by Julie Webb-Pullman
Source: Gaza SCOOP
Israel’s chickens are coming home to roost, along with those of the UN and the international community. How can anyone be surprised?
You cannot subject a people to 50 years of illegal occupation and expect no response. To illegal demolition of their houses, arbitrary detention, torture and inhumane prison conditions and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to ongoing theft of their land for the construction of illegal settlements, to living behind an illegal apartheid wall and expect no response. You cannot subject a people to an illegal siege and expect no response.
The international community has sat on its hands while the Israeli rogue state rode roughshod over the few rights left to Palestinians, with total impunity.
The UN has not enforced international law even ONCE in response to at least 80 breaches of UN Security Council Resolutions. The US has vetoed many more.
Endless negotiations with dishonest brokers have yielded less than nothing for Palestinians – less land, less water, less natural resources, less houses, less jobs, less opportunities, less travel. It is nothing less than scandalous that this has all taken place under the watch of the Useless Nations. (more…)
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 04, 2014
The Ministry of Health Gaza condemns in the strongest possible terms the Israeli breaking of the humanitarian ceasefire in a murderous attack on the Al-Bakri family home in Al-Shaati refugee camp in west Gaza City, killing an eight-year-old child and injuring 30 other people, mostly women and children.
This attack on a home in one of the most densely populated residential areas on earth only minutes after the commencement of a humanitarian ceasefire can only be seen as a calculated and deliberate attack on civilians. (more…)
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 03, 2014
The Ministry of Health Gaza is reeling from the reports coming out of Rafah, where scores have been killed and injured today, including 10 dead and over 30 injured in yet another attack on an UNRWA school, this time the Anas Ibn Malik Prepatory School sheltering thousands of forcibly displaced persons.
A group of women, children and older people were sitting against the wall at the entrance to the school seeking shade from the sun when they were struck.
This atrocity follows dawn attacks in Rafah on the Ghoul and Abu Jazzar family homes which left 18 dead and dozens injured, and brings the number killed in Gaza today to at least 118. (more…)
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 01, 2014
The Ministry of Health Gaza announces the closure of Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah, due to Israeli bombardments in the vicinity compromising its ability to guarantee the safety of patients and staff.
The hospital has now been evacuated, bringing to four the number of government hospitals closed by Israeli attacks in the past three and a half weeks. (more…)
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 01, 2014
The Ministry of Health Gaza calls for immediate international assistance to evacuate thousands of civilians trapped under heavy Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in which at least 40 have already been killed and over 150 injured.
Some five kilometres between Salah Al-Eddin street and Al Najjar Hospital is under intense and indiscriminate artillery fire, ambulances are unable to reach the wounded, and thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes. (more…)
Norway, Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand have already done it. The United Kingdom, Germany, Greece and Italy are about to.
Activists all around the planet are today presenting Egyptian embassies and consulates with the demands of more than 12,000 people worldwide to permanently open the Rafah crossing, leave the tunnels alone, and allow travel and trade for Gazans trapped by the Israeli siege.
First off the mark was Norway, where Lene Oline Sedolfsen presented the petition to the Egyptian diplomats. Next was Ottowa, where Tyler Levitan and Hassan Husseini made the delivery. Then Washington DC, where Pam Bailey accompanied Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy to the Egyptian consulate presented the demands to Dr. Yasser Elwy. In Sydney James Godfrey and Michael Coleman from Free Gaza Australia handed it over to consular official Ahmed Morsy, while in New Zealand Egyptian embassy official Mahmoud Zayed received it from Julie Webb-Pullman in Wellington.
The petition, an initiative of the #OpenRafahBorder International Campaign, a grassroots organisation of students and activists from Gaza who deceided to do something about the suffering caused by the Rafah border closures, was accepted by all of the diplomats with courtesy and respect, and promises to forward them to their superiors in Cairo.
The activists reported the diplomats also made the same points:
• While Egypt is concerned about the situation in Gaza, it is primarily an issue for Israel as the occupying power. Thus, for example, Egypt does not want to formalize or legalize the tunnels — which would let Israel off the hook, while also jeopardizing Egypt’s security.
• Egypt has a right to deal with security issues in the Sinai Peninsular. There is no policy calling for, or a desire to impose, collective punishment. Its restrictions on traffic in and out of Rafah come only when there is terrorist activity in the Sinai. Egypt must also worry about its population there, so there is an inevitable, unavoidable trade-off.
• Egypt is working to end the occupation by supporting John Kerry’s so-called “peace process.”
• Egypt feels a strong bond with the Palestinians, and always will.
While it is not surprising to hear them all singing from the same songbook, they may find themselves surprised by the increasingly loud chorus from the international community unsatisfied with their libretto.
Nothing any of the Egyptian diplomats said justifies the role of Egypt in the continued closure of Gaza, and the ongoing suffering of 1.7 million people.
“Ultimately, Rafah must be expanded to allow security without closure, as well as the movement of goods, in addition to people,” said Pam Bailey after the meeting in Washington DC.
Is this a realistic prospect?
It certainly is. Earlier this month Israel rejected a donated high-tech container scanner at the Kerem Shalom crossing that Dutch officials consider would provide a solution to Israel’s security concerns about Gazan exports.
If the Egyptians are serious about their bond with Palestinians, avoiding collective punishment, and dealing with security issues, they and the Netherlands could negotiate the scanner’s relocation to Rafah – and open the border forthwith.
As the situation in Gaza deteriorates due to snow and freezing temperatures on top of electricity cuts, the Minister of Health Dr Mufiz al-Makhalalati has declared a state of emergency, and called on all his personnel to assist the Civil Defence crews and municipalities in alleviating the distress.
Already 146 households accounting for 734 people have been forced to take emergency shelter in nearby schools and police stations, while 500 families, or more than 3200 people, have received assistance such as food, clothing and blankets.
The situation is dire and will get worse, with the current temperature at 3 degrees Celsius, and more bad weather predicted. The young and the old are particularly vulnerable, and desperately need electricity for warmth, and medications.
International governments and all people of good conscience must act quickly to ensure that Gaza’s suffering ends now, by forcing an end to the Israeli siege thus letting in the fuel required to run the power plants, essential medicines and medical supplies, and the equipment needed to provide emergency civil defence services – not only for this particular crisis, but on a permanent basis.
Snow is falling in Gaza, adding another layer of misery to the freezing and flooded conditions being experienced by its besieged population. Most homes have been without electricity for 24 of the last 36 hours, many streets are under water, and schools have been closed for the last two days.
In a press release on Thursday, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri warned of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster due to the siege-induced power crisis and the atrocious weather conditions, describing the situation as “collective punishment.”
Some 30 people have been injured in car accidents and building collapses since the onset of the current bad weather bringing flooding of roads and houses in its wake.
Yousef al-Zahar, Director General of Civil Defense, said that civil defense crews are doing what they can, but they are hampered by the lack of fuel due to the siege, and cannot pump flood-waters.
Interior Minister Fathi Hammad on Wednesday noted the lack of equipment necessary for civil defence activities, stressing the need for the international community to put pressure on Israel to allow the entry of heavy equipment and tools in order to enable the disaster emergency committees to do their work.
His calls so far seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
The simple solution to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza – lifting of the illegal Israeli siege, and opening the Rafah border for the legitimate passage of people and goods – is in the hands of the international community – along with the lives of all Gazans freezing in the dark tonight with no hope of real help reaching them.
As streets in Gaza flow with excrement, as families stay awake until 2am to take advantage of the two hours that water will flow through the taps – if they are lucky – the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, celebrated the UN General Assembly’s decision declaring 19th of November as UN World Toilet Day with a Press Release on November 15.
The irony will not escape Palestinians in Gaza – they must be asking themselves “Is she for real?” Or is it just a very cynical preliminary to announcing Gaza’s latest distinction – from being the largest open air prison in the world, to being the largest open air toilet?
“I hope this declaration galvanises national and international action to reach the billions of people who still do not benefit from this basic human right,” the Special Rapporteur said in the statement released the day after the al-Sabra neighbourhood in al-Zaytoun, Gaza City, was flooded with sewage.
Perhaps she could make a special effort to contact Israel and Egypt directly, being the UN member states that are preventing the entry of fuel supplies into Gaza necessary to run the power plant that provides the electricity to run the sanitation and water pumps that would enable Gazans to enjoy this ‘basic human right.’
Perhaps she could make a special effort to remind the Palestinian Authority (PA) to take off their blinkers and ‘observe’ the conditions of their fellow statesmen and women in Gaza, and maybe even suggest the PA cease colluding with Israel in extorting exorbitant prices for fuel from the besieged Gazan authorities – fuel which the European Community has funded, but which both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are seeking to profiteer from by imposing on Gaza excessive price hikes (Israel), and additional taxes (the PA).
And perhaps the United Nations and its member states could ‘put their money where their mouth is’ – they still have three days in which to clean up their act, and ensure that World Toilet Day is not the day that Gaza is officially accorded that questionable distinction.
Israel: UN expert calls for the immediate release of three Palestinian detainees on hunger strike held without charges
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
GENEVA (13 February 2013) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk today called for the immediate release of three Palestinian detainees held without charges by Israel. Mr. Falk expressed deep concern for the fate of Tarek Qa’adan and Jafar Azzidine, who are on their 78th day of hunger strike, and Samer Al-Issawi, who has been on partial hunger strike for over 200 days.
“Continuing to hold Mr. Qa’adan, Mr Azzidine and Mr. Al-Issawi under these conditions is inhumane. Israel is responsible for any permanent harm,” warned the independent expert designated by the Human Rights Council to monitor and report on Israeli rights violations in Palestine. “If Israeli officials cannot present evidence to support charges against these men, then they must be released immediately.”
“Mr. Qa’adan and Mr. Azzidine are reportedly on the verge of death, with the threat of a fatal heart attack looming,” the expert noted, recalling that both men were arrested on 22 November 2012 and began their hunger strikes on 28 November, after being sentenced to administrative detention for a period of three months. They were transferred to Assaf Harofi Hospital near Tel Aviv on 24 January 2013 after their conditions deteriorated sharply.
This is the second time that Mr. Azzidine and Mr. Qa’adan have undertaken hunger strikes against administrative detention, since they took part in the mass hunger strike of Palestinians from 17 April to 14 May 2012. Mr. Qa’adan had been released after 15 months of detention on 8 July 2012 and Mr. Azzidine had been released on 19 June 2012 after three months of detention, before being re-arrested.
“Israel must end the appalling and unlawful treatment of Palestinian detainees. The international community must react with a sense of urgency and use whatever leverage it possesses to end Israel’s abusive reliance on administrative detention,” urged the Special Rapporteur.
Mr. Falk noted that Israel currently holds at least 178 Palestinians in administrative detention.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdesslem spoke at a Press Conference a Al Shifa Hospital today after his arrival in Gaza amidst ferocious aerial attacks, and slammed Israel’s breaches of international norms.
“We who have come from Tunisia carry a strong and clear message from our Prime Minister and members of the government to express our strong solidarity with Gaza against Israeli aggression,” he said.
“What is happening to the citizens of Gaza is not justified, and is contrary to all international law and regulations. We have just seen the injured, the wounded and the martyrs and all of these manifestations are unacceptable.
This unjustified targeting of civilians and the targeting of schools and civic institutions, public and private property is unacceptable and illegal. We come charged with a message to express our solidarity and support of our brothers, the people of Gaza.”
He went on to say that Israel must recognise international norms and laws, and it should be aware that there are different variables now occurring in the Arab world.
He called on the Council of Arab States and the international community to take a united stance to address the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, stressing the need to take positions similar to that of the Egyptian President, in order to strengthen and enhance it.
At a Press Conference outside Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City the Minister of Health Dr Mofed Al Makhalalaty called on the international community to immediately intervene to prevent another massacre of Gaza civilians, such as occurred during Operation Cast Lead four years ago.
Declaring a state of emergency, the Minister told journalists that ambulance crews, as well as emergency and operating rooms in Gaza have been on a high level of alert for the last week, but that the chronic shortage of medicines and supplies caused by the siege is being exacerbated by the numbers of injuries caused in today’s attacks.
He recalled that in one day during Operation Cast Lead, one month’s medical supplies were exhausted in only one day, and said if the situation deteriorates further they will not be able to cope.
He called on the international community and the Islamic world to send emergency aid to the Gaza Strip, especially medical supplies and drugs to deal with the injuries resulting from the Israeli attacks.
Shortly after the Press Conference, the head of an Egyptian delegation of pharmacists currently visiting Gaza, Dr Mohamed Abdel Gawad, announced that in the next 24 hours a delegation of surgeons will arrive from Egypt to provide any necessary assistance to Palestinian doctors.
Dr Mohamed Abdel Gawad said, “What hurts me and hurts my colleagues is that we as Arabs are not doing our duty towards you.”
At the time of writing, the death toll stood at 8, with 90 injuries, the vast majority of them civilians, and including many women and children.
As the criminal Israeli attacks continue in Gaza, its targets reveal not only Israel’s cowardice and petty vindictiveness, but also their abject depravity.
Shelling grieving friends and family at a civilian wake must surely go down as one of the most evil acts in recent memory – if such was possible after the Samouni family massacre during Operation Cast Lead. Killing unarmed civilians at a funeral – really tough, guys.
Add schools – another civilian target. Perhaps they are afraid that the pen actually IS mightier than the sword…or are they just teaching those UNRWA upstarts a lesson for daring to criticise the unholy occupation last week?
Farms – business as usual. Gazans grow crops and livestock to feed their population, and favour buying local produce rather than eating Israeli dirt – gotta put a stop to that, and guarantee the Israeli captive market.
Factories – ditto. Can’t have a local economy developing.
And what sort of factories are coming under attack? Why, cement factories of course. Now let’s see them build those Qatari-funded buildings…build those Qatari-funded roads.
And that is what the sour grapes have been fermenting away in their craven craw over, intoxicating their already-feebled brains until their “liver swells with bile difficult to repress” and erupts into another all-out debauched assault on Gaza. How DARE Qatar break the Israeli siege! Just who do the big Q think they are?!
The big Q for the rest of the world is whether it will stand by yet again, and watch another few hundred, several thousand war crimes and crimes against humanity be committed by the biggest rogue state in the hemisphere.
Will Barack “Nobel Peace Prize” Obama finally do something to earn it, and rein in Bibi and his punch-drunk cowboys riding rough-shod on their election trail?
Will Britain have the moral backbone to acknowledge that Palestine, like Australia, was not terra nullius as the Balfour Declaration would have us believe, apologise, and ensure its return to its rightful owners?
Will the United Nations have the strength of purpose to enforce its myriad Security Council Resolutions against Israel – as it does by applying economic, diplomatic, military and financial sanctions against other countries to force their co-operation with international law, or to contain a threat to peace?
Will the international community have the guts to stand up to the Zionist pretenders, and end its abject hypocrisy by turning its attention to the only country in the Middle east that DOES have a nuclear arsenal, and place at least the same, if not even more stringent, sanctions against Israel than it already has against Iran, for merely having the potential to do what Israel has already done without the slightest international censure?
Will the Arab countries stand by Gaza this time?
Unless the answer to all of the above is yes, the Arab Spring will be followed by a very bitter Palestinian winter – and they will all pay the price.
The Gaza Government has strongly condemned today’s Israeli attack on a tent full of mourners in the eastern Gaza City neighbourhood of Shujaiyeh late this afternoon.
At least four are dead, ten are still fighting for their lives, and another twenty are injured following the cowardly shelling of grieving civilians.
18 year-old Ahmad al-Dardasawi and 17 year old Muhammad Hararah died immediately, while two unidentified men died later from injuries sustained in the attack.
“The Palestinian Government in Gaza condemns the continuous aggression against our people, and holds the enemy government responsible for the large number of civilian deaths and injuries,” they said in a statement released by the Government Media Office this evening.
“The Palestinian Government calls on the world to stop Israeli aggression, and stresses the right of Palestinians to self defence as long as the aggression continues.”
They added that they are attending to the treatment needs of the many injured, despite the siege and the difficult conditions.
“We condemn the Zionist escalation in the strongest terms, and call on the international community and the world powers to rein it in,” they said.
Israeli tanks also shelled an area east of Khan Younis late afternoon, injuring at least another four people.
At least four Israeli tanks and four bulldozers are currently illegally in Gaza territory north-east of Al Bureij razing the land, while their henchmen shoot indiscriminately.
In yet another of their thousands of illegal incursions into Gaza, Israeli defence forces continue to level what was once productive farmland, and terrorise the local population.
In yet another of their millions of examples of abject hypocrisy and pandering to Israel, the international community does nothing.
When Hitler did it in Poland, it was called lebensraum and the international community launched an all-out war to stop him.
When Israel does it in Palestine, it is called the two-state solution, and slimy politicians get Nobel Peace Prizes as thousands of Palestinians are condemned to die, or suffer torture, misery, torment and hardship, or all of the above.
The US Security Council has passed over 100 Resolutions condemning Israel, all of which Israel has ignored.
UN Security Council sanctions to enforce co-operation with international law or to contain a threat to peace have been imposed against more than 33 countries, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya.
Yet it has never imposed sanctions against Israel, the biggest violator of international law on the planet.
La lucha sigue.
Internationals in Gaza have been advised that the Erez Crossing, closed because of cross-border fighting, will be open for two hours, from 12 midday until 2pm, and exit will be by co-ordinated convoy only.
This is the procedure that immediately precedes major Israeli military offensives, such as that before Operation Cast Lead, and the August offensive of 2011.
The international community MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY to stop another slaughter.