UN urges end to Gaza crisis in punishing summer heat
The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Gaza
Since PA President Mahmoud Abbas cut electricity payments to Israel, Gaza never has more than six hours of power a day , Abbas says sanctions directed at Hamas, not ordinary people.
A political crisis in Gaza is depriving two million people of electricity, vital medical care and clean water in sweltering summer temperatures, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.
It appealed to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and to Hamas authorities in Gaza to resolve their conflicts.
“We are deeply concerned about the steady deterioration in the humanitarian conditions and the protection of human rights in Gaza,” U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva.
She accused all the relevant parties of “not meeting their obligations to promote and protect the rights of the residents of Gaza.”
Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, routing forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Hoping to pressure Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza, Abbas, who leads the rival Fatah faction, has cut payments to Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza.
Shamdasani said that at the height of summer, with soaring temperatures, electricity has often been provided for less than four hours a day, and never more than six since April.
“This has a grave impact on the provision of essential health, water and sanitation services,” she added.
Families buy only enough supplies for each day as they cannot store goods in refrigerators, especially meat and dairy products.
Hospital officials complain of acute shortages of medications. The Gaza Health Ministry says about 40% of essential medicines have run out, especially for patients with cancer, cystic fibrosis and kidney failure.
Hamas authorities in Gaza blame the Palestinian Authority for the crisis while Abbas blames the Islamist group’s refusal to end its control of Gaza.
“Fatah does not accept and will not let the Palestinian National Authority become an ATM to finance this coup which destroys the possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state,” said a Fatah statement issued on Thursday.
Abbas has vowed to keep up sanctions against Hamas-run Gaza, saying measures are aimed against Hamas and not ordinary people. In turn, Hamas is trying to make a crack in the wall of sanctions by improving ties with Egypt and other Arab countries.