Gisha executive director at UN Conference: The Israeli government sees the isolation of Gaza as a means of maintaining perpetual control of the West Bank

June 30, 2017. Gisha Executive Director Tania Hary spoke on a panel dedicated to the situation in the Gaza Strip, held as part of a special United Nations forum at UN headquarters in New York City. Gisha Field Coordinator Mohammed Azaiza also spoke on the panel via telephone from Gaza, having been denied an exit permit to attend in person.

Azaiza shared with conference participants his experiences and impressions of the current situation in the Strip. He spoke about the impact of the electricity shortage; of the millions of liters of sewage pumped into the sea as little electricity is available to operate treatment facilities; of the effect on the functioning of hospital wards and the farming sector; of disease breakouts and children on summer holiday who cannot swim in the polluted sea. “The lives of the two million civilians in Gaza are not a game,” Azaiza reminded the audience.

Hary analyzed Israel’s conduct in regards to the Gaza Strip, in the context of its separation policy between Gaza and the West Bank. “There actually is no coherent policy. What we see is really a set of different tactics that are in response often to international pressure, regional interests, inertia and also certainly demographic goals. Some in the Israeli government see the isolation of Gaza as a means of maintaining perpetual control of the West Bank […] We’re not just talking about a humanitarian situation, we’re talking about something that is deeply connected to what’s happening in the West Bank and policy goals there.”

“…This is particularly a kind of policy of hubris and cruelty […] What’s happening in the Gaza Strip and what’s been happening now for at least the last ten years is one of the biggest experimentation projects on the planet: The idea is how do you test the breaking point of two million people. How do you push hard enough, but not so hard that the situation explodes, and I want to say also that I’m sorry to see that some Palestinian leaders have joined in on this cruel experiment lately,” Hary added.

Watch the panel.

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