For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Robyn Shepherd,

Gaza: Electricity Cuts by Israeli Authorities Could Have Catastrophic Consequences

NEW YORK - The Israeli authorities’ latest decision to slash the electricity supply to the Gaza Strip could have catastrophic humanitarian consequences for residents who have already endured a decade of suffering under Israel’s brutal blockade, Amnesty International has warned.

The latest round of power cuts announced by Israel on June 11 restricting the electricity supply to between two and three hours a day, will have a disastrous impact on Gaza’s battered infrastructure and cause a public health disaster. The move will also endanger thousands of lives including those of hospital patients with chronic conditions or in intensive care, including babies on life support.

Residents told Amnesty International the power cuts have affected all aspects of their daily lives. With many people in Gaza living in high rise apartment buildings, the lack of electricity means clean water cannot be pumped to their homes, leaving them reliant on expensive bottled water to cook, clean and shower. Residents are also unable to use the lifts to get in and out of their homes, causing particular hardship for the elderly and those with disabilities. Residents have also not been able to use their air conditioners in sweltering heat.

“For 10 years the siege has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities. Under the burden of the illegal blockade and three armed conflicts, the economy has sharply declined and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated severely. The latest power cuts risk turning an already dire situation into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

The power cuts will have a severe impact on essential services such as healthcare, wastewater management and access to clean water for Gaza’s entire population.

“As the occupying power, Israel has obligations to ensure the basic needs of the civilian population are met. At the very least, Israel must not continue to cut off access to essential supplies. The Israeli authorities must immediately lift the illegal blockade and end their collective punishment of Gaza’s population,” said Mughrabi.

“Ten years on, the international community can no longer turn a blind eye to the devastating suffering caused by Israel’s cruel and inhuman isolation of Gaza.”

This month marks 10 years since Israel began its land, sea and air blockade of Gaza. The blockade, combined with restrictions by Egypt has cut off virtually all access to the outside world for more than two million residents. Since then, unemployment rates have skyrocketed and many families have been forced into extreme poverty leaving approximately 80% of the population dependent on humanitarian aid.

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