Development Committee 2008).

The UK report coincides with another recently released UNRWA study of the 2007 Palestinian economy which stated that the ‘occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) continued to have the worst performing economy in the Middle East North Africa sub-region (MENA)’ (UNRWA 2008).

It reported grim figures of the economy with real average unemployment rate ‘amongst the highest in the world at 29.5 percent’. While household consumption poverty decreased in the West Bank from 24 to 19.1 % within 2007, the reverse occurred in Gaza as it climbed to a staggering 51.8 % (UNRWA 2008).

Both reports highlight and reveal the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories in which an immediate solution is needed. Hamas needs to be engaged and Israel needs to stop its collective punishment strategies against a helpless and suffering civilian population (The same argument has been made in earlier postings). Israel also needs to halt settlement buildings in the West Bank. (which this blog has urged amongst other recommendations) An Al Jazeera news article reported that the state is going ahead with new expansion settlements in Maskiot at the Jordon Valley Rift (Al Jazeera English 2008).

– Works Cited –

House of Commons – International Development Committee 2008, The Humanitarian and Development Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories Eleventh Report of Session 2007 –  08 Volume 1, HC 522-1, House of Commons, London, viewed 25 July 2008.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East 2008,  Prolonged Crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory: Socio-Economic Developments in 2007  – Report No. 3, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, viewed 25 July 2008.

Israel ‘set to build’ settlements, Al Jazeera English, 24 July, accessed 25 July 2008.

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