A new report, by 16 humanitarian, development and human rights organisations, describes how the ongoing blockade prevents reconstruction and recovery of Gaza from the extensive damage caused by the Israeli military offensive one year ago. It highlights the fact that only 41 truckloads of construction materials have been allowed to enter Gaza since the end of the offensive in January, while thousands would be needed only for the task of rebuilding and repairing the more than 6,000 homes destroyed or damaged in the offensive .
The reports addresses extensively the role of the international community, which can and must do far more to end this illegal and inhumane blockade. The EU is urged to take immediate and concerted action to secure the lifting of the blockade so that the close of Spainis six-month presidency of the EU in June 2010 does not also mark the third anniversary of the blockade being imposed.
Below are the recommendations which the report makes to the EU and wider international community:
Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses
Recommendations to the international community
The European Union
- The EU must commit itself to the explicit aim of ending the blockade of Gaza by taking a strong and unified stance and a renewed international lead on the issue.
- The EU and its Member States should use every opportunity with Israel to issue clear, strong and public calls to demand the full and unconditional end of the blockade on Gaza.
- EU heads of states, foreign and development ministers and the EUis new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should visit Gaza for themselves to better understand the impact of the blockade on the people of Gaza. A visit to Gaza should be part of every European high-level visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
- The EU should confirm publicly that the upgrading of relations with Israel is put on hold, pending tangible progress in Israelis respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, which should include its actions with regard to the blockade of Gaza.
The Middle East Quartet (EU, Russia, UN and US)
Quartet members should:
- Channel greater efforts into bringing a swift end to the blockade of Gaza, including by establishing a clear timeline and associated benchmarks to achieve this.
- Abandon the failed policy of non-engagement and begin political dialogue with all Palestinian parties.
- Encourage intra-Palestinian reconciliation and recognise any representative national authority resulting from the process.
- Make urgent, high-level representations to support the rapid agreement and implementation of the plan presented by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, to deliver a package of high priority reconstruction projects, as a part of a full lifting of the blockade.
The international community
- The United Nations Security Council should convene a meeting to review the implementation of Resolution 1860 and consider action necessary to ensure the full and sustained opening of the crossings.
- The international community should press Israel to provide compensation for damage caused during Operation Cast Lead and other Israeli military actions and donors should seek compensation for damage to their aid-funded projects in Gaza.
- The international community should support genuine investigations into, and accountability for, violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law by both Israel and the Palestinian armed groups as a way to prevent more violence and destruction in the future and to address the illegality of the blockade under international law.
- The international community should support convening a substantive conference of the signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention to help ensure respect for the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in relation to the blockade.