Sep 09,2017 -JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
According to recent UN reports, Gaza has become a sinking boat, with poverty, unemployment and environmental concerns reaching unprecedented dangerous levels.
Reports now say overall unemployment in the coastal Palestinian enclave has topped 41 per cent; more alarmingly, unemployment among the youth, a huge, restive, portion of the population whose despair might lead to violence, stands at 66.8 per cent. The level of poverty in Gaza Strip is above 65 per cent.
When the people of Gaza have no opportunities to work, to rebuild their homes destroyed by vicious Israeli wars on the hapless population, or to educate their children, there can hardly be any hope that peace could be reached.
No less ominous are the environmental conditions in this most crowded strip of land where population density is about 5,521 people per one square kilometre.
Ninety-five per cent of the drinking water is reportedly polluted, as is the seawater — 68 per cent, due to the sewage being discharged in it — where a child swimming there to escape the summer heat recently died.
On a recent visit to Gaza, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the decade-long Israeli blockade on the strip, describing the situation there as one of the most “dramatic humanitarian crises”.
“I am deeply moved to be in Gaza”, he said during a visit to a school in the strip, “unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” said Guterres.
He also stressed that it was “important to open the closures”, referring to the Israeli siege of Gaza and Egypt’s closure of the Rafah border crossing, the only connection impoverished Gazans could secure with the outside world.
Israel has had Gaza under blockade since 2007 and has waged several wars on the strip since 2008, killing and injuring hundreds of Gazans and destroying much of the strip’s infrastructure.
Blocking Gaza from the outside world, in punishment for its people electing Hamas to lead them, led to a decline in the standard of living, very high levels of unemployment and merciless poverty.
Israel continues to ignore warnings and voices of sanity, pushing Gaza’s people to the brink.
How it hopes to keep a hungry and hopeless population peaceful and quiet is beyond comprehension.
But perhaps that is not its goal.