The huge scale destruction of Palestinian property and livelihoods in the Gaza Strip by Israel in the name of security is increasing the intense humanitarian hardship for Palestinians. In the past two weeks, according to reports, 200 houses have been destroyed in Rafah, 18 Palestinians have been killed and 1,700 left homeless. Abdul Hadi Abu Khasa, director of the Gaza branch of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC) told Christian Aid that it was difficult to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need due to the huge security risks involved in moving around the Gaza strip in this current crisis. "We have homelessness, and water and sewage plants have been demolished - but our teams cannot pass through the checkpoints to offer help and so the fear of what will come next grows," he said. Yael Stein, from Christian Aid partner Btselem, the Israeli human rights organisation, said: 'Israelis are so affected by their own security fears that they find it difficult to listen to the voices of human rights organisations' Israeli actions in Rafah have followed a series of tragedies which have affected both Israelis and Palestinians. Families have been murdered in restaurants, innocent bystanders slaughtered in refugee camps and American diplomats killed in the Gaza. Yet as the death toll rises, the international community prevaricates about how it should engage. The international community, including the UK government, has recognised that the best solution for peace and increased prosperity would be the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Until Palestinians can sense some tangible improvement in their lives and Israelis understand that the security measures currently employed are unlikely to solve their long-term security concerns, then it will be hard to convince the two populations that a two-state solution is a viable option for future peace and security.
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