Australian Greens foreign affairs spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam has accused the Australian government of unforgivable silence over the blockade of Gaza, in light of a UN statement today that the area will become uninhabitable by 2020 if the current economic conditions there continue.
"Ordinary Palestinians have been caught up in this political siege for too long," Senator Ludlam said.
"Without reliable access to power, water, food, healthcare, education or housing, the ability of Palestinians to live in Gaza is already tenuous. Now the UN says it will be impossible within five short years.
"Over the past six years, consecutive Israeli military assaults have de-industrialised the Gaza Strip: destroying power and water infrastructure, targeting education and healthcare facilities, and reducing tens of thousands of homes to rubble. This report highlights this destructive social and economic aftermath.
"All the while, the Australian Government has stood in silence without a word of criticism.
"It's unforgivable, and implies that Israeli authorities can continue to prosecute this immoral and self-defeating policy with impunity.
"In reducing Gaza to a broken moonscape, Israel is provoking exactly the kind of security instability it claims to be trying to prevent.
"The UN report today points to the inevitable consequence of repeated military assaults and the long-running impacts of this siege: the place is no longer capable of supporting 1.8 million people.
"Australia, as a long-standing friend of Israel, is obliged to step up and play its part in advocating for the siege of Gaza to be lifted once and for all."
Today, the UN Conference on Trade and Disarmament (UNCTAD) has stated: "In addition to the 500,000 people who have been displaced in Gaza as a result of the most recent military operation, the report estimates significant economic losses, including the destruction or severe damage of more than 20,000 Palestinian homes, 148 schools and 15 hospitals and 45 primary health-care centres."