With the closure of the tunnels ( a lifeline for Gaza) and the frequent closure of the Rafah and Karem Shalom crossings into Gaza, The effects and consequences of the brutal Israeli siege on Gaza is felt even more these days. Gaza’s economy suffers with no construction materials entering, food and fuel shortages are leaving people hungry and prices of basic commodities rising means even basic human needs are not being met. The world , with access to 24 hour television channels and world wide internet is still watching but refusing to see!!!!!!!!
Following are some headlines !!!
As noose tightens, Palestinians in Gaza face darkest days
Palestinians wait at a gas station in Gaza City on 1 September 2013, as tightening blockade has worsened fuel crisis.
No fuel in #Gaza which kills transportation & paralyzes life! More darkness to b cursed, no more generators, just emptiness all around!
These tweets by blogger Omar Ghraieb capture the despair many of Gaza’s almost 1.7 million Palestinian residents feel as Israel’s blockade, compounded by Egypt’s intensifying crackdown, has brought the territory once more to the brink of catastrophe.
Since the 3 July military coup against Egypt’s elected president Muhammad Morsi, the military regime has destroyed almost all the vital underground supply tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.
This week, Egypt began demolishing houses along its side of its border with Gaza, a futile and criminal Israeli-style tactic, that is seen as a prelude to establishing a “buffer zone” to further isolate Gaza.
As a result of these and other Egyptian measures, supplies of some critical medicines have hit zero, the construction industry has collapsed, and the Rafah crossing, the only entry and exit for most Gazans, is frequently closed.
The population of Gaza still faces 12-hour daily blackouts due to Israel’s destruction of the electricity infrastructure, but even the relief provided by noisy and often dangerous portable generators is fading into darkness as fuel supplies run out.
A new report, “Slow Death; The Collective Punishment of Gaza has reached a Critical Stage,” from the human rights monitoring group Euro-Mid Observer, highlights the acute crisis that compounds the effects of the prolonged Israeli blockade.
Ten facts about the Gaza blockade
The report is worth reading in full, but these ten facts about the impact of the blockade capture the scale of the mounting catastrophe and underscore the urgent need for pressure on Israel to end it and for Egypt to end its complicity.
- According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 57 percent of Gaza households are food insecure as of July 2013, however, if the current Israeli and Egyptians measures remain as they are, 65 percent of Gaza households will be food insecure (World Food Program estimate June 2010).
- As of August 2013, over a third (35.5 percent) of those able and willing to work are unemployed (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) – one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Economists expect that the continuous closure of the tunnels will lead to a sharp increase in the unemployment level (43 percent by the end of 2013 compare with 32 percent in June 2013).
- The continuous closure of the tunnels will lead to a 3 percent decline in the growth by the end of 2013 compared with 15 percent as of June 2013.
- The construction sector is working at less than 15 percent of its previous capacity leading to more than 30,000 losses in job opportunities since July 2013.
- A longstanding electricity deficit, compounded by shortages in fuel needed to run Gaza’s power plant, results in power outages of up to 12 hours a day (UN OCHA, July 2013).
- Only a quarter of households receive running water every day, during several hours only.
- Over 90 percent of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption.
- Some 90 million liters of untreated and partially treated sewage are dumped in the sea off the Gaza coast each day, creating public health hazards.
- Over 12,000 people are currently displaced due to their inability to reconstruct their homes, destroyed during hostilities (UNOCHA, July 2013).
- The economy has endured severe losses worth $460 million in all economic sectors within the past two months. (Ministry of Economy- Gaza)
Collective punishment, collective crime
Although it remains the occupying power, Israel declared Gaza a “hostile entity” in 2007 and its then prime minister Ehud Olmert declared, “We will not allow the opening of the crossings to Gaza and outside of Gaza to the extent that it will help them bring back life into a completely normal pace.”
These and other Israeli official statements quoted in the Euro-Mid report highlight that the catastrophe in Gaza is a calculated and intended effect of the siege, making it a war crime and collective punishment under international law.
Euro-Mid calls on the “international community,” to pressure Israel to end the blockade.
That call is right, but it is an unavoidable fact that the siege would not have lasted seven long years already without the complicity and support of the “international community” in the form of the United States and its allies, particularly the European Union and compliant Arab regimes.
The siege is collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza, but it is also a collective crime.
EGYPT ARMY PLANS BUFFER ZONE ALONG GAZA BORDER
Hamas said Friday that two Palestinian fishermen were wounded and five others arrested by the Egyptian navy off the coast of the Gaza Strip.
“Some Egyptian navy ships fired in the direction of Palestinian fishing boats near the Egyptian border off the coast of Rafah at dawn on Friday,” the Hamas government’s press agency reported.
“Two fishermen were wounded and five others arrested,” said Hamas.
They were both taken to the hospital in Rafah, medical sources said, adding that their lives were not in danger.
Hamas described the incident as an “unjustified act,” and called for those “detained to be freed.”
Egypt did not immediately confirm the incident, which took place amid growing tensions with Hamas.
Gaza fishing boats often venture into Egyptian waters to compensate for the restriction caused by a maritime blockade imposed by Israel on the coastal strip.
But the practice has been less and less tolerated, since former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood is close to Hamas, was ousted in a military coup on July 3.
Under the terms of the current Israeli restrictions, Gaza fishermen are not allowed to enter waters more than six nautical miles from the shore, and complain that the area is insufficient to support the needs of Gaza’s population.
International report says collective punishment of Gaza has reached critical stage
- Thursday, 05 September 2013 12:16
Two months after the military coup in Egypt, the Gaza Strip continues to live through the worst shortages of medical equipment and fuel as well as difficulties on movement in and out of the Strip, a report issued by three international organisations said.
EuroMid Observer for Human Rights in cooperation with the Palestinian Return Centre in London (PRC) and Malaysian Consultative Organization (MAPIM) issued the report, ‘Slow Death’. The report focused on the negative effects of the siege on Gaza which has led to severe shortages in the Strip.
According to the report, Gaza residents are facing “severe shortages” in their basic needs as well as healthcare equipment and medicines. It also said that all other sectors were suffering serious shortages.
The report said that food and fuel needs can barely be met as the Egyptian army has closed most of the tunnels used to smuggle in essential goods.
The report also explained how the closure of the Rafah crossing by the Egyptians had affected the freedom of movement of Gaza’s residents. Thousands of Palestinians and foreigners wanting to leave the Strip as well as thousands wanting to enter face major difficulties because of the closure of the crossing the report said.
The report, which had a detailed look at the effects of the siege since its early stages, summarised the current deterioration in living conditions in Gaza as being at its worst since November 2008, when Israel launched a full-scale military operation, Cast Lead.
The unemployment rate in Gaza has hit 35.5 per cent, according to the report, and the rate is set to continue to rise as more tunnels are being closed day by day.
As a result of the shortage of fuel and electricity, only a quarter of households receive running water for a couple of hours on a daily basis.
People started to feel the shortage of clean drinking water as mass filters cut daily work hours. “Over 90 per cent of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption.”
On sewage water, the report said that, “Some 90 million litres of untreated or partially treated sewage water are dumped in the sea off the Gaza coast each day, creating public health hazards.”
The Gaza economy has endured severe losses worth of $460million in all economic sectors within the past two months.
The organisations that issued the report called for Israel to lift the siege on Gaza and to end the suffering of innocent civilians. They also called for Egyptian authorities to fully open the Rafah crossing without any restrictions.
They went on to call for the international community to put pressure on Israel to push it to stop “human rights violations.” They also called for the international community to separate the “collective punishment of the Palestinians by Israel from the political conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis.”
On freedom of movement, they called for the international community, mainly the EU and US, to “initiate and support the need for a seaport in Gaza that guarantees the free import and export of goods and private international travel.” This would, to a large extent, contribute to solving the food, fuel and trade problems