Gaza 2020: Has the Palestinian territory reached the point of no return?

December 9, 2019
Seven years ago, amid Israel's ongoing siege, the UN predicted that Gaza could be unliveable by 2020. But analysts say that moment arrived long ago

Women in Khan Younis mourn Fahd al-Astal, 16, killed near the border fence with Israel in November 2019

Megan O’Toole reports in Middle East Eye:

In 2012, a United Nations report painted a bleak picture of the Gaza Strip and the conditions facing its Palestinian inhabitants.

Its economy was sluggish, its healthcare system beleaguered and its natural resources dwindling. But darker days were to come, the UN predicted.

By 2020, Gaza’s population would surpass two million. Peak demand for electricity would soar by more than 50 percent, the report projected, and the territory’s coastal aquifer could be damaged beyond repair. The UN called for a massive injection of resources, including thousands more doctors and nurses, a doubling of electricity capacity and at least 440 new schools.

It is now almost 2020. The UN’s projections about Gaza’s ballooning demands have proven largely accurate – but the delivery of essential services has failed to catch up.

Unemployment has reached nearly 50 percent, the per-person ratio of doctors and nurses has dropped, more than two-thirds of households are food insecure, and just three percent of Gaza’s aquifer water is safe to drink, according to official statistics and aid agencies.

Michael Lynk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, told MEE: “The prediction of unliveability has already arrived. The common measuring stick used by the UN or any other international organisation to be able to evaluate how people live is human dignity, and Gaza has been without human dignity for years now.”

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