Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pay Attention to Gaza

I want to continue to be attentive to Gaza. Here I try to present a few items and sources for information that I find helpful. Ann

Saleh Al-Naami may have foreseen something, given Israel's push into the Gaza Strip this week, when he wrote "Countdown to the offensive" - "Israel is waiting callously for the Annapolis meeting to pass before wreaking intended destruction on Gaza," he wrote in Al Ahram:

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel issued an appeal for medical supplies that can be found at the PHR-Israel web site:

This is the introduction: "The prolonged siege imposed by the Israeli government on Gaza, the closing of its borders, the tightening of policies regarding permission to exit Gaza for medical purposes, and the severe shortage of medications and other medical supplies all severely damage the Palestinian health system and endanger the lives and health of thousands of Palestinian patients.

"This severe crisis calls for an extraordinary response on the part of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) that is separate from our routine activities. For this reason we intend to implement the following emergency actions:

"- Emergency aid dispatch of humanitarian supplies and a delegation of doctors from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) to Gaza. The aims of this act: emergency aid, even if limited; documentation and dissemination of reliable information regarding the medical situation in Gaza; expression of protest and solidarity with the residents of the Gaza Strip under siege. In order to receive permission for this act we will probably also need to use legal action.

"- Advocacy: representation of dozens of patients applying to our offices each month, whose access to Israel or passage through it for purposes of medical care is denied for “security reasons;” a campaign against the policies of the General Security Service (GSS, shabac) whereby patients are compelled to inform on others as a condition for permission to access medical care. These campaigns will be implemented using litigation and media, targeting Israeli and international audiences."

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued this announcement, "IOF Impose additional Collective Punishment Measures and Reduce Gaza's Fuel Supply - 70% of the Strip's Fuel Stations Shutdown and the Humanitarian Crisis Deepens -

"PCHR strongly condemns the decision by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday (28 November) for a new reduction in the supply of fuel to the Gaza Strip, which already suffers from serious shortages in fuel. The Centre calls upon the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as UN organizations and international humanitarian organizations to intervene immediately to force IOF to stop this decision. This intervention is necessary to avert a humanitarian crisis threatening all aspects of civilian life including the functioning of healthcare facilities, drinking water wells, and sewage
disposal. The fuel cuts threaten to impact the operation of several sectors including health services, environmental services, transportation, education, commerce, industrial production, and agriculture.

"It is noted that this decision is preempted a pending decision by the Israeli High Court on a petition submitted by PCHR and several human rights organizations against the IOF decision on 25 October 2007 to reduce the fuel and electricity supplies to the Strip. The Israeli High Court held a session today to review the petition. However, the decision was delayed.

"Sources in the Association of Owners of Petrol and Gas Companies and Fuel Stations" indicated that the Association rejected receipt of the fuel amounts delivered on Wednesday, 28 November 2007, due to the new reductions implemented by the Israeli supplier, Dor Alon Co. The Israeli company informed the Association of reducing the daily fuel supply to Gaza to 90,000 liters of kerosene, 25,000 liters of benzene, and 100 tons of natural gas. The Association's board held a meeting yesterday, and replied to the Israeli supplier that it rejects receipt of such amounts, citing that the reduction will result in a humanitarian crisis on all aspects of civilian life.

"As a result, nearly 70% of the Strips fuel stations (approximately 100 out of 145) shutdown on this afternoon after their stock of fuel ran out. The remaining stations are expected to close tomorrow evening." [For the complete report go to the web page:]

For more information ... E-mail:; webpage:

OCHA's Protection Civilians Weekly Report, 21-27 November 2007, presents a litany of incidents. Honestly, it is a fascinating and sorrowful exercise to read through this lengthy report:

Here is an excerpt specific to Gaza:

"Of note this week - Gaza Strip:
· The IDF killed eight Palestinians and injured 20 others in the Gaza Strip. Of those injured, 12 were in the North Gaza governorate.
· A mother of seven children from Nuseirat refugee camp died on 24 November due to deterioration in her health condition after she was denied access through Erez to receive medical treatment in an Israeli hospital.
· 31 Qassams and 61 mortars were fired toward Israel. In addition, 11 mortars were fired at IDF soldiers inside the Gaza Strip.
· During the reporting period, the IDF carried out levelling and excavation operations near Erez crossing and the former Erez Inudstrial Zone. As of 27 November, the IDF military operation is ongoing and roads near Erez crossing remain inaccessible.
· Although the GoI announced that Sufa crossing will be re-opened on 25 November, the crossing continues to be closed. This week, however, shipments of lamb were exceptionally allowed entry through Sufa into Gaza on 22 November.
· Nine demonstrations were organised this week: four of which were to protest against the closure of the Gaza crossings; one to protest against the non-issuance of Palestinian ID cards by the Israeli authorities; one to demand that the right of return of Palestinian refugees be respected by negotiators at the Annapolis conference; and three to express opposition for the Annapolis conference."

The Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum is a network of Palestinian and Israeli NGOs working towards peaceful relations. One feature of their web page is a "Media Monitor." Here is the most recent posting from the Palestinian media:

Included is this report from Gaza:
Palestinian Media Monitor, November 27th – December 4th
Gaza and Hamas

Gaza Strip hospitals face "humanitarian disaster" due to fuel shortage, Health Ministry says
Hospitals in the Gaza Strip have been forced to shut down their emergency power generators, resulting in a looming “humanitarian disaster” due to Israel’s severe reductions in fuel supplies, said Muawiya Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The power cut will result in the destruction of millions of dollars of crucial vaccines and food supplies.

Hassanein said the Gaza Strip’s major hospitals, including Ash-Shifa in Gaza City, the European Hospital in Rafah, and Nasser hospital in Khan Younis are already short on fuel.

The shortage is harming intensive care units, dialysis centers, and operating rooms.

The Israeli High Court upheld the government’s decision to reduce fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip on Friday, defeating a petition by Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups. Israel has gradually reduced deliveries since June to between one quarter and one half of normal levels.

Ahmad Bahar, the acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) called on Arab and Muslim states to work towards removing the crippling sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel.

[The home page for the Forum is:]

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