The Gaza Strip’s collective of charitable organisations said more than 1,000 Palestinians have died as a result of the ongoing Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave.
The coordinator of the organisations, Ahmad al-Kurd, also said on Sunday that five premature babies born in the past few days died because of a lack of available medical treatment.
“Out of the 1,000 or so victims of the blockade, 450 died as a result of the collapse of the health situation in Gaza, such as the lack of medical supplies and the crisis of medical referrals for outside treatment.”
Gazans continue to face a desperate situation because of the blockade with water and electricity shortages, as well as a lack of medicines and doctors unable to perform surgeries.
Kurd said the use of alternative electricity by residents of the Gaza Strip since 2006 has caused the deaths of 100 people.
“The use of candles, firewood or generators has resulted in house fires that claimed the lives of children and adults alike,” he said.
Furthermore, the number of workers who were killed in the fields of agriculture, fishing and commercial tunnels has reached 350.
One fisherman was killed on Sunday after the Israeli navy fired at his boat. Two other fishermen were wounded.
The spokesperson of Palestine Fishermen’s Union said the vessel was targeted as it made its way back to Gaza’s port.
“The fisherman killed was 18-year-old Ismael Abu Riyaleh,” said Nizar Ayyash, adding the other two, Ahed Abu Ali and Mahmoud Abu Riyaleh, were taken into Israeli custody.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), all Israeli attacks on Palestinian fishermen have taken place within the six nautical miles zone.
Hamas spokesperson Abdulatif al-Qanoo’ said, “The killing of a Palestinian fisherman by the Israeli naval forces is a heinous crime that the Israeli occupation bears responsibility for.”
In a statement, the Israeli army said the boat had breached the fishing zone.
“The naval force followed instructions to arrest the three suspects onboard, which included warnings and firing in the air and at the boat,” the statement said. “One of the fishermen was seriously injured as a result and later died in hospital.”
Under the Oslo Accords, Palestinians are permitted to fish 20 nautical miles from Gaza’s coast, yet for years Israel has shrunk the zone to six nautical miles.
It is estimated there are 4,000 fishermen in Gaza who provide for 50,000 people.
Kurd described the Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians live, as the world’s largest prison.
“Gaza is a disaster area in all areas – health, environmental, social, and energy,” he said.
Solutions must be found to the crisis of power cuts that last between 18-20 hours a day, he added.
The Palestinian government “must provide the needs of the Gaza Strip regarding medical supplies, social assistance, pay the salaries of government employees, and exert pressure to open the border crossings,” Kurd said.[Source: Al Jazeera]