The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has demanded an end to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip, saying the move violates the Geneva Conventions.
In an unprecedented criticism against Israel, the ICRC on Monday condemned the blockade for causing "acute hardships" for nearly 1.5 million Palestinians in the territory.
"The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law," BBC quoted a statement by the agency.
Unequipped hospitals, hours-long blackouts, lack of drinkable water, poverty and unemployment are among the many problems Gazans suffer under the Israeli closure of their homeland, cutting off the coastal sliver from the outside world.
The Geneva-based group also rapped Israel over its May 31 attack on a humanitarian aid convoy and the killing of some 20 activists onboard the Freedom Flotilla. It said the onslaught highlights the plight of the Palestinians in the impoverished enclave.
The Red Cross further accused Israel of choking off any real possibility of economic development in the strip.