9 Comments

Gaza becoming uninhabitable as blockade tightens, says UN


This news item caught my attention due to the recent post, Dear World: “Turn the Gaza lights on”

TheGuardian

Children take part in a protest outside the headquarters of an electricity company in Gaza.

Children take part in a protest outside the headquarters of an electricity company in Gaza.

Gaza is becoming uninhabitable as humanitarian conditions deteriorate rapidly following Egypt’s destruction of smuggling tunnels and Israel’s renewed ban on the import of construction materials, the United Nations and aid agencies have said.

A year after the end of the eight-day war between Gaza and Israel last November, the UN said the situation in the tiny coastal strip was worse than before the conflict. “Initial hopes for a significant improvement on the ground have not been realised,” said James Rawley, the UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator for the Palestinian territories.

Gaza is facing a power crisis as a result of a shortage of fuel, with blackouts lasting 12-16 hours a day, according to Oxfam. Raw sewage has flooded streets in some areas of Gaza City following the closure of Gaza’s only power plant on 1 November, which made pump stations inoperative. Factories have been forced to cut production, leading to layoffs, and hospitals are running on emergency reserves.

Oxfam said only 40% of Gaza’s fuel needs were being met and consumer prices for petrol and diesel had doubled. Less than 400,000 litres of fuel a day enter Gaza through official crossings, compared with 1m litres a day that were smuggled through the tunnels.

Egypt’s closure of the tunnels has exacerbated an already precarious situation. “Ordinary people in Gaza are struggling to find work and feed their families while the blockade remains in place,” said Nishant Pandey, of Oxfam. More than 80% of Gaza’s 1.7 million inhabitants are in need of humanitarian aid and 65% of families are expected to be food insecure by the end of the year, according to the charity.

In addition, Israel last month halted the import of building materials through the crossings it controls, after the discovery of a sophisticated tunnel built by Hamas militants from Gaza to Israel. According to the Israeli military, it was constructed using materials that Israel had permitted to enter Gaza. As a result of the renewed ban, 19 out of 20 construction projects – including 12 schools – initiated by Unrwa have ground to a halt, putting at risk thousands more jobs. Unwra said Israel’s action was collective punishment, which is illegal under international law.

“Once more, Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable,” said Filippo Grandi, the agency’s commissioner-general. “Perhaps strengthening the human security of the people of Gaza is a better avenue to ensuring regional stability than physical closures, political isolation and military action.”

(full article at the link)

9 comments on “Gaza becoming uninhabitable as blockade tightens, says UN

  1. This is a human catastrophe on a grand scale and many innocent human beings are being subjected to great suffering. Unfortunately, they have no friends in the world to help them, with the possible exception of Iran which is unlikely to be of any meaningful help and a few other countries who are offering little more than lip services and arms. This is the end result of attempting to resolve all ones problems through violence. That is not the fault of every person in Gaza, but it so infects Gazan culture that it has alienated them from all in the world who have the resources to help them. There is a reason that Egypt has dumped them, and that is because of acts of violence they have committed against innocent Egyptians who were only trying to help them. The “government” of Gaza is not even able to get along peacefully with the rulers of the West Bank. In situations like this where people are horribly oppressed, only help from the outside or persistent strategy of non-violent effort, or a combination of both can have any hope of succeeding. But these are a people who consistently choose as leaders those who will have nothing of either of these strategies. Instead they continually pursue strategies that no sane person would ever choose, strategies with no hope of success, strategies that repeatedly doom their people to more and more suffering and hopelessness. There is a biblical principle that if the offended refuses to forgive unconditionally, no matter how great the offense and how justified the anger, they and those in their care will only face endless suffering, and that is precisely what we are seeing in Gaza today.

    • It is a human catastrophe. And im afraid it’s eventually going to lead to something worse George. I’m not just referring to Gaza either but to the entire area and it’s population of both Israeli’s and Palestinians.

      I was reading a report earlier today written by Jewish Journalist Philip Weiss. He visited the area back in September; the opening line to his article were:

      Every time I go to Israel I like to report on my response to the conflict, and after visiting in September my feelings are bleaker than they’ve ever been.

      His report portrays an atmosphere which is only growing worse.

      Every time I go to Israel I like to report on my response to the conflict, and after visiting in September my feelings are bleaker than they’ve ever been. That’s been the trend, the last couple of visits; but this one was particularly bad. The degree of oppression and persecution, of the indifference to it inside Israel, indeed the self-righteousness, the belief that this can all just be managed, and of the hatred it is breeding inside Palestine—all these attitudes just get more pronounced.

      I spent most of my time in Palestine, but I don’t like observing those feelings either. I’m sure I’d be worse under those conditions. But the demonization is unsettling, and it seems functional: You have to demonize people in order to excuse violence. There is bound to be some awful conflict ahead. And when I leave I feel thankful I’m getting away.

      If you have the opportunity, read it George. Real estate, racism, and righteousness — a grim visit to Israel

      If you do, i’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what he observed.

  2. I like what you wrote above George!

    George: “… There is a biblical principle that if the offended refuses to forgive unconditionally, no matter how great the offense and how justified the anger, they and those in their care will only face endless suffering, and that is precisely what we are seeing in Gaza today.”

    That sounds a little bit like this Biblical tenet from Leviticus 4:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
    2 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally[fn] in any of the LORD’s commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them,
    3 if it is the anointed priest who sins, thus bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer for the sin that he has committed a bull from the herd without blemish to the LORD for a sin offering.

    Also think about all those killed by the Angel of The Lord after King David took option three after numbering the men fit for war protested by Joab?

    Keying off that quote by George I want to paste a quote from an article I read this morning about the “Nakba” (1947/8 war) that drove the Palestinians to where they are today:

    “… The causes remain also the subject of fundamental disagreement between Arabs and Israelis. Factors involved in the exodus include Jewish military advances, attacks against Arab villages and fears of massacre after Deir Yassin,[10]:239–240 which caused many to leave out of panic; expulsion orders by Zionist authorities; the voluntary self-removal of the wealthier classes,[11] the collapse in Palestinian leadership,[12] and an unwillingness to live under Jewish control.[13] …”!

    See that? Three separate entities, the Zionists, the Arabs and the Palestinians vying for “their” place where their voice is heard there in that land!

    The problem as I see it is the existence of cultural ideologies and the presuppositions of us all and George’s point about their strong lack and unwillingness to “forgive” so as to address what to do with the pending crisis that gets worse every passing day, as the article you link to shows.

    I remember something a Jew said to me as he and I were taking a day to see some historic sights around the Dead Sea. As we were driving down the road my Jewish friend said abruptly: “stop, turn around, we are about to enter into Jericho! I’m a Jew and you’re from the United States! They that control Jericho now hate both of us. Once we go into Jericho they might not let us leave there alive”!!!

    Oh to digress a moment, now. I went to the links Steve provided in another thread about the Red Sea/Dead Sea hydroelectric/water project that would provide a lot of water to the region, Jordan and Israel and others. What an exciting project! Seems to me to be a workable project to build a 1500 mega watt power plant that would do so much to tackle the water crisis among others there. The one sticky issue with that project, for me, is the power supply to run the steam turbines; and, who controls what if this project is started?? The very issue at hand with this article seems to point to an unresolvable power and control problem with that project. I hope it goes forward and is accomplished!

    Ok, back to this article and the plight of the innocent Palestinians, the poor, who will suffer the most from this growing crisis.

    The reality is the wealthy and the powerful who will be bringing to bear on these people to come under someone else’s control. The Palestinians don’t have much of a leadership now or wealth, political power or product to contribute! To take another quote from George:

    “… Unfortunately, they have no friends in the world to help them, with the possible exception of Iran which is unlikely to be of any meaningful help and a few other countries who are offering little more than lip services and arms. This is the end result of attempting to resolve all ones problems through violence. …”.

    The world powers are changing their focus and it’s my view the Chinese are going to draw the world powers into their backyard now and sadly the Palestinians will end up suffering the same fate as a lot of African ethnic groups have and will continue to suffer more and more at the hands of the local rich and powerful Zionists and Arabs!!

    Maybe it’s time to start a practice before Christ, the True Ruler of the nations of the world, as laid out by the Apostle Peter, here:

    2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[fn] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[fn]
    11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
    12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
    13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
    14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

    • Amen Michael! (Especially the last part!!!)

      I just can’t help compare the situation in Palestine with so many other cases were people groups have been forcibly displaced over the centuries.

      Close to home we have the example of the Native American peoples. Imagine where they would be to today if they had initiated a never ending strategy of suicide attacks and terrorist revenge. They had every bit as much reason as the Palestinians to choose that course. Instead they simply accepted their loss very graciously in comparison. Certainly not without pain and not without resentment. Who wouldn’t feel pain and resentment? But over the decades that followed, new opportunities have gradually, but systematically opened up to them. First to those that assimilated and now to those who proudly chose to retain their ethnic identity, Over those same decades they have won over many to their cause from the very side of their oppressors, those who originally stole their land and raped their culture. And now, because of many decades of patiently working within the new reality, their tribal children have more opportunity than ever. Not that the dream is complete, there is still a long way to go, and I pray for that day when it will be (of course the reality for Native Americans is the same as for all the rest of us, that it will only be when Jesus comes to take us to our eternal home with Him!). But, in the mean time, they are lightyears away from where the Palestinians are and they achieved it all by AVOIDING a path of never ending hatred and bitterness.

      And then, ironically, we have the example of the Jews themselves, who were decimated as a people group and thrown out of their land by a long succession of foreign conquerors. They did their best to sustain their culture and their families in their exile and did it without succumbing to hatred and bitterness which so epitomize the Palestinian experience. And when they did retake their land, they did it ONLY when they had a plan that would succeed. And they did not do it by strapping bombs on the backs of their children.

      Of course one could enumerate countless more examples of peoples in similar situations who chose to forgive and move on rather than to incinerate their own souls in bitterness and hate. Don’t misunderstand me on this. Certainly all of the wrath and hate felt by the Palestinians is totally justified. But it is also is totally spiritually misguided and leads only to death.

      We all face injustice in life as individuals and as nations. It is the cruel reality of life. Whether our souls prosper through such experiences or suffer torture is largely dependent on our willingness to forgive and seek God. To their credit, there are many Christian Palestinians who have chosen this path and are prospering as a result. There are also many Muslim Palestinians who have done the same. But the intense pain and suffering is occurring needlessly because too many Christian and Muslim Palestinians refuse to let go of the grievances and refuse to forgive and seek reconciliation. In choosing this dark path, they are dooming not only themselves, but their families. It is very, very sad. Indeed, a great human tragedy of stunning proportions. And for those of us who are not directly involved, it is a sore that refuses to heal and a sore that is taking the lives of our children along the way.

      God have mercy!

    • Good comments (discussion) guys! The (American) Indian land-grab is an excellent example.

      Which makes me wonder; as the blockade (Gaza) is considered illegal, as are the settlements, yet we (the US) continues to support both, what responsibility do we have in what is occurring to the people?

    • The problem is that at this point Israel is a “sovereign government”, so recognized by the UN. They are violating international law and getting away with it. So are a legion of other countries around the world. And most of them are getting away with it as well. Why? Because the UN and the world court are toothless enforcers. The world is run by a handful of super powers. If one or more of those super powers supports a given offender, that offender gets away with flouting international law, period. If no super power supports the offender and one or more desire to enforce international law in that particular case, the offender not only does not get away with it, but they also end up being made a poster boy for “what happens to bad guys” when they have enemies in the world, but no friends. In the case of Hamas (Gaza), they have plenty of enemies (not just Israel) and nearly zero friends. (Friends as in “super power friends” of course). As for the whole idea of international law, I really think it is next to useless, because even the United States refuses to submit to it, and for good reason. There are enough problems with the US Federal government attempting to micromanage the lives of its citizens nanny state style, imagine what life would be like if the UN were deciding what your rights were in a given situation. Remember that government and law are a far from perfect solution. You fix one problem (like Gaza for example) and you create a million other problems. If the UN EVER gets global legal authority, the people calling the shots will be the world’s leading politicians and industrialists. And I can guarantee you they will make the problems facing Gaza look like a picnic in the park. So yes, the US probably does have a responsibility to try harder to make Israel behave, but that would also imply a responsibility to make Gaza behave as well. I would imagine that those objects being routinely lobbed over the border at Israel FROM Gaza also violate international law? Along with the tunnels specifically created to facilitate suicide bombings and such. I am sure that is not legal activity either and nobody seems to be raising a finger on that end either other than Israel itself. The clear reality is that there is no good guy here, both parties have significant blood on their hands and no other nation in the world wants to take the risk to help Gaza as a result of that. They have cooked their own goose. That is the universal answer in this situation.

    • So yes, the US probably does have a responsibility to try harder to make Israel behave, but that would also imply a responsibility to make Gaza behave as well. I would imagine that those objects being routinely lobbed over the border at Israel FROM Gaza also violate international law? Along with the tunnels specifically created to facilitate suicide bombings and such. I am sure that is not legal activity either and nobody seems to be raising a finger on that end either other than Israel itself. The clear reality is that there is no good guy here, both parties have significant blood on their hands and no other nation in the world wants to take the risk to help Gaza as a result of that. They have cooked their own goose. That is the universal answer in this situation.

      Forgive me George, as usual i wasn’t clear in what i really was asking.Aha!

      I was actually wondering about America’s culpability, in that we (as a nation) are upholding or supporting many of these actions taken by the Israeli government: financially (by our continuing to send billions to Israel yearly) most of this in the form of military assistance and hardware, which in turn has been used against, say, the people within Gaza.

      Much of the verbal support comes as we know, from Christians. Those “Christian groups/organizations” who have made plain, they will stand in support of Israel no matter what it has done or will do in he future. Many of these also support Israel financially…maybe not in the billions, but in the millions every year.

      Biblically and spiritually speaking, i guess my question is how much do we (the United States of America AND the Christian Zionist) “share” in what is occurring to the people in these camps within Gaza.

      Just a further observation, but i also wonder about the culpability of those Christians (in the west) who, though they don’t agree with the actions taken by Israel in Gaza, fail to say anything. Are they, by their silence just as guilty…or is it God’s will that we stay silent?

    • My own personal opinion on whether we should involve ourselves in the Gaza issue is that I really don’t believe it is what we are called to as believers. It is in reality a battle between to groups of non-believers. It is not our calling in life to achieve and exert political power either nationally or internationally. We need to focus our attentions to 1) praying for TRUE believers who are caught up in these struggles, and 2) to discreetly attempt to support these TRUE believers in whatever way possible. We need to be careful NOT to entrap ourselves by supporting those who are Christians in name only. Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Robert Kennedy was a self identified Palestinian “Christian” who was, at least for a time in his life, affiliated with a Baptist organization. He railed in the courtroom against Kennedy’s support for Israel. That is not the kind of statement I would expect from a genuine member of the body of Christ. I believe we have to be very careful not to get caught up in causes that are unrelated to the gospel of Christ. That certainly does not mean that I rejoice over the suffering of the wicked. It simply means that I do not believe we are called by God to engage in political action in order to “fix” these problems. Feel totally free to disagree with me on this, but that is my position. And show me IDENTIFIABLE Christians in Gaza (or Israel for that matter) belonging to recognizable established Christian organizations, like the Coptic Church in Egypt, for example, and I will try to support them in any way possible. But I am pretty vocal personally on a political level about NOT supporting Gaza and NOT supporting Israel either.

    • Yes i agree, political action is not the way to go as children of God. On the other hand i do feel a responsibility (as a Christian) to at least attempt to get at the truth and offer it in my small part of the world–through this blog or in conversations with friends; for justice (or injustice) is spoken of often in the book we all claim to live by..the bible.

      Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

      Jeremiah 22:3-5 Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place….But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.

      Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

      Especially (with) my fellow Christians, for this is not only a secular issue but has deep undercurrents running through it which affect the Church….namely because of particular theological stands taken by many Christians on the issue. Personally i see these stands as part of the modern day apostasy working in our churches and (a deception) among many fellow Christians. So it becomes both a secular (world) issue and a Church issue George, with one overlapping the other.

      And, as you pointed out, there are fellow believers involved on both sides. Sadly, these for all intents and purposes, have been forgotten by the Church.

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