One year ago December 27th was the beginning of a 22-day Israeli raid on the Palestinian territory of Gaza. In this attack, estimates counted nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis killed, and severe damage was inflicted on Gaza’s infrastructure. Today, a year after the attacks, Gaza is still struggling to recover.
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, released a statement posted on the UN website saying he is “deeply concerned that neither the issues that led to this conflict nor its worrying aftermath are being addressed.” He also noted that residents of Gaza are “denied basic human rights” and urged Israel to end its “unacceptable and counterproductive blockade”.
What the UN is saying is right: the reconstruction of Gaza after the damage of last year’s attacks is not being addressed adequately, and Gazans are struggling to survive. Israel is currently bloackading Gaza and only allowing humanitarian supplies in, such as food and medicine. However, this does not allow for any materials to repair homes, schools, and hospitals damaged in the attacks.
Of the 1400 Palestinians killed in last year’s attacks, 916 were civilians, and 326 of those were children under the age of 17. Of the 13 Israelis killed, 3 were civilians.
Furthermore, the responsibility to help reconstruct Gaza falls largely on Israel — but not solely on Israel. The international community at large is responsible for the rebuilding of Gaza as well. And for one year, we have all neglected that responsibility.
Jeremy Hobbs, director of the international aid organization Oxfam, said that “world powers have failed and betrayed Gaza’s ordinary citizens,” and called for world powers to increase pressure on Israel to end its tight blockade on Gaza.
However, the situation in Gaza continues to remain stagnant a year later.
Sunday, activists around the world initiated a four hour campaign to tweet about Gaza in an attempt to make #Gaza a trending topic on Twitter, hopefully raising public awareness about the issue. The mainstream media is hardly covering the story — but activists have taken to Twitter to air their concerns and are hoping to bring media attention to the issue through this unconventional new media strategy.
Froma human rights standpoint, the situation in Gaza is dire no matter which side of the political fence you stand on. Innocent civilians and children are struggling to survive — and the international human rights community should be taking action to rectify this situation swiftly.
Do you have ideas about helping to change this situation? Comment here.