Paris (QNN)- Over 250 global artists and writers, including award-winning artists, have appealed to Israel to stop the “siege” of Gaza, saying the coronavirus epidemic could have a devastating effect in “the world’s largest open air prison”.
“Long before the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm the already devastated healthcare system in Gaza, the UN had predicted the blockaded coastal strip would be unlivable by 2020,” an online letter signed by over 250 artists and writers, including rocker Peter Gabriel, director Ken Loach and actor Viggo Mortensen.
“With the pandemic, Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world’s largest open-air prison.”
Other signatories included poet Taha Adnan, Canadian writer Naomi Klein and British group Massive Attack.
The letter warned of the already poor medical condition in the besieged strip.
“Well before the ongoing crisis, Gaza’s hospitals were already stretched to breaking point through lack of essential resources denied by Israel’s siege. Its healthcare system could not cope with the thousands of gunshot wounds, leading to many amputations,” the artists said.
“Reports of the first cases of coronavirus in densely populated Gaza are therefore deeply disturbing. We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.”
The Gaza strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007 as the occupation state decided to collectively punish Gazans after they elected Hamas to represent them in the legislative council in the first free parliamentary elections since 1996.