Despite the opening of the border between Gaza and Egypt, the Gaza Strip remains almost completely dependent on Israel for fuel, electricity, medicine, food, and other essential commodities. Dr. Barghouthi explained that “Israel continues to enforce a lockdown on the territory, pursuing its illegal policy of collective punishment against Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants.”
Moreover, patients continue to die because Israel prevents them from accessing life-saving treatment outside of the Gaza Strip. “86 people have already died in this way since last June,” said Dr. Barghouthi. “They were diagnosed with a critical condition, were denied exit from the Strip and died while life-saving treatment existed. This is simply premeditated murder,” he underlined.
He also explained that since the way from Al Arish to the rest of Egypt is currently blocked, it is as yet unclear whether any patients have succeeded in accessing medical care in Cairo as a result. Therefore, it is still extremely urgent to let these patients exit the Strip through the Israeli-controlled crossings.
Israel cannot evade its responsibilities towards Gaza
Lastly, Dr. Barghouthi addressed Israeli claims that with the border opening at Rafah, Israel has relinquished all its responsibilities towards Gaza. He called the statement “preposterous and misleading” and explained that any end to Israel’s legal responsibilities as an occupying power for the welfare of Gaza’s inhabitants would require an end to its effective control over the Gaza Strip, including its territorial waters and airspace. He added that the Israel military re-enters Gaza at will and frequently bombs the Strip and that it also controls Gaza’s telecommunications network, its population registry, and its customs and tax revenues.
“The dependency of Gazan infrastructure on Israel is the product of Israel’s 40-year-old occupation. Israel cannot escape either the consequences of its occupation policies, nor its obligations under international law,” concluded Dr. Barghouthi.