So, Finally 3 weeks and 2 days after leaving Ireland, We managed to return to Gaza. After spending one week in Cairo we moved to El Arish as it was reported the border would be open the following day. We ended up spending a further 2 weeks in El Arish.
From 6 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. each day in El Arish, all forms of communication are cut off, phone lines, mobiles and internet by the military ( who are very visible at all times ) . Friends in Gaza would try to stay in contact, with regards to the following days information on the crossing, either late the night before or very very early the next morning.
In the end we were able to cross when it opened for 2 days to allow pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia to cross. Although we are delighted to finally be back in Gaza, It is utterly disgraceful that we, as Irish citizens who chose to live in Gaza ( and are very lucky to do so) should be allowed to enter while Palestinians are still denied the right to return home via the Rafah crossing ( or indeed any other crossing) .The border has now been closed to “regular” passage for more than one month now with catastrophic consequences. A baby boy has died as he waited for the border to open so he could receive medical treatment in Turkey, and sadly this is just one story of many…( details of the story ) http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=681338
Gaza is in the midst of a thunder and lightening storm. Cold , wet and windy, we could be back in Ireland but for the threat of a large scale Israeli attack . After 3 of its members were killed by the occupation forces, Islamic Jihad fired up to 130 rockets towards Israel, who retaliated over the next 2 nights. At least 29 airstrikes took place North and South Gaza.
You can read a summary of the last few days here: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/bombards-multiple-airstrikes.html
All crossings in to and out of Gaza are now shut tight, including the goods crossing at Karem Shalom. Because of this, the sole power plant in Gaza has now run out of fuel again and is to close tonight. This means Gaza will again be back to 12 hours with out electricity and 6 hours on.
Gaza power plant closes! ( click below for details)
But, we are back! We will take a trip to Umm Al Nasser in the next few days and update you all on the village and how they are all doing. We will fill you in on our plans for the next few months in Gaza and as always keep you updated on any and all occurences.
You should also check out a new blog available.
“Kathleen and Gillian are paramedics who work on emergency ambulances in England and New Zealand respectively. Both have previously been involved in human rights work at home and abroad, including the West Bank.
They arrived in Gaza in March 2013 with the following hopes and aims:
– To learn more about the health care structure and situation in Gaza, both for health workers and people accessing care.
– To build links and solidarity between Gazan health care workers and their colleagues abroad.
– To understand the impact of Israeli attacks and the continuing blockade on the Gazan health care system.
– To provide specialist pre-hospital training to ambulance workers and others, if needed.
– To bring desperately needed medical supplies across the border, donated by friends and health care professionals from New Zealand, the UK and others.
– To meet ambulance workers and other health care workers, to hear about their working conditions and the challenges they face.
-To work in the pre-hospital environment where possible, and contribute our specialist skills as best we can.
This blog hopes to act as a small window into the health situation in Gaza, and will be updated as frequently as possible.”
Check them out at http://paramedicsingaza.org/