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Please help us get one of the longest blockade’s in human history lifted. Following floods and freezing temperatures, the situation in Gaza is now catastrophic. UNWRA have called for the immediate lifting of the blockade in order to allow recovery efforts to proceed.
For regular updates on the situation in Gaza, from students and others on the ground: http://chat2gaza.com/
The crisis in Gaza is escalating daily, resulting in even greater suffering for the 1.7 million Palestinians living under siege in just 365 sq km of land bordering the Mediterranean. Half of the population are under 18, and two thirds are refugees.
Until recently, in an inventive attempt to survive despite Israel’s brutal blockade, much of Gaza’s food and fuel requirements came through tunnels dug between Gaza and Egypt. But following the coup, Egypt has blocked the tunnels and closed the crossing at Rafah (the pedestrian crossing between Egypt and Gaza) to almost all Palestinians.
Israel, supported by the US, UK and EU, has laid siege to the Gaza Strip since June 2007. Dov Weissglass, acting as advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, clarified the plan was to increase Palestinian suffering as punishment for delivering a majority to the Palestinian party Hamas after holding democratic elections in 2006. “The idea,” he said, “is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
Palestinians living in Gaza had already been subjected to severe restrictions in movement, but the Israeli-led siege increased their suffering – with even foodstuffs, medicines and educational supplies targeted.
Palestinians in Gaza are subject to regular Israeli attacks by air, land and sea . Farmers in the ‘buffer zone’ have been shot and killed. Israel arbitrarily imposed a limit of 3km for fishing boats – and has shot at boats, kidnapping fishermen and taking them to Israel.
Israel’s military attacks on Gaza intensified in winter 08/09, and November 2012.
On 27 December, 2008, Israel launched an air offensive, killing more than 200 Palestinians in the first day, followed by a ground invasion on 3 January 2009. By the time that Israel withdrew its ground troops on 21 January 2009, over 1400 Palestinians had been killed, and 13 Israelis.
Between 14 and 21 November 2012, Israel launched another wave of air strikes against Gaza. The UN Human Rights Council reported that 174 Palestinians were killed – at least 168 of them by Israeli military action, including 33 children and 13 women. Six Israelis were reportedly killed. More info>
Israel’s blockade also targets reconstruction materials to repair houses and infrastructure, including sewage pipes, damaged by Israeli strikes. This means that sewage seeps into the water supply in Gaza, with raw sewage pumped directly into the sea.
90% of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption. Electricity powercuts are frequent, and fuel shortages are only too common.