Israel has changed the Gaza Strip into a prison for Palestinians where life is "intolerable, appalling and tragic," a UN human rights envoy said on Tuesday.
"Gaza is a prison; and Israel seems to have thrown away the key, " John Dugard, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, told a session of the Human Rights Council.
From a human rights perspective, the situation in Gaza "has deteriorated each year until the present time, which is intolerable, appalling, tragic - call it what you will - for the ordinary Palestinian," he said.
The South African lawyer, who has been a special UN investigator since 2001, repeated earlier accusations that Israel is breaking international humanitarian law with security measures which amount to "collective punishment."
"What Israel chooses to describe as 'collateral damage' to the civilian population is in fact indiscriminate killing prohibited by international law," he said.
He also mentioned Israel's destroying in June of the only domestic power plant in Gaza, causing power cuts. Israeli tanks and bulldozers also have destroyed houses, schools and farm lands.
According to the envoy, besides Israel, the United States, Canada and the EU should also be blamed, as they "have contributed substantially to the humanitarian crisis by withdrawing funding not only from the Palestinian Authority but also the Palestinian people."
He said the United Nations and all its members states should also bear responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in occupied Palestinian territories.
If the international community cannot recognize what is happening in occupied Palestinian territories and take some action, "they must not be surprised if the people of the planet disbelieve that they are seriously committed to the promotion of human rights, " Dugard said.