Monday, January 5, 2009
There is no humanitarian crises in Gaza – yeah right.
Gaza humanitarian crisis deepens
Aid agencies say the already fragile humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated dramatically since Israel began its military offensive.
Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza for the past 18 months, allowing little more than humanitarian basics into the coastal territory. Health, energy and water infrastructure were already close to breaking point before the fighting broke out.
Israel has stopped maintaining, as it did for the first week of the operation, that there is "no humanitarian crisis" in the territory.
It now says it is working with international organisations to solve humanitarian problems. But it says Hamas is responsible for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and is "holding the people hostage" by targeting Israeli civilians. On Monday, UN humanitarian coordinator Max Gaylard said: "Large numbers of people, including many children, are hungry, they are cold and without ready access to medical facilities, without access to electricity and running water, above all they are terrified - that by any measure is a humanitarian crisis."
Of all the things that Israel have tried to use to defend the indefensible, their claim that there is no humanitarian crises in Gaza is surely the most audacious. The economic strangulation Israel has put Gaza under since the people of Gaza had the temerity of electing a political party that Israel and the US didn’t like (which is funny for two countries that bray so much about democracy), the people of Gaza have been slowly crushed in conditions that after a 4 decade brutal occupation were already crippling. Let’s look at the facts…
Some 750,000 people - half Gaza's population - are dependent on food hand-outs from the UN relief agency, Unrwa. In December, it had to suspend distribution at times because it ran out of flour after Israel closed the border crossings into Gaza repeatedly.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been attempting to co-ordinate safe passage with the Israelis, but says in many cases this has not been possible or has taken too long.
"Basically people are dying while they're waiting," said spokeswoman Sophie-Anne Bonefeld.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is trying to get 1,000 doses of tetanus vaccine through the crossings because, according to its information, there is none left in Gaza.
Five of Unrwa's 18 medical clinics have closed because of the fighting.
The UN said on Sunday that all of Gaza City's hospitals had been without mains electricity for 48 hours.
The UN says a million people in Gaza are without electricity. The territory's only power plant, which supplies much of Gaza City, shut down on 30 December because it ran out of industrial diesel fuel.
A delivery of 215,000 litres of industrial diesel were transferred into Gaza on 5 January - about 10% of what the Supreme Court has set as a minimum weekly level to be allowed through under the blockade.
The UN estimated on 5 January that 250,000 people did not have access to running water.
According to Gaza's water utility body, 48 of the territory's 130 wells are not working at all due to lack of power and damage to the pipes, while another 45 are operating partially.
I’m sorry, but this adds up to a humanitarian crises that will only further radicalize Palestinians and for Israel to try and deny that horror and their own role in creating this humanitarian crises is in itself another indication of how little trust you can put into Israel’s intentions. There is no military solution to this and we are witnessing a massacre.