Intl. groups to Israel: Lift Gaza siege
Palestinian children do their homework in candlelight during a power cut in Gaza City in northern Gaza Strip on March 27, 2012.
As many as 50 international aid and human rights organizations have signed a petition, calling for Israel to immediately end its years-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.
"For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children,” said the petition, issued on Thursday, according to DPA.
“We, the undersigned, say with one voice: End the blockade now,” said the cosignatories, 43 aid groups and seven United Nations agencies, including Amnesty International, Save the Children, the World Health Organization, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The appeal was issued on the fifth anniversary of the imposition of the blockade, which has been depriving the Palestinians in the coastal strip of food, fuel, medicine, and other necessities.
On Wednesday, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos had likewise called on Tel Aviv to immediately remove the siege.
"More than 80 percent of families in Gaza are dependent on humanitarian aid," the official had said in a statement.
"This amounts to a collective punishment of all those living in Gaza and is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law."
The all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade, imposed in mid-June 2007, has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
Amid the restrictions, the Israeli military frequently bombs the enclave, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.