- Under siege, Israel continues to strangle Gaza. Poverty
and unemployment are extremely high. Over 70% of the population requires
humanitarian aid. Virtually everything is in short supply. Except for minimal
amounts of some fruits, vegetables and flowers, exports are prohibited.
Israel prevents access by sea and air. It's blockade is illegal but persists
because Western powers and regional neighbors allow it.
- Egypt's recent Rafah Crossing opening falls short of
meeting Gaza's needs. On June 16, Gaza Gateway listed 10 reason why:
- Crossings to Egypt remain limited, several hundred daily
while 10,000 wish to travel. Moreover, it's for designated people only,
not goods. Those allowed enter through Kerem Shalom Crossing.
- The situation on both sides of the border is uncertain
and unstable, including whether or not the opening will continue and under
- Rafah doesn't enable travel or movement of goods to the
West Bank. Moreover, Gaza ID holders can't enter through Jordan.
- As explained above, most exports are prohibited.
- Except for approved international organization projects,
importing construction materials is prohibited.
- Gazans needing unavailable medical care, are restricted
in getting it in Egypt, the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Moreover, many
can't make a long trip.
- It's deeply troubling because Gaza's hospitals and other
medical facilities are running out of medications and vital supplies, requiring
cancellations or postponement of dozens of needed surgeries and other treatment.
In fact, medications and other medical necessities haven't been supplied
- According to Gaza's Ministry of Health, 178 medications
and 123 categories of medical supplies are exhausted. Moreover, 69 other
medications and 70 types of supplies will run out in three months.
- As a result, emergency measures have been taken, including
canceling or suspending pediatric, ophthalmological, cardiac catheterization,
endoscopic, urological, orthopedic, and other surgeries, as well as dental
care, outpatient services, primary care, lab tests, medical imaging, children's
and women's services, occupational health, and more.
- In fact, a growing crisis threatens all Gazans needing
care. Hospitals and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) report
growing shortages and unavailability of many medications and supplies for
ICUs, premature infant nurseries, operating rooms, anesthesia and recovery,
emergency facilities, cardiac catheterization, hematology, oncology, nephritic
diseases, and pediatrics.
- Gaza City's Ophthalmology Hospital director said eight
surgeries in the past two days were postponed and others suspended for
months. On June 12, Ramallah's Ministry of Health Public Relations and
Information Department Director-General, Dr. Omar al-Nasser, said the Egyptian
Medical Association would supply 19 vital medications soon.
- He also said arrangements would be coordinated with Israel
to provide other medications and supplies from its own Ramallah and Nablus
warehouses shortly, including 81 medications, surgical tools, and 130 other
- Under siege, conditions are very uncertain with no assurance
Israel or Egypt will accommodate vital needs, including life or death ones.
- A Final Comment
- On June 14, Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International
Solidarity Movement (ISM), committed to Palestinian liberation, emailed
followers an update on Freedom Flotilla II, a 15 ship convoy with over
1,500 activists sailing in late June to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.
- "Unfortunately and incredibly," she said, "Israel
is threatening to" interdict it with "even greater violence"
than against Freedom Flotilla I in May 2010, slaughtering nine or more
activists and injuring dozens more.
- This time "Israel's threats include the use of snipers
and canine units. Even more deplorable, world leaders, rather than demanding
that Israel halt its provocative behavior towards us and refrain from again
attacking unarmed civilians, have called the Flotilla initiative a provocation
and have asked countries....to prevent us from sailing."
- Nonetheless, "(w)e are determined to sail to Gaza.
Our cause is just and our means are transparent. (We present no) imminent
threat to Israel nor do we aim to contribute to (an anti-Israeli) war....thus
eliminating any claim by Israel to self-defense....We will - and must -
continue to sail until the illegal blockade....is ended and Palestinians
have the same human and national rights those of us sailing enjoy."
- Four supportive women Nobel Peace laureates, including
Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, and Rigoberta Menchu Tum,
sent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon an open letter asking him to:
- "support the people of Gaza with two key actions.
First, by appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of
the (flotilla's) boats," providing proof it contains humanitarian
supplies, and to "call on all governments to support the (flotilla's)
- Sadly, Ban is an imperial tool, serving Western/Israeli
interests. As a result, he'll do more to discourage the initiative than
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive
Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central
time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy