Death and Darkness in Gaza
People are dying, Help us!
News Update 20/01/08 8.47 pm PST
Five patients dead due to electricity
cutoffs in Gaza hospitals: Hamas claimed
Sunday night that five patients died because of the cutoff of
electricity in Gaza hospitals resulting from the Israeli
Hamas Leader Pleads Help For Gaza From
Arab Nations : : The Hamas leadership
pleaded with Arab leaders and the rival Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas, on Sunday, asking them to forget their
differences and help the beleaguered Gazans.
-- -- A humanitarian crisis is underway as the Gaza Strip's
only power plant began to shut down on Sunday, and the tiny
coastal territory entered its third full day without shipments
of vital food and fuel supplies due to Israel's punitive
The Gaza Strip's power plant has completely shut down on Sunday
because it no longer has the fuel needed to keep running. One of
the plant's two electricity-generating turbines had already shut
down by noon.
This will drastically reduce output to 25 or 30 megawatts, down
from the 65 megawatts the plant produces under normal
conditions. By Sunday evening the plant will shut down
completely, leaving large swaths of the Gaza Strip in darkness.
Omar Kittaneh, the head of the Palestine Energy Authority in
Ramallah, confirmed that by tonight, the one remaining operating
turbine will be powered down, and the Gaza power plant will no
longer be generating any electricity at all.
"We have asked the Israeli government to reverse its decision
and to supply fuel to operate the power plant", Dr. Kittaneh
said. "We have talked to the Israeli humanitarian coordination
in their Ministry of Energy [National Infrastructure]. We say
this is totally Israel's responsibility, and that reducing the
fuel supplies until the plant had to shut down will affect not
only the electrical system but the water supply, and the entire
infrastructure in Gaza – everything."
After months of increasingly harsh sanctions, Israel imposed a
total closure on the Strip's border crossings, even preventing
the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Israeli government says
the closure is punishment for an ongoing barrage of Palestinian
homemade projectiles fired from the Gaza Strip.
180 fuel stations have shut down after Gaza residents to buy gas
A Palestinian economist Hasan Abu Ramadan said the current
humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip will be deepened by the
blockade on fuel and food supplies. He warned that Gaza Strip
could go from a situation of deep poverty to all out famine,
disease, and malnutrition.
Abu Ramadan said that more than 80% of the Strip's 1.5 million
residents have been surviving with the help of food aid from
international organizations such as UNRWA for Palestinian
Most international actors in the region believe there already is
a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including the UN's Emergency
Relief Coordinator, the Undersecretary-general for humanitarian
affairs John Holmes, who said at a press conference at UNHQ in
New York on Friday that "This kind of action against the people
in Gaza cannot be justified, even by those rocket attacks".
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed particular concern,
in a statement issued later on Friday through his spokesperson,
about the "decision by Israel to close the crossing points in
between Gaza and Israel used for the delivery of humanitarian
assistance. Such action cuts off the population from much-needed
fuel supplies used to pump water and generate electricity to
homes and hospitals".
The UN Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights in the occupied territories, John
Dugard, also issued a much sharper statement on Friday, saying
that Israel must have foreseen the loss of life and injury to
many nearby civilians when it targeted the Ministry of Interior
building in Gaza City.
This, and the killings of other Palestinians during the week,
plus the closures, "raise very serious questions about Israel's
respect for international law and its Commitment to the peace
process", Dugard said. He said it violates the strict
prohibition on collective punishment contained in the Fourth
Geneva Convention, and one of the basic principles of
international humanitarian law: that military action must
distinguish between military targets and civilian targets.
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