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Gaza Deserves to Live

World  (tags: emergency relief, ethnic cleansing, siege of Gaza, Refugees&Relief, media, israel, middle-east, palestine, news, usa, world, children, europe, ethics, crime, UnitedNations, americans, activists, news, environment, medicine, warning, prevention, healthcare )

- 414 days ago -
It is time to ask free people around the world, human rights organisations, humanitarian and aid agencies, and the wider international community how many victims they are waiting to fall before their collective conscience awakens


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fly bird (26)
Saturday January 27, 2018, 9:52 pm
Gaza deserves to live.
January 27, 2018

It’s no secret that the situation in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated seriously as the ongoing blockade bites ever deeper into everyday life. The humanitarian catastrophe has been made even worse — if ever that was possible — by Israel’s brutal military offensives over the past few years, and its frequent, often deadly, incursions.

It is time to ask free people around the world, human rights organisations, humanitarian and aid agencies, and the wider international community how many victims they are waiting to fall before their collective conscience awakens sufficiently to have the inhumane Israeli-led siege lifted?

Two million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, but they are not simply statistics; they are human beings, and just like all other human beings they deserve life opportunities, dignity, employment, health, education and freedom of movement. The alarms bells are ringing. Take a close look at the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip, where all sectors essential to life are at breaking point.

Consider, for example, the fact that society in the Gaza Strip is close to collapse in terms of the basic requirements of family life. With the poverty rate standing at 80 per cent, 65 per cent are existing below the extreme poverty line. The unemployment rate in the besieged enclave is 50 per cent, half of which are young people and university graduates.

As a result, a staggering three-quarters of Palestinians in Gaza depend on emergency relief, which is no longer easily available; 40 per cent of children have anaemia and malnutrition; 17,000 orphans suffer because humanitarian sponsorship has not been forthcoming thanks to the banks closing charity bank accounts and blocking the transfer of essential funds. Fifty thousand people with disabilities need treatment and rehabilitation, but there is just no money available to pay for this.

In fact, Gaza’s health sector is in a critical condition, possibly the worst since the imposition of the blockade by Israel. Many patients have died due to the lack of treatment or because there is no possibility of traveling abroad for treatment.

Around half of the medicines on the “essential drugs list” are unavailable in Gaza. Hospitals are lacking even the most basic medical supplies and medicines, including the disposables necessary for them to work effectively.

The Israeli blockade means that spare parts for hundreds of important medical devices cannot be imported, leaving them to lie unused and unusable. Cancer patients — 13,000 at the last count — need vital treatment, but can’t access it at home or abroad. Indeed, in the whole Gaza Strip, there are thousands of Palestinians, especially the poor, who are chronically ill. The whole sorry state of the health sector is made even worse by the daily power cuts and lack of fuel for emergency generators, which are in any case meant for emergencies, not semi-permanent use.

The environment is one of the most important sectors affected by the Israeli siege, military offensives and the targeting of Palestinian infrastructure, all of which pose a clear and present danger to people’s lives. The situation has been getting worse day by day, but now at least 95 per cent of the water in the Gaza Strip is not fit for human consumption according to World Health Organisation standards.

Coupled with this, is the fact that 150,000 cubic metres of untreated sewage are pumped daily onto the land and into the sea due to the destruction of the sewage treatment works and the lack of spare parts for repairs. The regular and lengthy electricity power cuts make matters worse.

The economic situation in the Gaza Strip is dire, due almost entirely to Israel’s siege and military offensives. Around 80 per cent of Gaza’s once-booming factories have closed either completely or partially. Even if they were open, the blockade means that goods can be neither imported nor exported, and the local market alone cannot sustain production levels. Business owners are estimated to be losing around $250 million directly and indirectly every year, and the blockade is entering its 11th year.

Attacking the education sector has always been a basic objective for the Israeli occupation authorities. The siege is in part designed to complete this. Despite the periodic destruction of their facilities, the enclave’s universities are seeing thousands of new graduates each year. Sadly, as many as 10,000 a year fail to find permanent or temporary employment. At least 85 per cent of university students are unable to pay their study fees.

At primary and secondary level, 400 schools operate two shifts per day to accommodate the growing demand for places. In UNRWA schools, there are, on average, 50 students per class.

About 80 per cent of the students from poor families do not have their daily expenses, and suffer from malnutrition because they cannot buy food. Poverty affects teachers as well; many are not paid their full salaries, if they get paid at all.

The Israeli occupation government restricts the entry of many construction materials, making reconstruction of the Gaza Strip virtually impossible. Furthermore, several countries have failed to fulfil their financial commitments to aid the reconstruction process, despite a well-publicised “donor conference” in Cairo.

This means that 40 per cent of homes completely destroyed in the 2014 Israeli military offensive have not yet been rebuilt, leaving thousands of families still living in rented accommodation that is not intended for family units. In fact, thousands of “homes” are actually unsuitable for human habitation, with more than a quarter of a million families still homeless because of the poverty and devastation caused by Israel’s wars against the Gaza Strip.

The daily electricity cuts and lack of fuel continue to have a hugely negative effect on life in the Gaza Strip. All residents are affected as power cuts occur for between 12 and 20 hours every day. Tragically, 31 people, including 23 children, have been burned to death since 2010 due to accidents caused by the enforced use of candles and insecure lighting.

One of the most serious manifestations of the siege suffered by the people of the Gaza Strip is the closure of the border crossings, which means that the territories’ Palestinians are denied freedom of movement. The vital Rafah Crossing on the border with Egypt, for example, was only open for 21 days in 2017. All of the commercial crossings into and out of Gaza are closed, except for the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom. The number of trucks allowed to use the crossing is severely restricted and insufficient to fulfil the basic needs of the Palestinians in the territory. At least 400 items are in any case prohibited by the Israelis from being imported into the Gaza Strip, mostly raw materials and construction materials.

Although the Beit Hanoun/Erez Crossing at the north end of the Gaza Strip is technically open, many patients and business people are denied permission to cross into Israel and the world beyond. A number of people trying to cross have been detained by the Israelis, who use entry permits as a bribe to try to get patients and their relatives in particular to spy for them.

In the face of this catastrophic situation, the Charity Association in the Gaza Strip has issued a list of urgent requirements of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the international community:
1.We call on the Palestinian Authority to take urgent action to ease the suffering of the people in the Gaza Strip and to remove its punitive measures as a matter of urgency.
2.We call upon the international community to take urgent action to end the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and to provide the Palestinians therein with the basic necessities of life.
3.We call on the Egyptian government to open the Rafah Border Crossing permanently for pedestrian traffic and goods and to facilitate the access of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
4.We call upon the Arab, Islamic and international humanitarian aid institutions, charities and other bodies to launch an urgent relief campaign to save the Gaza Strip from this human and entirely man-made catastrophe.
5.We call upon the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide essential services to all Palestinians in need without delay.
6.We call upon the banks to stop closing the accounts of charitable associations and institutions so that relief work can continue unhindered, serving orphans, widows and the poor.
7.We call upon the world’s media to report honestly on the situation in the Gaza Strip, as well as the “Save Gaza” campaign.

The Charity Association in the Gaza Strip is launching an appeal to all free people around the world and those who have consciences and hearts in order to take action without delay. The “Save Gaza” campaign is intended to move the world into providing humanitarian assistance to more than two million Palestinians besieged in the Gaza Strip, which has become a disaster zone. Gaza deserves to live. The Palestinians in Gaza deserve to live. Anything less would be a travesty of human rights and international law.

Dr Essam Yousef is the head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza.

fly bird (26)
Saturday January 27, 2018, 10:18 pm
Take action: Don't let Trump turn his back on Palestine refugees in need.
Petition by UNRWA USA

To be delivered to President Donald Trump

The US government just made the decision to freeze millions of dollars to support support refugees and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) I want my tax dollars to support this work to provide critical education, healthcare, social services, and emergency protection to refugees in need.

fly bird (26)
Saturday January 27, 2018, 10:26 pm
It's Time for Light! Send two solar lanterns to Gaza's Children and shine yours every Wednesday.

In Gaza, electricity is still blacked out for 20 hours each day, which makes even the simplest of tasks impossible. That's why we're asking your help to send Nur Al Amal (Light of Hope) solar-powered lanterns through the blockade to children in Gaza so they can study and play safely when the power is out. Rebuilding Alliance partnered with four Palestinian Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to distribute lights directly to families in need. A 2-for-1 matching grant is in place to send a second LittleSun solar light for each one we buy. Help empower Gaza's next generation, help open the blockade, and bring hope to all.

#ItsTimeforLight. #NurAlAmal

How can you particpate and bring more light into the world?
•Donate money to send lights to Gaza. For a donation of as little as $50, we will send three LittleSun solar lights to Gaza and gift one to you in your window;
•Place lights in the window (need not be solar) on Wednesday nights to show you want to brighten the future of Gaza's Children;
•Take a picture of youself with your light in the window and upload it to Instagram, tagging @RebuildingAlliance #itstimeforlight #nuralamal

Thanks to the remarkable generosity of individuals, families, schools and faith groups and thanks to two matching grants, Rebuilding Alliance has sent a total of 27,000 Nur al Amal solar lights to date. But 750,000 children are impacted by this 10 year blockade — with your help, let's send 40,000 solar lights in 2018

Here's what Gaza families are saying about what a difference the Nur Al Amal solar lanterns have made:

“I use (the solar lanterns) always at night to teach my children instead of using candles because candles are very dangerous for us, but the solar light is much safer and easier. I use it to light the children's room because they are afraid of darkness when they go to the bathroom at night. They are not any more after using the solar lights. Finally, thanks a lot for people who do their best to help us in this very bad electricity situation.”

“My husband uses it when he goes to the mosque to pray at night and at dawn, and my children use it to light their rooms at night to study. Also I use it when I work in the kitchen and cook for the family. I want to thank God and I appreciate the efforts of those who sent the lights for us so it can help us in our lives. It is much easier to use for women and old people and for children and most importantly it is a really good alternative to candles. It is much safer than candles. Many accidents happened here in Gaza because of candles, families burnt because of using candles while sleeping at night. Our children are now safe with the solar lights.”

"I use it in studying at night. I am now in the high school and with this bad electricity that we live in, I suffer a lot because I need to study hard to get a high average. Nur Al Amal lantern is easy and doesn't cost anything, I put it in my room and I turn it on all the night when I am studying, it is a really good alternative for candles because it is much safer and I prefer it. Thank you, I am speechless and can't find the words to thank you."

Brighten the Future of Gaza's Children. Summary:

The sole power plant in Gaza has shut down. Electricity is out 20 hours/day, making the simplest of tasks difficult. Help send solar-powered Luci lanterns through the blockade to children in Gaza so they can study and play safely when the power is out. We partner with Palestinian NGOs to distribute lights directly to families in need. A 2-for-1 matching grant now sends twice as many lights. Help empower Gaza's next generation, help open the blockade, and bring hope to all. It's Time for Light.

10 years of blockade on Gaza has resulted in widespread darkness with power only available for four hours a day in rolling blackouts. 750,000 children are affected by electricity shortages and are forced to use kerosene lamps and candles with horrific accidents. Life is put on hold when the sun goes down - studying is difficult and playing is unsafe. Imagine being a student and not having light to finish your homework, or a little child without a nightlight. Solar lanterns change this.

Short-term solution:
With your help, we are delivering thousands of solar-powered lights to children in Gaza so they can read and study. Rebuilding Alliance has been working with Non Governmental Organizations in Gaza since 2003. Pre-clearance is secured before shipments through both Palestinian and Israeli Customs offices. We will soon send our 4th pallet with a double shipment of 5860 solar lights for arrival in time for exams. With your donation our 5th shipment can arrive during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Long-term impact:
The reassurance of a little light lets Palestinian children know that the world cares about their future. In Gaza, there's a special tradition during Ramadan to give children a 'fanous' lantern to help them realize their own light within. Let's extend that tradition to people the world over, encouraging all to shine a solar light in their own home to come to know the children and families of Gaza, and to connect with each other through this program to build sustainable peace for all: #bealight

Donate to this project:
It's Time For Light!
Together, let's Brighten the Future of Gaza's Children.

Send two, receive one Nur Al Amal (Light of Hope) solar-powered lantern for you!

Jonathan Harper (0)
Sunday January 28, 2018, 12:32 am

Doris F (19)
Sunday January 28, 2018, 12:48 am
thank you for sharing Fly !

Animae C (507)
Sunday January 28, 2018, 4:43 am
Had signed the petition.
There are currently 19,504 signatures.

TY Fly

Freya H (345)
Sunday January 28, 2018, 7:49 am
I cannot believe how hateful the few comments on the article's page are. Care2 folks, sign in and leave positive comments - and vote down the haters.

Evelyn B (63)
Sunday January 28, 2018, 11:33 am
Yes Freya, - when you get hasbara trolls on the rampage, it's not pretty
And it's the usual bunch of lies & warped statements that don't stand up to close study.

We used to have much more of these kind of comments on threads like this, here, as well.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Sunday January 28, 2018, 2:36 pm
Shared over social media to raise and spread awareness.

fly bird (26)
Monday January 29, 2018, 10:31 pm
Sunbird Award – Prix du meilleur documentaire.

« Dr Samah Jabr est une femme sage et réflèchie. Elle pense les effets subtils et dévastateurs de plusieurs années d’occupation brutale sur le peuple palestinien. Le film d’Alexandra Dols partage ses visions avec nous, d’une manière généreuse, humaine et profondément dérangeante.
Ken Loach
« Dr. Samah Jabr is a wise and thoughtful woman. She reflects on the subtle, devastating effect on Palestinian people of years of brutal occupation. Alexandra Dols’ film shares her insights with us, generous, humane and deeply disturbing. Please see this film.”

(If someone would please insert a hyperlink for the trailer, it would be great.Thank you.)

“Beyond the Front Lines”: The Psychology of Occupation.

French filmmaker Alexandra Dols’ latest film, “Beyond the Front Lines,” examines the psychological effects on Palestinians of living under Israeli military occupation for half a century. The subtitled documentary was screened Nov. 18 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC as part of the Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting’s FilmFest program.

Dols had recently completed a film on the role of women in the Algerian revolution when she came upon the writings (many of which have appeared in this magazine) of Dr. Samah Jabr, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who heads the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Unit. Dols found Jabr’s writings to be “in the tradition of Frantz Fanon,” the Martinique-born psychiatrist whose groundbreaking books focused on the “politicization of psychology” in the context of colonialism.

We first see Jabr speaking to a meeting of Israeli psychologists, one of whom says she is afraid to sign the BDS pledge. Jabr matter-of-factly responds that her own threshhold of fear is higher than the Israeli’s, later explaining that while she can empathize with individual Israelis she knows, she cannot empathize with the Israeli collective as a whole.

The film follows Jabr as she drives from her native Jerusalem to her office in Ramallah—where, she says, she sees Palestinians who have been diagnosed with a specific mental illness, but not the vast majority of those who experience “immense suffering and the pernicious process” of Israeli degradation.

As an example she cites an instance at the Qalandia checkpoint where, after not moving for two hours, Palestinian drivers began honking their horns in anger and frustration. The Israeli soldiers responded by closing the checkpoint entirely until the drivers at the front of the line convinced the others to stop honking. Being forced to suppress the frustrations they are subjected to on a daily basis can lead to deep depression, Jabr notes.

She views the Nakba as a “transgenerational trauma”—not a single event, but a process that began in 1948.

In the end, however, the film is not about victimization, but about sumud, or resilience—which, Jabr points out, one need not be born with but can learn and develop. “Resistance to the occupation does not mean everyone has to fight,” she explains, adding that building and healing are forms of resistance as well.

Along with other impressive Palestinians from various walks of life, “Beyond the Front Lines” introduces us to former political prisoner Rula Abu Diho, who was arrested when she was 19 for her activism in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, imprisoned in Ashkelon for 9 years, and is still forbidden to travel. Now a lecturer at Birzeit University and a member of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, it is evident that her descriptions of prison torture, both physical and mental, are based on personal experience. But, she emphatically concludes, “If you think we’re a destroyed people, you’re dead wrong.”
—Janet McMahon

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 12:11 am
WFP Cuts Aid to 60,000 Poor in Gaza.
January 25, 2018

As part of the Israel-led international war on Gaza, World Food Programme (WFP) has cut food aid to 60,000 residents in Gaza living below poverty line.

To criticize this punitive measure taken by the international organisation, the poor in Gaza staged a protest in front of the head office of the UNDP.

A father of nine, including two disabled, said that he lives on the food aid offered by the different charities in Gaza.

“I have been suffering from a chronic backache for about nine years, and I cannot work,” he said, according to Days of Palestine. “Therefore, the only source of income is the food packages I receive from the different charities, including the one from the WFP.”

Jasmine abul-Assal, from the WFP office in Gaza, confirmed the reports about the food aid cuts. “Recently, we cut food aid to 60,000 poor families in Gaza,” she said.

She referred the reasons for the food aid cuts to budget deficit and lack of funds.

Last week, hundreds of Palestinian families staged protest in front of the UNDP office in Gaza against the halt of food aid that had been offered by the CHF International.

WFP and CHF International along other international charities cut their aid after Israeli calls to tightening the siege on the Gaza Strip.

This coincided with the Palestinian Authority’s increase of the punitive measures imposed on Gaza that included halt or reduction of sending medicines and necessary medical equipment to Gaza hospitals.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority and Fateh President Mahmoud Abbas imposed 16 per cent tax on communication companies working in Gaza.

Palestinians constitute the world’s largest refugee group, with Syria following just after.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 12:16 am
Gazans cannot cope with ‘unprecedented’ economic crisis.
January 23, 2018


Israel denies responsibility

Al-Tabbaa blamed the exhausted economy on the “repeated” Israeli offensives on Gaza, the closure of the crossings, the delay of reconstruction and the strict Israeli measures taken against Gaza traders in 2017.

“Israeli authorities cancelled more than 3,000 travel permits for traders and businessmen from Gaza in 2017 and arrested tens of them at Erez Crossing,” he said. “Israel also added a lot of goods and commodities to the Gaza blacklist,” he added, noting “this is part of the Israeli policy to tighten the siege on Gaza.”

On Sunday, the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin toured the border area around the Gaza Strip and told journalists that “Gaza is on the verge of collapse”, warning that “the time is coming near when the infrastructure in Gaza will collapse, leaving many civilians in distress, with no sanitary conditions, exposed to pollution, impure water and epidemics.”

Rivlin ignored the 11-year-old strict Israeli siege imposed on Gaza, during which Israel launched three massive offensives against the coastal enclave and said: “The entire world must know and understand that the ones who are preventing rehabilitation are Hamas,” he claimed. “We will not tolerate accusations of blame.” This proves that Israel bears the full responsibility for the deterioration of the life in Gaza as its president is clearly blaming freely-elected rulers of Gaza, while at the same time preventing world delegations from visiting it.

Former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine Professor Richard Falk has several times described the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip as a “crime against humanity.”

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 2:22 am
Cognitive Dissonance in Davos.

Watching Trump dangle aid before the besieged Palestinians while seated next to the largest recipient of U.S. assistance was grotesque.

Speaking at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, U.S. President Donald J. Trump again threatened to cut aid to the Palestinians, citing, among other complaints, their objection to his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The comments came as Trump shared the stage with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose country is the world's largest beneficiary of U.S. aid.

As our own Shirl McArthur has pointed out, conservative estimates put the total amount of U.S. aid to Israel since 1949 at close to $150 billion. Although that aid is commonly classified as "military," much of it once flowed through the U.S. Agency for International development as cash assistance. For perspective, consider that, according to numbers published by the U.S. Government Accounting Office, USAID's total spending since 1962 has been about $273 billion.

Threatened cuts to USAID and its humanitarian assistance, which prompted protest from the Agency this week, put aid to Israel into sharp relief. That's especially true given the likely human impact of aid cuts to the Palestinians. The Trump administration last week confirmed that it had cut funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, which provides vital relief to millions of people, including in refugee camps throughout the Arab world and the occupied Palestinian territories.

According to Elizabeth Campbell, the Agency's representative in Washington, those cuts have already taken place and represent an 80 percent drop from last year's U.S. funding amounts. The resulting budget shortfall puts at risk basic medical services to more than three million refugees and school operations for some half a million children, says UNRWA, which has launched an urgent fundraising campaign to cover the gap.

All of which made the scene at Davos seem downright grotesque.

"We give them tremendous amounts, hundreds of millions of dollars," Trump said of the Palestinians. "That money is on the table, because why should we do that as a country if they're doing nothing for us?"

What Trump means, of course, is that the Palestinian Authority, an artifact of the U.S.-brokered negotiating process, is refusing to bend to his will on Jerusalem and all that the unilateral American move implies. The most damning of those implications is that Israel's acquisition of territory by force, as happened when it occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, will serve as precedent for its annexation of the West Bank, home to the majority of Palestinian population centers.

If objecting to that means losing a seat at the U.S. negotiating table, the Palestinian public doesn't seem to mind. In a poll published on the same day as Trump's comments, only 26 percent of Palestinians surveyed supported negotiations with Israel -- down from 45 percent a year ago. Capturing that sentiment, former Palestinian negotiating team member Diana Buttu tweeted on Thursday:

“On the table” - “off the table” - “not welcome at the table” .... How about just getting rid of the table entirely? #BDS
— Diana Buttu (@dianabuttu) January 25, 2018

A quarter-century into a U.S.-brokered "process" that has yielded neither peace nor stability, it's little wonder that Palestinians are embracing efforts like the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to push for their rights. Meanwhile, as aid to Israel remains at record levels, even the state's strongest advocates are beginning to worry about the optics, especially for an American public so at odds with its president.

As one columnist wrote in the Times of Israel:

"Leaving Israel untouched amid the expected slashing, particularly for hunger and other humanitarian needs, will only heighten resentment toward the Jewish state, with its strong economy and high standard of living, at the expense of needier and more vulnerable countries."

In Davos, that logic was utterly lost on Trump and Netanyahu -- further proof that the two are in lockstep against the pursuit of peace.

S J (124)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 12:58 pm
How can Israel live and survive in the long run since it has been killing, destroying and torturing her fellow human beings along the way? What the world will be as their leaders are indifferent to fundamental values? Where was the greatest empire on earth right now, if any? Human seem never learn anything!

I hope to see real peace for my fellow humans in Palestine, Israel and the rest of the world very soon.
Thank you Fly and Nita. Meowwww

S J (124)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 1:04 pm
Peace cannot grow out of hate, without peace no one lives at ease especially those who generate hate, unfortunately enough.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 7:03 pm
meow, LKoSI. How do some of these people get up in the morning and look at themselves in the mirror.. do they just see, what they want to see, or close their eyes to what they don't..

Is that not how Nazi regimes take a hold of groups of people, first by telling lies, then 'evil flourishes, where people say nothing... do nothing... or collude.."

Janet B (0)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 8:01 pm

fly bird (26)
Wednesday January 31, 2018, 11:27 pm
Gaza shopkeeper's act of kindness sparks debt forgiveness campaign.

Maria Papastamatiou (4)
Thursday February 1, 2018, 10:43 am
Thanks for posting

fly bird (26)
Thursday February 1, 2018, 11:07 am
International community urged to take immediate action to save patients in Gaza.

February 1, 2018

The head of the Popular International Committee to Support the Gaza Strip has urged the international community to take immediate action to save the lives of patients in Gaza. “The suffering of all of the Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli-led siege should be ended,” insisted Dr Essam Yousef. The repercussions of the siege affect all vital sectors in Gaza, he added, leading to tragic results that put the enclave on the brink of “total collapse”.

Yousef warned of an “explosion” that will have serious humanitarian and security implications due to the tightening of the siege which has gripped Gaza for more than 11 years. “There is also unjust political pressure being applied to the Palestinians,” he explained. “The latest example of this is the US decision to cut its donations to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).” The Agency provides services that governments usually provide, the veteran humanitarian activist pointed out. “Palestinians are being deprived of both state provision and the only alternative in the present scenario. That has to be wrong.”

According to Yousef, the most drastic effects of the siege are apparent in Gaza’s health sector, where a number of hospitals and health centres have had to stop working because there is no fuel and a chronic shortage of medicines and medical disposables. “Health workers simply don’t have the resources to allow them to do their work.”

US: Aid to continue if UNRWA changes school books

As a spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza wrote in MEMO yesterday, the closure of the border crossings has an adverse effect on patients who are in dire need of medical treatment abroad. “Dozens of patients,” said Yousef, “including children, have died over the past year, while hundreds of patients are on waiting lists for vital treatment.”

With power cuts and fuel shortages having a major impact on the health sector — emergency generators are only intended for temporary, short-term use, stressed Yousef — the Committee head made a powerful appeal to the international community for support. “Please allocate a budget and help hospitals and clinics in the Gaza Strip to provide essential health care. Such support is urgent, and needed now more than ever before.”

Dr Yousef added that international support from NGOs and governments will play a significant role in saving the lives of Palestinian patients, young and old alike.

fly bird (26)
Thursday February 1, 2018, 11:24 am
TAKE ACTION! Contact your Member of Congress to let them know you want your tax dollars to fund UNRWA. (Nita's post)

The US administration just made the dangerous decision to cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) by 83%. UNRWA's work must be sustained, as it affects not only the lives of the over 5 million Palestine refugees, but the future and stability of the Middle East and the maintenance of the great public health and education-related strides UNRWA has achieved.

Take action now to ask your Member of Congress to push back against this decision, as this is against our American principles, global security and safety, and common human interest.

fly bird (26)
Thursday February 1, 2018, 6:28 pm
Israeli drone strike survivor in Gaza dies from injuries at age 9.

Mohammad Abu Hdaf died three years after being injured during an Israeli drone strike.

A nine-year-old Palestinian died on December 6 due to injuries sustained during an Israeli drone strike in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Mohammad Abu Hdaf, a kindergartner at the time, sustained spine injuries from shrapnel during an Israeli drone strike in Al-Qarara, east of Khan Younis, on August 8, 2014, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. After a long series of medical interventions including treatment abroad in Turkey and Israel, Mohammad died last Wednesday in the early morning.

DCIP had early documented the death of two children who were members of Mohammad’s extended family during what appears to be the same drone strike, around 5:30 p.m. on August 8, 2014. Mahmoud Mohammad Saleh Abu Hdaf, 8 and Mahmoud Khaled Musa Abu Hdaf, 15, were both killed while going out to collect water, according to DCIP evidence. An adult relative, Suleiman Sameer Abu Hdaf, 21, was also killed.

“Mohammad was injured in the back, but he was standing and that made me feel he had been lightly injured,” the child's father, Saleh Abu Hdaf, told DCIP, describing the moments after the explosion. Abu Hdaf, himself, along with his wife and several other of his children were also injured at the time.

Abu Hdaf told DCIP he had relocated his family from their home in Al-Qarara before Israel launched a ground offensive in the area on July 18.

Abu Hdaf, accompanied by his wife and five children, including Mohammad, were among many residents to flee the area and return following an initial ceasefire to survey damages to their homes and collect belongings.

According to the child’s father, Mohammad was standing with his four siblings and mother outside the front door of their partially destroyed home on Street 86 when the strike hit directly across the street.

An ambulance transported Mohammad to Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. Around midnight, Abu Hdaf told DCIP that Mohammad's condition had deteriorated and he was bleeding from the mouth. Doctors told Abu Hdaf that Mohammad had internal bleeding, his heart had stopped functioning and his brain was not getting enough oxygen, Abu Hdaf told DCIP.

Mohammad was resuscitated and transferred to the nearby European Hospital. He was held in the ICU for 15 days then transferred to Turkey for medical treatment.

Mohammad was in and out of hospitals from progressive complications from his initial injury, spending six months in Turkey, several months in the Israeli hospital, Hadassah, and around seven months at the Red Crescent Rehabilitation Center in Gaza.

Mohammad was pronounced dead at 2:30 a.m on December 6 after an unsuccessful surgery to treat an intestinal blockage, as confirmed by Dr. Osama al-Mulaiti, a pediatric surgeon at the European Hospital in southern Gaza.

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge lasted 50 days during the summer of 2014 and killed 2,220 Palestinians, of whom at least 1,492 were civilians, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

DCIP previously verified 547 Palestinian child fatalities during Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip, at least 68 percent of whom were under the age of twelve. Of this number, at least 164 children died as a result of Israeli drone strikes.

DCIP investigations into child fatalities found that in some cases, Palestinian children were targeted by Israeli drone strikes.

In one instance, an Israeli drone strike killed four children aged between 6 and 14 from the Joudeh family while they were in the family’s garden in Jabalia refugee camp, North Gaza, on August 24. The children’s mother, Rawya Joudeh, 40, was also killed in the same drone strike. Thaer Joudeh, who survived the attack, sustained a permanent disability.

Angela J (61)
Friday February 2, 2018, 4:19 pm

fly bird (26)
Friday February 2, 2018, 11:32 pm
No electricity at 7 more Gaza medical centres.
January 31, 2018

Generators at seven health centres in the besieged Gaza Strip have stopped working due to the shortage in fuel, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced today.

Ministry spokesman, Ashraf Al-Qadra, said the medical departments affected are: the Sourani Centre, the Palestinian Medical Centre, the Medical Foundation, the Gaza Health Administration, Abasan Al-Kabira, the Atatra and the Society of Physically Handicapped People – Gaza Strip.

The crisis management committee in the ministry confirmed that the situation in the Strip has entered an unprecedented stage due to the fuel crisis, demanding donors intervene immediately to bring it to an end.

The committee called on the energy company to work urgently to provide electricity to hospitals around the clock.

“Our health services are on the decline after a number of them stopped at the Beit Hanoun Hospital for the third day and Al-Durra children’s hospital and patients were transferred to other hospitals because of the lack of fuel. We are only a few hours away from seeing the generator at the psychiatric hospital stopping.”

John B (185)
Saturday February 3, 2018, 6:43 pm
Thanks Fly for the link. I fully support the list of requirements that The Charity Association in the Gaza Strip has proposed.
Post noted.

Janet B (0)
Sunday February 4, 2018, 2:07 pm

fly bird (26)
Monday February 5, 2018, 8:12 pm
Return us to our homes before closing UNRWA, say Palestinian refugees.
February 5, 2018

When more than 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in historical Palestine by Jewish terror gangs in 1948, followed by the establishment of the state of Israel on their land, the UN General Assembly established the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to provide humanitarian relief to all of those who had been displaced. The Agency was established in December 1949.

Palestinian refugees are still displaced and scattered around refugee camps and a worldwide diaspora. They and their descendants now number around 7.2 million people, including 4.3 million registered for humanitarian assistance with UNRWA.

Last month, US President Donald Trump, apparently under Israeli pressure, said that his administration is going to cut around half of its annual $125m donation to UNRWA, which will obviously have a serious direct impact on Palestinian refugees living in the squalid UN-registered camps. The US State Department has since announced that it is slashing aid to the Palestinians by $65m. It is worth remembering, that the US gives Israel $8 million every day; that’s $3 billion a year.

Officials in the current Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu have called several times for UNRWA to be closed down. The Israelis and the Palestinians know that keeping UNRWA alive means keeping the issue of the Palestinian refugees alive, something that Israel would like very much to disappear. It continues to deny Palestinian refugees their legal right of return to their land.

Read: UNRWA calls on US not to politicise its aid to Palestine refugees

In the light of all of these moves to “solve” their issue by destroying it, Palestinian refugees insist that the existence of UNRWA is vital, not only to keep their issue alive, but also to keep them alive.

The following are excerpts of interviews with refugees carried out for Middle East Monitor:

Mazen Sayyid Kul, 53, from Yafa

“The existence of UNRWA is important for us. It provides us with food aid and health services. Without UNRWA, we will die.

“If UNRWA shuts down, Palestinian refugees will take to the streets without food, without work, without healthcare and even without political support. There will be crimes and social violence.”

Sayyid Kul has been unemployed for more than 11 years. He has six daughters. All of them are students and study at UNRWA-run schools. He depends on UNRWA food aid to survive and receives, along with his family members, medical care in UNRWA-run clinics.

“If UNRWA shuts down,” he added, “all the Palestinian refugees would enter a dark tunnel of loss, and go astray.”

Ahmed Aghawani, 59, from Yafa

“The existence of UNRWA maintains the sustainability of the issue of Palestine refugees on the agenda of the international community. Since the first day that we were forced out of our homes, UNRWA has been caring for us.

“I do not accept that UNRWA can be shut down before ending the Israeli occupation and us returning to our homes.”

Aghawani has three sons, five daughters and 11 grandsons. “Ending UNRWA means ending the whole Palestinian issue and leading the Palestinians into the unknown.

“No one is entitled to look for the right of return except the refugee. If the word refugee is removed from the agenda of the conflict, it would mean that there is no one entitled to look for going back to the occupied Palestinian cities, villages and homes.”

Sameer Salim, 65, from Heribia

“UNRWA is an important channel for international aid to Palestinian refugees and it is the tool used to interact with the international community.

“Shutting down UNRWA means losing our identity as refugees. This means the liquidation of our right to return to our occupied lands.

“We do not accept the dissolution of UNRWA before we return to our homes occupied by the Zionists.”

Read: US cuts to UNRWA will hurt half a million Palestinian children

Asked about his response to Trump’s attitude towards the issue of Palestine refugees, Salim said: “Unlike previous American presidents, Trump is crazy. He does not understand policy.”

Aishah Joudeh, 60, from Dimra

“UNRWA must continue providing us with its services. We cannot live without it and the huge amount of its support.

“If we return home, we do not care about ending the services of UNRWA or even its complete shutdown.

“I am sure that if UNRWA is closed, there would be fierce Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation. The existence of UNRWA is a main reason for giving Palestine refugees the hope to return.”

Joudeh, who lost scores of relatives, including her grandparents, in 1948, added: “Consecutive Israeli governments thought about ending the issue of Palestine refugees because they believed that it poses an existential threat to their state, which was created on a land that they did not own.”

Nabil Al-Ghorrah, 65, from Kofakha

“The dissolution of UNRWA would affect all Palestinian refugees in terms of humanitarian support, including food, medicines and other services.

“It would be a disaster for the refugees mainly because it would come after the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This means that the issue of Palestinian refugees is intended to be liquidated.

“We do not demand more than our legitimate rights before the end of UNRWA services.”

About these legitimate demands, Al-Ghorrah explained, “We do not want anything more than to return to our homes, cities and villages from where we were displaced in 1948.”

He insisted that the refugees do not accept any solution other than the right of return. “We do not accept compensation or land swaps. Israelis have to return from where they came.”

fly bird (26)
Monday February 5, 2018, 8:59 pm
PA: Japan to recognise Palestine state, increase aid.
February 5, 2018

Japan is to recognise the State of Palestinian and increase aid to UNRWA, Quds Press reported a senior Palestinian official saying yesterday.

Speaking to media, senior aide to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Shaath, said Japan had pledged to support the Palestinian right to create an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital during the latest talks between the two countries.

Japan, according to Shaath, rejected US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

He also noted that Japan would start collecting signatures from MPs who would call for the government to recognise the State of Palestine, then raise its diplomatic representation in Ramallah and conclude with full recognition.

Shaath reported that the Japanese officials, including the Foreign Minister Taro Kono and other MPs had announced their support for an international peace conference to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on international resolutions.

Meanwhile, he said that Japan had pledged to raise its support for UNRWA following America’s announcement that it has cut its aid contribution to the international body. No details were given of what additional contribution Japan would give the UN body.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday February 7, 2018, 6:21 pm
Gaza hospitals shut down as deadly siege tightens.
6 February 2018

Emergency generators have run out of fuel in at least 19 health facilities in the Gaza Strip as Israel’s deadly decade-old siege on the territory tightens.

The health ministry in Gaza announced Tuesday that the generators have shut down in 16 primary care clinics and three major hospitals, but that medical staff have been ordered to stay at their posts and do what they can to assist patients.

On Tuesday, the UN humanitarian coordination agency OCHA warned that “emergency fuel for critical facilities in Gaza will become exhausted within the next 10 days,” unless donors step in to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

But for patients and medical personnel on the frontlines, the catastrophe is already happening, and it is only the latest chapter in the forced collapse of Gaza’s healthcare system.

At the al-Nasr children’s hospital, head of intensive care Dr. Raed Mahdi said that the lives of dozens of children in his unit are at risk.

According to the health ministry, Mahdi said overcrowding and pressure on medical staff and supplies had reached a crisis point at his hospital as children were being transferred there from other facilities that had lost all power.

At the Muhammad al-Durra hospital in eastern Gaza, named for a Palestinian child killed by Israeli forces in 2000 at the start of the second intifada, doctors said at a press conference Monday that entire departments had already shut down and some patients were being turned away.

Speaking at the press conference, Jamal al-Durra, Muhammad’s father, appealed for urgent international intervention, saying that to allow the crisis to continue would be to “kill my son a second time.”

“The imposed fuel crisis threatens dialysis services for 400 patients with kidney failure in the Gaza Strip,” the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq also said Monday.

Due to the chronic power crisis, dialysis in Gaza is already a dangerous business.

Al-Haq added that Gaza hospitals are currently unable to carry out 200 operations per day “due to the corruption and subsequent waste of hundreds of units of blood because of the lack of cooling required – a consequence of the deliberately imposed electricity shortage on Gaza.”

Hospitals closing

Due to Israel’s ongoing restrictions on Gaza’s electricity supply, the population of two million people, half of them children, currently receive electricity for no more than eight hours each day. At times that supply has plummeted to just three or four hours.

“Hospitals have already begun to close. Without funding, more service providers will be forced to suspend operations over the coming weeks, and the situation will deteriorate dramatically, with potential impacts on the entire population,” the UN’s acting humanitarian coordinator Roberto Valent said. “We cannot allow this to happen.”

“Gaza’s health system is on the verge of collapse as hospitals in the besieged territory are expected to face a total power blackout by the end of February,” Ashraf al-Qidra, the Gaza health ministry spokesperson, warned.

On 23 January, the Palestinian Authority health ministry in Ramallah allocated almost $300,000 to buy emergency fuel, but that supply would only be enough for 10 days and, according to Al-Haq, “will not resolve the structural electricity crisis imposed by Israel.”

Deadly delays

While collapsing the healthcare system inside Gaza, Israel is also making it harder for Palestinians to seek life-saving treatment outside the besieged territory.

The number of Palestinians allowed in and out of Gaza, both through the Erez crossing, controlled by Israel, and the Rafah crossing with Egypt – which has been closed for years except with rare exceptions – fell sharply last year.

The exit of Palestinians from Gaza through Erez fell by 50 percent in 2017, compared with 2016, according to OCHA.

On average there were just 7,000 exits per month in 2017, compared with more than 500,000 per month prior to the year 2000.

Israel’s approval rate for medical exits via Erez fell to 54 percent, down from 62 percent in 2016 – the lowest rate since 2006, according to OCHA.

“The decline is occurring alongside a gradual increase in the absolute number of referrals and related permit applications to West Bank hospitals in the wake of stricter constraints via the Rafah crossing,” the UN agency noted.

In November, Hamas authorities handed over control of the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing to the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, in the wake of a reconciliation deal signed the previous month.

“To date,” however, “this development has had no apparent impact on the passage of Palestinians from Gaza through the Israeli- and Egyptian-controlled crossings,” OCHA said.

In most cases, unsuccessful applications were due to lengthy delays or lack of response, rather than outright denials.

“In situations such as cancer treatment, delays can have life-threatening implications for patient health,” OCHA stated.

Sometimes, delays have been caused by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah: over the summer its leader Mahmoud Abbas imposed sanctions on Gaza, including delaying approval of medical referrals to hospitals in the West Bank, as part of his effort to bring Hamas to its knees by exacerbating civilian suffering.

Some of these delays proved deadly.

Al-Haq this week called on the PA “to remove all impediments to access to healthcare for children traveling from Gaza, and to ensure urgent cases are immediately prioritized, for all cases within its competence.”

Israeli denial

But there is no doubt where the overall responsibility lies.

As the belligerent occupier, “Israel has continued obligations to ensure the maintenance of civil life in the Gaza Strip, which includes the supply of basic services and infrastructure to the civilian population,” according to Al-Haq.

The group says that “that denial of travel permits leading to delays in accessing treatments, not only violates the rights to health and the right to life, but may also constitute inhumane, degrading treatment” that violates international law.

Yet on Monday, Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that there is “no humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.

That contradicted the assessment even of Israeli army chief Gadi Eisenkot who told Israel’s cabinet a day earlier, as Haaretz reported, “that the Gaza Strip is on the verge of collapse due to the worsening humanitarian crisis.”

“Feigned and simplistic”

Last week, Israeli diplomats presented a “humanitarian rehabilitation” plan for Gaza at a meeting of donors in Brussels.

“Israel expects the international community to cover the costs of the plan’s implementation, an estimated $1 billion,” the Israeli human rights group Gisha observed.

The group dismissed Israel’s plan as “feigned and simplistic,” noting that Israel’s crushing blockade on Gaza is what has caused the “dire humanitarian conditions.”

“The alarming state of Gaza’s infrastructure, its chances for economic development and the living conditions of its two million residents are largely dependent on Israel,” Gisha stated.

But Lieberman, the defense minister, made clear Israel will continue its policy of denying basic humanitarian services to civilians in Gaza as a form of political blackmail – a war crime.

Among other political goals, Israel is holding two million people hostage in an effort to get information on several Israelis held in Gaza, including the bodies of two of its soldiers killed during its 2014 invasion.

“As long as there’s no progress regarding the [Israeli] captives and missing persons, we can’t move forward with all sorts of initiatives for [helping] the Strip,” Lieberman said. “As far as its rehabilitation, it can only be on one condition – demilitarization [of Gaza].”

Gisha has also documented how Israel tightened its closure of Gaza in 2017, including a host of new restrictions “introduced with little to no justification provided as to their purpose and, it appears, no consideration of the impact they would have on the lives of Gaza’s residents.”

Take Action: Contact your government officials.

End the Israeli blockade of Gaza - End all U.S. aid to Israel, and American taxpayers money, used to fund settlements, war on Gaza, the siege and oppression of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jerusalem and occupied Palestinian territories.


fly bird (26)
Thursday February 8, 2018, 12:06 am
World Health: 54 Patients Died Awaiting Security Approval for Medical Referrals Out of Gaza.
February 7, 2018

World Health Organizations (WHO) has released its monthly report for December of 2017, which revealed the following, according to the PNN:

– 2017 the lowest rate for approvals since WHO began active monitoring in 2008: 54% of patient applications to exit Gaza via Erez were successful. There has been a continuous decline in approval rates since 2012, when approximately 93% of patient applications were successful.

– 54 patients died while awaiting security approval for referrals out of Gaza: Approximately 85% of the patients who died while awaiting security permits had been referred for cancer investigations or treatment.

– In December, 48% of patients unsuccessful in obtaining security permits from Israeli authorities: From 2,170 patient applications 52.4% were approved; 2.6% denied; and 45.0% delayed, receiving no definitive response from Israeli authorities by the date of hospital appointment.

– Three in five patient companions unsuccessful in obtaining permits to travel out of Gaza: There were 2,507 permit applications for patient companions submitted to Israeli authorities in December. 40.5%were approved, 3.6% were denied and 55.9% were delayed, still pending by the date of the patient’s hospital appointment.

– Security interrogation of patients: 11 patients (7 males; 4 females) were requested for interrogation by Israeli General Security Services at Erez during December. Five were approved permits to travel for health care.

– Financial coverage for health care: 1,784 requests for financial coverage for Gaza patients were approved by the Services Purchasing Unit of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in December 2017.

– Limited access to Egypt: Rafah terminal was open for four days in both directions. 183 patients exited Gaza to seek medical care. No medical aid and no medical delegates entered Gaza via Rafah during the month.

02/05/18 Power Generators Run Out of Fuel in Gaza Health Facilities

Marija M (25)
Friday February 9, 2018, 6:13 am
Gaza deserves to live.
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