Israel aims to force Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to leave the enclave through a strategy of pressuring them and making their living conditions hard, says a UN special rapporteur.
“One of the tactics I think is to demoralize the Palestinians to an extent that at least a large number of them will seek to leave,” Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told Press TV in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
“And … I think it is also a way of keeping the situation under a permanent form of control that eliminates any possibility of real political challenge from the Palestinians,” Falk went on to say.
The UN’s special rapporteur made the remarks after the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees announced that Israel has “deliberately” impoverished Palestinians in the Gaza Strip through its strict siege on the enclave.
On Tuesday, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said Gaza was beset with a 45.2 percent unemployment rate in late 2010 — an increase from the jobless figure of the first half of the year.
UNRWA’s spokesman Chris Gunness said it was "hard to understand the logic" of the blockade, saying it "deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially-productive people to a life of destitution."
"It has certainly been highly successful in punishing some of the poorest of the poor in the Middle East region," the official noted.
Gunness also pointed out that, according to the UNRWA research, “since 2007, Hamas has been able to increase public employment by about one fifth."
The Israeli regime laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after the democratically-elected Hamas lawmakers took over the administration of the enclave.
The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the impoverished territory.
Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.
“I have consistently felt that it is a terrible failure of [the] international responsibility to allow this kind of collective punishment against an entire[ly] entrapped people to continue year after year,” Falk stated.