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The New Arab Staff

European Parliament petition urges end to Israel's blockade on Gaza amid 'catastrophic' Covid spike

The petition also calls on the EU to send immediate medical aid to Gaza [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 December, 2020

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24 MEPs signed a petition calling on Israel to end its blockade on Gaza, and warning of a "catastrophic" coronavirus health emergency if medical supplies are not allowed in.
Twenty four Members of the European Parliament signed a petition calling on Israel to lift its 14-year blockade on Gaza to allow medical supplies in, after coronavirus cases spiked in the enclave. 

The petition, launched by the Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, aims to sound the alarm over the state of the strip's health sector – devestated by years of blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt – in light of a recent increase of coronavirus cases.

The MEPs also called for "immediate action to allow medicines, protective gears, masks, and ICU-units into the territory," according to a statement released by the Euro-Med Monitor on Monday.

"The Israeli government has to end its siege of Gaza now, and WHO should make sure Palestinians, whose healthcare system is collapsing, have access to decent healthcare," the monitor quoted its chairman, Ramy Abdu, as saying.

Abdu additionally called on the international community to allocate vaccines for the Gaza strip, where he said "many face an imminent death".

The petition also calls on the EU to send immediate medical aid to Gaza through the World Health Organization (WHO) and for Israel to lift its blockade to allow the aid through.

Read more: UN agency chief fears 'disaster' in Gaza as funding runs dry

"Today, the numbers of Covid-19 cases, which are spreading like fire in refugee camps in Gaza, are telling of the catastrophic situation there," he said.

According to the NGO, the Gaza Strip lacks 32 percent of basic medicines and 62 percent of laboratory drugs it needs for its population.

The densely populated strip has logged over 33,800 coronavirus infections, resulting in at least 271 deaths. 

Israel claims the blockade is necessary to cut off arms supply to Hamas, the Islamist rulers in charge of the strip.

NGOs say the siege has come at a devastating humanitarian cost.

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