Days of Palestine

Friday, January 27

New crisis in Gaza as ‘our eyes wide open,’ UN envy says

Days of Palestine -

UN Envoy to Middle East Nicholay Mladenov told UN Security Council “in Gaza we are walking into another crisis with our eyes wide open.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Mladenov said: “I am today warning the Security Council that unless urgent measures are taken to de-escalate, the crisis risks spiralling out of control with devastating consequences for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

He continued: “In April, the Palestinian Government [in Ramallah] upheld its decision to reduce salary allowances to nearly 60,000 public sector employees in Gaza. Gaza is also in the midst of an unprecedented energy crisis. The power plant, that supplies 30 per cent of Gaza’s electricity, stopped functioning on 16 April.”

Explaining more about the energy crisis, he said: “The lines supplying power from Egypt into Gaza are often down for technical reasons.” Thus, Gaza has only 60 per cent of electricity from the Israeli occupation and this would be reduced next month.

“Since April, the majority of Palestinians in Gaza are receiving about four hours of electricity per day,” said. Then, he asked: “How long do you think they can survive if this is further reduced to two hours of electricity per day?”

Then, he also asked: “Who will pay the price of the ensuing violence and escalation?” He answered: “It will not be those who live a life of exemptions and privilege. The price will be paid by poor Palestinians, by women and children, by people already traumatized by conflict, who have been held hostage for a decade now.”

Mladenov speaks about the reality on the ground in Gaza. “Hospitals are now forced to postpone elective surgeries and have already reduced 80 per cent of cleaning, catering and sterilization services.

“Since mid-April desalination plants are functioning at 15% of their capacity and drinking water is supplied for a few hours every 2-4 days.

“As we speak 100,000 cubic meters of raw sewage are discharged into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. This is the equivalent of 40 Olympic-size swimming pools of sewage. Untreated. Daily. An environmental disaster for Israel, for Egypt and Gaza is in the making.

“Food prices are soaring as the price of water for irrigation has gone up by 65per cent. The manufacturing sector is grinding to a halt and over half of private industry workers have been suspended.”

After 10 years of Israeli siege on Gaza, Mladenov describe the situation: “The past decade has seen Gaza’s infrastructure, its basic services and private sector gradually debilitated, its economy weakened… Gaza faces a downward spiral of de-development.”