September 02, 2014

#Israel - open all six borders and lift siege to avert humanitarian disaster in #Gaza - Sept 01 2014

by Diane V. McLoughlin, September 02, 2014

Israel is demanding a bilateral committee be formed to coordinate inspections of  all truck shipments into Gaza. [1]

Israel continues to maintain the illegal military siege despite understandings to the contrary arrived at during the preliminary ceasefire negotiations, the first phase of which concluded a few days ago.[2]

The siege of Gaza is now into its seventh year. The siege has destroyed Gaza's economy, the conditions of which are described as being worse than the Great Depression.  It has had a particularly devastating effect on the physical health of Gaza's children. They do not get enough to eat.  Israel, in addition to cutting calories in, at one point even denied in children's shoes, hearing aids and school supplies. What is allowed in seems to depend on the year and the whim of whichever functionary is in charge along with how much attention the world pays.

Israel has caused immense destruction in Gaza this summer.  Israel bombed hospitals, ambulances and schools along with tens of thousands of homes, rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
Israel killed over 2,000 Palestinian people including approximately 500 children. As many as 1,500 children have been orphaned. Over 10,000 people have been injured. 1,000 children were severely injured and will suffer lifelong disabilities.

Many fear that Israel has no intention of honoring the ceasefire agreement. The deal was to open all borders and that is not happening. The last daily report over the weekend I read indicated that 100 truckloads of food were able to get in along with 200 trucks bearing construction supplies.

Six years ago, the estimated daily shipments of food, fuel, and other goods was in the neighborhood of 500 to 600 trucks per day.  The number of truckloads necessary to sustain human life in the face of Gaza's destruction is obviously going to be many more. It will be nothing less than a humanitarian catastrophe if this is not made to happen.

The water treatment plants were bombed. The sewage treatment plants likewise were bombed. Thus there is not even any clean drinking water to drink. The risk of water-borne disease is a very grave concern.

Winter will be coming on soon.  People are homeless with nowhere to live.

There is no way to accomplish the impossible demand of inspecting down to the last toothpick every box and bag in every truck without hopelessly clogging up the entry points.

There are people who hold power and influence over whether or not food, medicine or housing construction materials get in. One, Deputy Minister of Defense, Danny Alon, tweeted days ago that Israel should prevent water and food into Gaza.  So even if a sensible plan is laid out between the parties about truck inspections and so forth, robust monitoring to ensure swift and efficient processing at the border crossings will be a must.

What exactly is the purpose of the siege in the first place?  The people of Gaza are refugees who had their homes taken away from them by Israel in 1948.  They would like to go home.

On a positive note, efforts to raise humanitarian funds for Gaza are underway in countries such as Qatar and Turkey.

[1] Israel demands formation of bilateral committee to supervise entry of construction material to Gaza; MEMO - Middle East Monitor; Monday, September 01, 2014.

[2] Gaza blockade shows no signs of loosening; Maan New Agency, September 2, 2014:

'...Number of trade trucks entering daily ha[s] remained roughly static at its wartime level of between 200 and 250'

'...the medical need in Gaza [i]s acute.' 

"Even before the aggression, there were severe shortages of drugs - 28 percent of essential goods were at zero stock," she said. "Now the situation is critical." ...

'...much of Gaza's infrastructure [is] destroyed, food aid is only a short-term fix - stemming the humanitarian crisis over the longer term requires deals on restricted items such as cement and heavy machinery.' 

"You can't bring in bottled water for 500,000 people. You need to repair the water facilities. To do that you need technical equipment. that is the most cost-effective way of giving Gazans clean water," he said.''



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