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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Occupation Forces’

Plight of Gazans amid Israel’s Scorched Earth Policy

Posted by terres on February 6, 2009

Thousands of Gazans survivors are forced to live in tents after Israel’s three-week murderous campaign of bombing and shelling obliterated their homes. Refugees in their own country, they subsist on what little food Israel allows to reach them, less than a tenth of what they need!

Homeless Palestinians squeeze into tents in Gaza

By Andrew Hammond

HAY AL-SALAM, Gaza Strip, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Thousands of Palestinians are living in tented camps after Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip, hoping for a swift end to Israel’s blockade so they can rebuild their homes.

Palestinian women sit in front of tents near their destroyed house in Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip, February 4, 2009. Picture taken February 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA). Image may be subject to copyright.

Aid workers said on Thursday at least 16,000 people have found temporary accommodation in 10 camps set up in districts laid to waste in a war that local medical officials said left around 1,300 Palestinians dead and more than 5,000 wounded.

But conditions are cramped, with several thousands of tents held up at border crossings from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

Israel has limited supplies into the coastal enclave since Hamas Islamists took control in fighting with the Fatah group of U.S.-backed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“I worked for 28 years as a teacher in the United Arab Emirates and I put it all into this house,” said Yousef Abu Eida, pointing to a collapsed concrete mass behind the tents in the Hay al-Salam district of Jabalya refugee camp.

“I lost everything.”

Aid agencies have handed out blankets for the cold nights, when the camp residents gather around log fires. So far, latrines have only been installed in some of them.

But with no formal ceasefire in place between Israel and Hamas, they say they don’t feel safe. The Israeli border is visible only a short distance away.

“We can’t sleep at night. We’re afraid the tanks will come back. They (Israelis) say they want this area as a ‘safe zone’. People are frightened,” said Bashir Khidr, who shares a tent with 20 other people.

COLLAPSED HOMES

As he talks, children navigate the concrete slabs and twisted iron and steel of collapsed homes.

Building materials are banned because Israel says they could be used for making rockets fired into its south.

“We ask European and Arab countries to open the crossings to allow building materials in and humanitarian needs to give shelter to thousands,” said Diab Dhumeida, a charity volunteer.

He said 450 families lost homes in the Salam district and another 340 tents are needed to give each a space of their own.

Aid pledged by countries around the world has only trickled in pending a deal between Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, which borders Gaza on the south.

Khalil Abufoul, head of disaster management unit at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, said that 800 to 1,000 trucks used to enter the territory daily before the 2007 Israeli blockade.

“During the war it fell to 50 to 60 trucks a day — now it’s about 100 to 120 for different organisations and companies,” Abufoul said. “For me this is not humanitarian access, you need more flow than before but the flow is very little.” (Editing by Samia Nakhoul). Copyright Reuters.

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Posted in humanitarian needs, Israeli blockade, Jabalya refugee camp, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Salam district | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UN Report on Ongoing Genocide in Gaza

Posted by terres on January 13, 2009

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Situation Report on the Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip – No. 9
12 January 2009

The following information is based on reports from member states, the UN Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory, humanitarian partners and authorities involved in the humanitarian response.

General Overview

1. The Israeli military operation has entered its seventeenth day. On 10 January, leaflets were dropped on Gaza City, warning of an escalation of the operation. Israel has since deployed reservist units inside Gaza to support regular troops. With continued fighting, an increasing number of Palestinians are fleeing their homes to seek refuge with hosts or in shelters. The Palestinian casualty rate is also rapidly increasing. Continued air strikes are causing extensive damage to homes and public infrastructure while jeopardizing water, sanitation and medical services.

2. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) (as at 1600 hrs local time, 1400 hrs GMT), the number of Palestinian casualties had increased to 910 fatalities, including a high number of civilians (at least 75 women, 292 children and twelve medical personnel). At least 4,250 Palestinians have been injured, including at least 1,497 children and 626 women as of 12 January.

3. As at 1500 hrs (1300 hrs GMT), sixteen rockets had been fired into Israel from Gaza including five Grad rockets. Twenty-two rockets were fired from Palestine into Israel on 11 January. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that since 27 December there have been four Israeli fatalities and over 250 Israelis injured.


In this photo released by the Israeli Occupation Forces, Israeli soldiers walk towards the northern Gaza Strip to kill women and children January 12, 2009. [Photo not included in the UN report.]

4. On 12 January, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip and accusing it of “grave” human rights violations against Palestinians (see Resolution attached). The Resolution includes the following: a decision, “to dispatch an urgent independent international fact-finding mission…to investigate all violations of international human rights law and International Humanitarian Law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian People…”; “requests the Secretary General of the United Nations to investigate the latest targeting of UNRWA facilities in Gaza”; and “requests the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to report on the violations of human rights of the Palestinian people by…Israel, through a) strengthening the field presence of the office in the occupied Gaza Strip; b) [submitting] periodic reports to the Human Rights Council on the implementation of this resolution…” Thirty-three states voted in favour of the resolution, thirteen abstained and one voted against the resolution.

5. The UN Secretary General will travel to the region during the week of 12 January to meet with leaders and advocate for the expedited implementation of Security Council Resolution 1860. …


Palestinians are reflected in a puddle of blood mixed with water after an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 12, 2009. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem. [Image NOT included in the UN report and may be subject to copyright.]

Protection

9. Insecurity continues to constrain access to civilians in need of medical care, as well as the distribution of humanitarian assistance. On 11 January, the ICRC stated that, “the big challenge [in Gaza] at the moment is to have access to the victims in such an unpredictable and dangerous context”. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) suspended activities in the Al Zeitoun and Al Atatra regions as of 11 January, after their ambulances were exposed to gunfire in those regions on 9 and 10 January. Two ambulance personnel were injured and one ambulance was damaged in these incidents. The PRCS further noted that only five of 135 recent attempts to coordinate access to affected areas were successful; however, “in the five cases [the PRCS was] not able to complete [the] humanitarian tasks because of the obstacles and the gunfire…”

10. On 12 January, there was a unilateral suspension of military activity by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) between 1000 — 1300 hrs (0700-1000 hrs GMT).

11. On 11 January, citing the lack of safe spaces for children in Gaza, UNICEF expressed grave concern about the mental health of children who have endured over two weeks of conflict. It was highlighted that UNICEF teams are ready to be deployed to meet children’s psychosocial needs, as the situation allows.

Food

12. Due to shortages in wheat flour, all but 12 bakeries have stopped functioning, and those operating are relying on a loan of 300 MTs of flour from WFP, provided on 11 January. Food for infants and for malnourished children is not available, and fruit and vegetables are scarce because farmers have been unable to harvest due to
insecurity and transport of products from the south has been constrained.

13. Humanitarian agencies continue to face obstacles to the distribution of food aid within Gaza. The three-hour lull is not sufficient for food distributions; to meet urgent needs, agencies continue distributions outside of the lull, thereby exposing them to serious security risks. On 11 January, UNRWA distributed 2,129 food parcels for hardship cases, large families and households that had been stranded for two days, in addition to normal food distributions. UNRWA distributed 92 MTs to 1,273 families and conducted an emergency distribution of 4,200 kilos of bread.

Health
14. Hospital emergency rooms and staff are severely overstretched due to the high number of wounded Palestinians who require treatment. In particular, WHO has warned that an increased number of patients need to be evacuated (through the Rafah crossing or otherwise) in order to free up space in the Shifa Hospital intensive care unit. On 12 January, the PRCS also noted that, “many wounded people are dying as a result of not accessing urgent medical attention”.

15. On 12 January, the ICRC surgical team in Shifa hospital confirmed an increase in the number of children arriving at the emergency room. Furthermore, the ICRC reported that according to the Palestinian MoH on 12 January, almost 50 percent of all wounded people currently arriving at Gaza hospitals are women and children.

16. Primary health care also continues to deteriorate: the World Health Organization reported that 34 out of 56 primary health care centres are open, but there is a 90 percent reduction in visits because the centres cannot be reached due to insecurity.

Water and Sanitation
17. Due to insecurity and a lack of spare parts, none of the damage sustained by the water and wastewater networks has been repaired. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) received initial reports that the Gaza City Wastewater Treatment Plant had leaked 200,000 cubic metres of wastewater, due to damage to the embankment of one of the treatment ponds. Security permitting, assessments will be carried out to confirm the situation at the plant in the coming days. The overflow of wastewater poses serious public health concerns related to the spread of water borne diseases.

18. The PRCS will distribute 500 UNICEF family kits for water purification and 29,952 bottles of drinking water (1.5 litres each), which entered Gaza on 11 January.

19. On 11 January, UNRWA provided 41,000 litres of fuel to municipalities for solid waste collection. The Gaza Municipality estimates that 3,000-4,000 tonnes of rubbish have not been collected throughout the Gaza Strip since 3 January.

Shelter and Non-Food Items
20. The number of people seeking refuge in UNRWA shelters continues to rise: as of the evening of 11 January, UNRWA was accommodating 28,116 people in 36 emergency shelters. During 11 January, the number of displaced persons seeking shelter increased by 2,240, which was the largest increase reported thus far in the Gaza and Kahn Yunis Govornates. To reduce overcrowding in existing shelters, five additional shelters were opened on 11 January and two more were opened on 12 January. Shelters in the North Gaza and Gaza Governorates continue to face a shortage of non-food items.

21. For those who remain in their homes, a shortage of shelter materials, such as plastic sheeting, is constraining the repair of damage, which is necessary to provide protection against the cold.

Infrastructure, Fuel and Electricity
22. Approximately 40 percent of the North Gaza, Gaza and Middle Area Governorates are now receiving power for 8-12 hours per day after the repair of localized damage on 11 and 12 January. GEDCO is awaiting confirmation for safe passage to repair other localized damage and to repair the three damaged electricity lines coming from
Israel.

23. On 12 January, UNRWA escorted five trucks of industrial fuel (235,000 litres) to the Gaza Power Plant; 360,000 litres of industrial fuel remain at the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz pipeline and UNRWA is awaiting confirmation from the Israeli authorities for safe passage to collect this fuel.

Read Full Report Here (.PDF)

Posted in children in Gaza, Holocaust, human rights of the Palestinian people, Security Council, United Nations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top UN Official Condemns Apartheid by Israel

Posted by terres on November 29, 2008

International community should consider sanctions against Israel including ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ —UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann

“General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann said the international community should consider sanctions against Israel including ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ similar to those enacted against South Africa two decades ago.” The Jerusalem Post reported.

Father d’Escoto added: “Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away. I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term. We must not be afraid to call something what it is.”


Nasser al Bourai carries the body of his 6-months old son Mohammed al Bourai who was killed by an Israeli missile in occupied Gaza. Image Credit: Mohammed Omer – Rafah Today 2008-03-01. Image may be subject to copyright. For more images: Click here.


Mourners carrying the body of Tamer Abu Shaar to be buried in Deir Al Balah  cemetery. Tamar was ‘luckier’ than Mohammed al Bourai because he made it to the grand age of 9 before being cut down by Israeli occupation forces. Photo Credit: RafahToday. Image may be subject to copyright.

Remarks by Phyllis Bennis

Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and serves on the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation. Her books include “Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer.”

She said: “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza—which will not be reversed simply by Israel’s one-time loosening of the siege on Monday— has escalated largely outside public view, with Israel continuing to prevent foreign journalists and UN officials from entering, while keeping Palestinian journalists and human rights workers from leaving the besieged Gaza Strip. Father Miguel d’Escoto’s statement to the UN General Assembly on Monday helped cast some new light on that too-often hidden reality.

“But even beyond the Gaza crisis, d’Escoto’s statement was significant for his call on the United Nations to follow the lead of former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter, along with a growing number of Jewish, Christian and other civil society organizations around the world, including the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation here in the U.S., who recognize the applicability of the term ‘apartheid’ to describe Israeli policies towards Palestinians, and call for a South African-style non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to pressure Israel to end those illegal practices.” Source.

See d’Escoto’s remarks at: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/unifeed/detail/10515.html [Registration required.]

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Posted in GENOCIDE, human rights, humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israel, Phyllis Bennis | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mass Murder in Gaza Strip Continues

Posted by terres on April 17, 2008

At least 20 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian fatalities included at least five children and a Reuters cameraman. Three Israel soldiers were also killed.

Reuters said that their cameramen, Fadel Shana, was killed by a direct hit from an Israeli tank shell. the Footage from Shana’s camera showed an Israeli tank firing a shell in his direction, before the image went blank.
territories
Reuters report concerning the cause of Shana’s death was confirmed by an autopsy which determined Shana suffered fatal injuries consistent with the darts scattered by “flechette” tank shells from an Israeli tank.

Posted in ethnic cleansing, GENOCIDE, human rights, Israel, occupied territories, palestine, racism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »