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: January 5th, 2007
Please do not skip reading this
The attacks have come after the 6 month ceasefire truce, Tahdiyah, between Hamas & Israeli millitary forces expired last week on December 19th. While a ceasefire always seems like a good idea, Hamas expolited this period to recruit and train new personnel, and Israel expolited this period to impose "war" on Gaza without a full blown confrontation.
While a full blown confrontation did not occur, ceasefire has been void by both Israel & Hamas on numerous ocassions. Most notably of which was the November 5th raid by the Israeli air force in which 6 Gazans were killed.
Since November 5th, The dynamics of the Gaza-Israel relationship, for the first time ever, has changed from being based on political rivalry to that based on oppression. On November 5th, Israel began enforcing a seige on Gaza, controlling the flow of water, food, electricity, diesel, medicine and everything else into Gaza. This control resulted in a rapid decrease in the quantites of the above below livable levels.
Food supply is now strained even more than it already was. Oxfam, was allowed an average of 4.6 trucks a day, 20% of what it was in December 2005, which it then considered to be an alarming defeciency of food supply. The UN Relief and Works Agency, responsible for feeding 750,000 of Gaza's 1.6 million citizens, more than half of which are children, was allowed a mere 35 trucks of food supply between November 5th and December 5th. A mere 7% of the required minimum. Food supply from the UNRWA, since December 18th, has completely ceased, leaving the majority of the 750,000 who are solely dependant on it without food since.
The World Food Programme is having simliar restrictions on the amount of food they can send in, also noting that the excess food it's not allowed to send in is being stored in Israeli storage facilities. This alone will cost half a million dollars which by the end of the year, which will now go to the benefit of Israeli businesses rather than being injected into the food crisis in Gaza.
Control over cooking gas is equally unsettling. Because of shortages in Butane cooking gas, 65% of all commercial bakeries in Gaza have had to close down, not only causing major shortages in bread, but also contribuiting to the unemployment problem, now at more than 49%. Similar is expected to happen to the remaining 17-25 bakeries which each of which is expected to provide bread, the main and basic element in food for Gazans, to an average of in excess of 90,000 citizens.
Cooking gas used in poltury farming, has had similar results to the breeding and feeding of chicken, the main source of protein for 70% of Gazans. The FAO predicts that if the cooking gas situation remains as it is, poltury farming will die completely by April of 2009.
Restrictions on cash notes have forced all banks in Gaza to close down on December 4th, which could result in the collapse of the remainder of the financial system. The UNRWA have also suspended all cash flow into Gaza bringing a halt to cash for work, cash for food, and cash allowances (to impovershed or no income households) programmes.
On November 13th, Gaza's only power plant, responsible for a third of Gaza's population has had to shut down due to the shortage of diesel fuel , because of which the turbines have failed, which required ordering in some 100 parts that have to be replaced. The parts are now, and have been for a while, in possesion of Israeli ports being delieberately delayed for custom clearance. It's expected that this will not occur before the 45-day holding period after which the parts will be auctioned, and the proceeds of which will be retained in the Israeli treasurey. The remaining two thirds of Gaza's population recieve electricity which comes from and is charged by Israel. While this source of electricity hasn't stopped (yet), the one million Gazans it serves only have it for 6 hours a day.
Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, a politically impartial entity, responsible for providing water and sewage services for Gaza has also has had to halt services because it stopped recieving funding from the Palestenian Water Authority. The Palestenian Water Authority recieves fuding from the World Bank via the Palestenian Authority in the West Bank, the political rivals to Hamas. The 'Abbas' West Bank Palestenian Authority government exploited it's control over the PWA to use it in it's political rivarly with the Hamas government in Gaza because it felt that a functioning sewage system in Gaza, might come to Hamas' "benefit". Meanwhile, Gaza City, and northern Gaza have only 6 hours of access to clean water every three days.
The West Bank government exploited their control over Pharmacueticals against Gaza in a similar way. Throught November, the West Banks government returned shipments of medicine because the West Bank's storage facilities were filled to capacity, and had no where to store them, while Gaza was reciving little or no medicine at all at the time. Since September, only one truck of medicine and medical supplies was delieverd to Gaza on the last week of November. Gaza's extremely scarce medical supply is smuggled from Egypt, as does the very little amounts of fuel which keep the hospitals running, noting that two of Gaza's major hospitals are now closed because of lack of supplies and fuel.
Come January 9th, Mahmood Abbas' 4 year presidency term will expire. The presidency which was was actually won, in elections, by Hamas, but was not allowed to excercise. The Hamas government will, on January 9th, announce that even if Mahmood Abbas is "re-elected" it will not recognize him as president.
This will in effect be the dissolution of the remainder of any unified relationship between the Gaza Strip and the current West Bank government, or it's mimics. It will be the day that Palestine as we know it will cease to exist.
All while Israel continues it's most vicious attack yet on Palestine since 20 years, while the world bystands not only to killing, but to the disintegration of an entire society.
---------------------------------------------------------------Due to Israel's ban on journalists in Gaza in the beggining of December, there's little photographic evidence of what's happening in Gaza, but some have surfaced here. These are not for the fainthearted, but I encourage, nay plea, everyone to see them.
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