The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip continues to worsen, as the Israeli-blockaded sliver is grappling with cold weather coupled with severe fuel and electricity shortage.
Reports coming out of Gaza indicate that heavy rains have caused flooding in the besieged Gaza Strip, turning the roads into rivers. Meanwhile, contaminated water has also flown in the streets due to the interruption of electricity.
According to reports, the situation in Gaza is so tough that even emergency crew are unable to help people due to lack of rescue equipment.
The Palestinian Government estimated the Gaza people affected by the floods and heavy rain at 662 households accounting for 2825.
Government Spokesman Mr. Ihab al-Ghusain told ALRAY "137 households accounting for 787 people have been housed by the government in emergency shelters in schools and police stations and received assistance such as food, clothing and blankets,"
On Tuesday, 17 December, Palestinian fishermen will pitch a protest tent in the Gaza seaport. The structure, which will stand for three days and be decorated with pictures of fishermen attacked or captured by the Israeli navy, is a demonstration against Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and its military attacks on Palestinian fishermen.
10 December 2013
When I finally entered the Gaza Strip on October 18, 2012, I wept. The trip across the Sinai and the crossing at the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza (as described in detail by my colleagues Máire Noonan and Verena Stresing) seemed long and fraught. This was my fourth attempt to reach Gaza, so it was emotional for me to finally arrive. We were there for a linguistics conference, and had the opportunity to meet some wonderful young people who were thirsting for contact with the outside world. We felt lucky to be able to travel there and meet them, and to enjoy some legendary Palestinian hospitality.
Our timing was indeed very lucky: the same trip a year later would be impossible, since the Egyptian military has since closed down that crossing.
Since the July 2012 coup and the Egyptian military's xenophobic scapegoating of Palestinians, the crackdown at the Rafah crossing has become brutal. The stories of individuals unable to cross are heartbreaking: students losing their academic year and in some cases scholarships because they cannot enroll, sick patients suffering because they cannot reach needed treatments, families kept apart, and worse. The systemic effects are even worse, as lack of fuel limits electricity supplies, which in turn means failure of critical infrastructure: kids wading through sewage on the way to school and having to study by candle-light while hospitals are unable to keep life-saving equipment powered up.
These increasingly unlivable conditions in Gaza are an unnatural human disaster, and entirely preventable. The Israeli blockade and the Egyptian enforcement of it on one side are both political choices by governments that subject Palestinian civilians in Gaza to miserable conditions for political motives. These political choices are in turn enabled by the complicit silence of the governments we elect. So the Palestinians in Gaza know that they cannot depend on governments, only on international civil society — people of conscience the world over — to draw attention on their plight.
For some years I have been working with civil society groups opposing the blockade of Gaza. But you don't have to join our grassroots direct actions in person to support our efforts to challenge the blockade, or join the more than 10 000 people worldwide who have signed a petition initiated by young Palestinians in Gaza calling for the complete opening of the Rafah border in both directions. As an educator, I can't help thinking about the young Palestinians we met in Gaza. Depriving them of freedom of movement means condemning them to a future without hope: if we allow that, we can hardly be surprised if some of them turn to hopeless actions.
Personal emotional responses aside, my ability to travel to Gaza is of course not the real issue. What is really at stake here is one of the basic human rights that the occupation deprives Palestinians of on a regular basis: the right to travel about their land, to leave and return to their country. Freedom of movement, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is fundamental for everything from education and health care to the ability to earn a living and see your family.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says the Israeli blockade on Gaza and restrictions on freedom of movement throughout Palestine amount to collective punishment, a violation of fundamental human rights. On Human Rights Day (or any other day), you can learn more about lack of freedom of movement imposed on the West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh by the same occupation, its effect on people's livelihoods as well as what you can do to about it in this Write for Rights action featured by Amnesty International. Although the situations vary in different parts of Palestine, the overarching violation of the right of freedom of movement is a constant of the occupation.
The urgent need for a comprehensive action on the disastrous situation in Gaza has largely been ignored.
The shutdown of Gaza's only power plant has led to a humanitarian crisis across the strip [AP]
The cycle is occurring again. The Gaza Strip, and the 1.7 million Palestinians who live there, periodically force their way into international headlines, driven by a crisis so urgent they can no longer be ignored. Politicians wring their hands; activists and relief agencies issue calls for help and organise convoys of supplies and volunteers; and the media practice pack journalism by running a story or two. Then, once conditions are no longer quite so dire, the world's attention veers on to the next tragedy, or to affairs that more directly affect the superpowers that set the agenda.
Meanwhile, the underlying problems fester on, waiting to burst forth again a few months down the road, in a never-ending cycle of futility and hopelessness.
High-tech machine was supposed to offer solution to Israel’s security concerns about Gazan exports.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has canceled a gala ceremony planned for Sunday to inaugurate a new container scanner donated by the Netherlands to Israel’s border crossing with the Gaza Strip, due to Israel’s refusal to view the high-tech machine as grounds for allowing exports fromGaza to the West Bank to resume.