Thursday, March 06, 2008

Gaza in Severe Crisis

There are many horrible things happening to the people of the Gaza strip. The world is unaware of most what is happening there, but even when there is awareness, unfortunately, nothing is being done to stop the cruel oppression and mistreatment of these people. It is heart breaking.

Here is an article I feel is worth passing on to you. When the defenseless are being hurt and have no voice, we must be their voice. It is not OK for these people to be treated this way. It's simply not acceptable.

Israel is prone to drawing the timeline that justifies their actions to begin with an 'act' on the part of Palestinians as the starting point of problems. Isreal is always merely retaliating' or defending themselves. They never recognize or admit their part of creating the conditions for violence. This way of denying their responsibility (mainly the blockade of Gaza that is literally killing people there) will never bring peace. It may feel or even appear self righteous, but it will never bring peace.

I do not condone the firing of rockets into Israel from the Gaza strip. I do not condone the blockade of Gaza by the Israeli government, and I certainly do not condone the repeated Israeli attacks that have killed 120 people in Gaza over the past week.

Violence begets violence. There are many ways to be violent. Weapons are only one of those ways. Denying people medical care, electricity, food, water, freedom of movement and the ability to make a living are also acts of violence. Until they are viewed as such, there can be no peace.

I oppose all acts of violence, whatever their form.

Gaza in Severe Crisis
by ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 5, 8:41 PM ET

Palestinian children look out from a window of their damaged house
after it was attacked late on Tuesday by Israeli forces, in the
central Gaza Strip March 5, 2008.

JERUSALEM - A human rights coalition charged Thursday that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has reached its worst point since Israel captured the territory in 1967.

In a scathing report, eight British-based rights organizations said that more than 1.1 million people, about 80 percent of Gaza's residents, are now dependent on food aid, as opposed to 63 percent in 2006. It said that overall unemployment is close to 40 percent.

It also said that hospitals are suffering from power cuts of up to 12 hours a day, and the water and sewage systems were close to collapse.

The report follows strident international condemnation of Israel after it struck hard against Palestinian militants in Gaza, killing more than 120 in the past week, including many civilians, after Palestinians militants escalated their daily rocket fire at Israel.

The Palestinian rockets have killed 13 people, wounded dozens more, traumatized thousands and caused millions of dollars in damage.

Israel's Defense Ministry rejected the report, blaming the militant Hamas rulers of Gaza for the hardships.

"The main responsibility for events in Gaza — since the withdrawal of Israel from the territory and the uprooting of the settlements there — is the Hamas organization, to which all complaints should be addressed," read a statement by spokesman, Maj. Peter Lerner.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said Israel must protect its citizens, "but as the occupying power in Gaza it also has a legal duty to ensure that Gazans have access to food, clean water, electricity and medical care."

Israel removed all 21 settlements and withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2005. Israel maintains that ended its occupation, but rights groups say that since Israel still controls Gaza's land, sea and air access, it is still the occupier.

After Hamas militants seized control of Gaza in June, Israel closed its crossings, allowing only shipments of vital goods into Gaza.

The 16-page report — sponsored by Amnesty, along with CARE International UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Medecins du Monde UK, Oxfam, Save the Children UK and Trocaire — calls on the British government to exert greater pressure on Israel and to reverse its policy on not negotiating with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Israel and the West shun Hamas and label it a terrorist organization. Hamas does not accept the presence of a Jewish state.

Replying to the report, Israel's Defense Ministry said it was misdirected.

The Israeli Defense Ministry also said medicines and medical equipment are shipped into Gaza with no limitation. On Wednesday, a typical day, the military said it allowed 69 truckloads of supplies into Gaza, including basic food and baby formula.

This week NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog, called on human rights groups to end what it called their political use of international law. It cited an Amnesty International press release that it said made unsubstantiated accusations that Israeli responses "are being carried out with reckless disregard for civilian life".


Link to article: Gaza in severe Crisis

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