The United Nations is set to appeal for US $547 million in humanitarian aid from the international community in 2017. A significant 70% of these funds are set to go to Gaza where funds are desperately needed to assist the rebuilding of homes and the repair of basic infrastructure that remain in disrepair. The UN earlier this year declared that Gaza would be unfit for human habitation by 2020 if no serious improvements were made to development.
Robert Piper, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Activities stated that the blockade of Gaza is causing considerable difficulties in Gaza. He said:
Palestinians “are facing their tenth year under a blockade that precludes any vestige of ‘normal life,’”
It is clear that, in general, aid can contribute to improving the lives of Palestinians in Gaza. However, the UN should demand that Israel comply with them, and the entire international community, to ensure that these aid structures will not be destroyed, as has happened many times to other humanitarian aid infrastructure, either by military attack or by demolition for settlement purposes. The UN and others in the international community must press upon priority being placed on what Robert Piper termed, “bold political action”. This is an Israeli catastrophe and can be stopped if the international community holds Israel to account for it. Ending the occupation of Palestine and the siege of Gaza is political action that must be the first concern, and which could end the need for aid. It is important, firstly to end the human rights abuses Palestinians face daily, and secondly to ensure that any aid activities that do take place are secured and not squandered, in both the short and long term.
19th December 2016