Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Posts tagged “Rafah

In the name of humanity, stop the Israeli slaughter of innocents in Gaza

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 04, 2014

Medics remove a child from the rubble after the Israeli airstrike in Shaati camp today

Medics remove a child from the rubble after the Israeli airstrike in Shaati camp today

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…)

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Kuwaiti Maternity Hospital in Rafah unable to cope with scores of dead and injured

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 03, 2014

Dead bodies stacked in cold-store

Dead bodies stacked in cold-store

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…)


Urgent Gaza needs: transfer for 50 patients, humanitarian corridor to Al Naser Hospital

Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 02, 2014

Rafah (400 x 223)

The Ministry of Health Gaza makes an urgent appeal to hospitals outside of Gaza to take 50 cases ready to be referred immediately. Gaza’s hospitals are overloaded, and just cannot cope with the huge number of casualties resulting from the latest continuous Israeli bombardment, this time in the Rafah governate.

More than 85 people have been killed in the last 24 hours in Rafah, and over 350 have been injured, many seriously. The entire Al Janina area of Rafah has been decimated. (more…)


Al Najar Hospital in Rafah evacuated as Israeli genocidal rampage continues

Press Release
Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine
August 01, 2014

rafah (400 x 266)

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…)


Urgent call from MOH Gaza for international assistance to evacuate civilians

Press Release
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…)


Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council calls for opening of Rafah Crossing

PCHR

10 March 2014

Appeal to Open Rafah Crossing

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council is deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of living condition of the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s denial and negligence of its legal obligations towards civilians and its continuation of imposing collective punishment on the Gaza Strip for more than 7 years.

The council strongly condemns the ongoing closure imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and its serious impacts on all life aspects of Palestinian civilians. The council also renews its call upon the international community to intervene immediately to lift the closure, open all border crossings to facilitate the movement of Palestinians from and to the Gaza Strip, and ensure the freedom of trade. Thus, the council calls upon Egypt to open the Rafah Crossing, which has been closed for a month, to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians due to the Israeli practices and violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights law against the Gaza Strip population.

Israel has tightened its closure of the Gaza Strip border crossings, including Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing for 7 years. As a result, 1.8 Palestinians have been denied their right to freedom of movement to and from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, this policy has deteriorated the conditions of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of patients who need advanced medical treatment which is not available in the Gaza Strip, persons who work in other countries, Palestinian families living in other countries and university students who study abroad, have not been able to travel abroad.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council reiterates that the Gaza Strip is still under the Israeli tightened closure, which is considered a form of collective punishment, and impacts severely on all life aspects of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. The council further emphasized that the Gaza Strip is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and reminds Israel as an occupying power of its obligation towards the population of the occupied territory according the international law. This includes taking all the necessary measures to facilitate the movement of people and goods. Thus, Israeli forces must end the illegal closure immediately. The international community must also pressurize the Israeli authorities to open Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, the sole outlet between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including Occupied Jerusalem. This would enable the Gaza Strip civilians to move freely between the Palestinian cities and the outside world.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, which signed this appeal, takes into consideration the situation in Egypt, but is concerned over the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip. Based on the strong ties between Egyptians and Palestinians and the historical role played by Egypt in supporting the Palestinian cause and particularly the Gaza Strip, the council further:

1. Calls upon Egypt Authorities to open the Rafah crossing, which has been closed for a month, and stop the deterioration of the conditions of the Gaza Strip population due to the total closure imposed on the Gaza Strip;

2. To take the necessary measures to ensure opening the crossing normally before the movement of the Palestinian civilians from and to the Gaza Strip and put an end to their suffering;

3. Calls upon the international community to pressurize the Israeli authorities to stop the policy of collective punishment against the population of the Gaza Strip and immediately open all border crossings to put an end to the serious deterioration of the humanitarian conditions of the civilian population; and

4. Calls upon the Israeli authorities to comply with international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, including finding a prompt solution to ensure the freedom of movement of Palestinian civilians through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing regularly and safely, and to establish a clear system ensuring the freedom of movement of the population of the Gaza Strip and safe passage and flow of the population’s needs through commercial crossings.

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Mahmoud Zahar on Rafah, the Free Trade Zone and more

After this morning’s event I took up the Rafah issue with another attendee, Dr Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas co-founder and politburo member.

Dr Mahmoud Zahar

“Firstly, we need to make it clear that we appreciate and understand that President Mursi has many internal troubles, and he is concentrating on his own country’s national and global interests. Perhaps we were a bit too optimistic. The old regime is still running many things, like security, and no change is possible yet. We need to wait, and not pressure them,” he told me.

“The Free Trade Zone was not an official proposal, it was a Muslim Brotherhood project, but they started talking about it in the media.”

What about the closure of the tunnels we have been reading about, I asked. Is this going to create shortages in Gaza?

“The only tunnels being closed are those being used for illegal purposes, so we are happy about that, the ones being used to bring in drugs, weapons and for other illegal purposes. Egypt will not allow the closure of tunnels to such an extent that it causes food shortages,” he replied.

“1500 people daily are passing through Rafah now, it is open seven days a week. There are still some restrictions, though – the list of names of people banned from crossing is still reliant on Fatah information given to the old Mubarak regime, and the list has to be gone through one by one because many people have similar or the same names – sometimes even babies are banned. The names have to be confirmed, or cancelled, and many have been, but Egyptian security has other priorities than updating the lists.”

The events in Tahrir Square last Friday indicate that despite the lip-service paid to democracy, many are reluctant to accept the results, and subsequent decisions taken by majority governments. Does this suggest that the notion of democracy itself needs attention?

“We need to distinguish between the instruments or models of democracy, and its conceptualisation. In the Arab world we are moving from dictatorships to elected presidents, and building our own models will take time. We are not just adopting a US model, we are developing our own. It is not just how we choose our representatives, but also how we punish wrongdoers, how we reward people who succeed in doing well, the sort of administrations we create to enable public participation and to end corruption. President Mursi has achieved a lot of successes already. Sudan and Syria are much bigger problems for him right now than Palestine,” Dr Zahar said.

How do you see Egypt’s role in relation to Syria?

“ Egypt has a big role to play as the peacemaker in Syria, with the help of Iran and Turkey. I think the current situation between Turkey and Syria will finish. Turkey and Iran and Egypt are all seeking a political solution, and that will enable the Syrian regime to be replaced with a democratic administration. Recovery will take time.”

So the Rafah situation will not change quickly?

“We need to speak to the people around the President, he is surrounded by groups from the old regime who don’t understand, or don’t want to change. We need to wait.”

ends