Saturday, March 8, 2008

Gaza Crisis Worst in 40 Years

"Alan Border"

Gaza Crisis Worst
in 40 Years
By IOL Staff

"Unless the blockade ends now, it will be impossible to pull Gaza back from the brink of this disaster," said Dennis.
CAIRO — The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living through the worst humanitarian crisis in 40 years due to the ongoing Israeli blockade, eight British aid groups said Thursday, March 6, in a joint report.

"The situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than at any time si n ce the beginning of the Israeli military occupation in 1967," read the "The Gaza Strip: A Humanitaraian Implosion" report.

It said movement is all but impossible and supplies of food and water, sewage treatment and basic healthcare can no longer be taken for granted.

"The economy has collapsed, unemployment is expected to rise to 50%, hospitals are suffering 12-hour power cuts and schools are failing - all creating a 'humanitarian implosion."

The report said that the deplorable situation in Gaza is "man-made, completely avoidable, and with the necessary political will can be reversed," say the groups, which include Oxfam, Amnesty CARE International UK, Save the Children and Christian Aid.

The report challenges the Israeli argument that Israel is no longer bound by the laws of occupation since it "dis engaged" from Gaza in summer 2005.

What made matters worse, the agencies add, is Israel's ongoing deadly blitz on the Gaza Strip.

Israel has been mounting since February 27 air strikes on the Gaza Strip.
The deadly offensive in Gaza has killed more than 125 people in a week, including more than 20 children, toddlers and newborn babies.

End Blockade
The aid groups, most of which have been operating in the impoverished Gaza Strip for decades, blamed the Israeli blockade of the Strip since Hamas took it over in June for the deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

It said that while Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians had seen a "long-term pattern of deterioration" stemming from decades of occupation, "the severity of the humanitarian situation has increased exponentially due to the Israeli government's imposition of the blockade."

"Israel’s policy affects the civilian population of Gaza indiscriminately and constitutes a collective punishment against ordinary men, women and children. The measures taken are illegal under international humanitarian law."

It said 80 percent of the Gaza population (over 1.1 million) are now dependent on food aid and 40 percent unemployed.

The depth of the humanitarian crisis in the Strip was underlined by last month's mass breakout across the border into Egypt b y hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to stock up on desperately needed supplies.

"Unless the blockade ends now, it will be impossible to pull Gaza back from the brink of this disaster and any hopes of peace in the region will be dashed," said Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of CARE International UK.

Talk to Hamas
The British aid groups also called for negotiations with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
"The international policy of isolating Hamas has not reaped any benefits," the report said.

"We urge the UK government and the EU to abandon the failing policy of non-engagement and begin political dialogue with all Palestinian parties"
They further said Israel’s current policy of isolation and refusal to engage with all Palestinian parties "only closes doors to negotiations while reinforcing the political and humanitarian crisis."

They also urged the international community to facilitate a dialogue aimed at Palestinian reconciliation.

"There is an urgent need for Palestinian dialogue and reconciliation in order to create and sustain a credible and effective peace process with Israel. The international community must provide the political support to facilitate such an undertaking. "
Hamas has ruled Gaza since June, when it ousted the rival forces of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, whose authority is now limited to the occupied West Bank.
Citing confidential documents, the US magazine Vanity Fair revealed that the Bush administration had drawn up plans to topple the ruling Hamas after its 2006 parliamentary victory with the help of Fatah strongman Mohammad Dahlan, prompting Hamas to take a preemptive action by taking over the Gaza Strip.

Read the Report in Full


Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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