Christian Aid deplores the needless loss of life and hundreds of gunshot injuries in Gaza on Friday 30th March.
Israel’s deployment of tanks and snipers against Palestinian demonstrators has reportedly resulted in 17 dead, most of whom appear to have been unarmed. Christian Aid partner organisation Adalah, has raised concerns that the Israeli military’s use of snipers against unarmed Palestinian civilian protesters in the Gaza Strip is illegal.
Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East Policy, William Bell, has just returned from Gaza. He said: “Live gunfire on unarmed civilians constitutes a violation of the international legal obligation to distinguish between civilians and combatants. Israel is obligated to act in accordance with international law and we support the UN secretary-general’s call for an independent inquiry into the deaths.
“Having just returned from Gaza and witnessed the fast deteriorating situation, I despair at the level of international indifference. Does Israel really believe that turning their guns on demonstrators is the answer? This issue will never go away until equality, equity, humanity and dignity are the norm for all.
“For Israelis and Palestinians to be truly secure, democratic and peaceful, and for an end to the poverty that degrades the lives of so many Palestinians, Israel’s occupation and control over their lives must end and all must be treated equally.”
Up to two million people have been effectively locked up for 10 years in this tiny strip of land since Israel imposed its complete closure on Gaza, which it enforces from the sea, land and air. Egypt too has closed its border with Gaza.
Mr Bell added: “As the World Bank has stated, unemployment in Gaza is now the highest in the world at over 40%, and much higher amongst the young. Electricity fluctuates between 2 and 4 hours a day and raw sewage flows into the sea leaving a vile stench in the air. Chronically sick patients are denied access to urgent healthcare outside. Families are separated for years on end. Palestinian political parties are completely divided to the point of inflicting violence upon each other. And the UN has predicted that it will be uninhabitable by 2020. It should not surprise anyone that people are demonstrating and want to be able to move freely.”
William Bell has just returned from Gaza and is available for interview.