With the last Israeli maneuvers of tightening the siege
imposed on Gaza, more life necessities vanished. The key power plant shut down
27 days ago resulted in tremendous direful outcomes. More than 75 percent of
the Gaza strip faces severe power cuts and some areas are completely plunged
Power cuts and daily blackouts resulted in hindering of all
facilities depending on power. The remaining power shares provided by Israel
and Egypt are not enough to cover the whole coastal strip. Pumped fresh water
is not reaching all living places, farms and central water wells. Sewage and
treatment water machines are halted. Additionally around 77 million liters of
sewage water leak into the Mediterranean contaminating it and damaging fish
resources on a daily basis.
According to the Popular Committee against Siege (PCAS),
basic food stuff like milk, flour, food oils, meat, rice and legumes are not
available in large quantities. Other needs are not available like raw materials
needed to operate small food factories.
Estimates for daily consumption of the following food
products in the Gaza Strip are: 867 tons of flour, 153 tons of sugar, 110 tons
of rice, 75 tons of different kinds of oil and 49 tons of herbs and vegetables.
According to the crossing administration only 15 percent of Gaza needs get in.
A severe shortage of basic medicines is up to 40 percent.
Medicines for diabetes, heart, asthma and other chronic diseases are vanished
from Gaza. Additionally, other kind of medicines for cancer, Lennar and liver
failure face sharp shortages. Sterilization and disinfection and medical
equipment and clothes face decrease up to 30 percent. There is a severe
shortage of solutions and pigments and laboratory tools. These shortages
amounted to 40 percent directly affect patients. Some medical equipment is in
bad need of spare parts and maintenance. Due to the siege none of the needs are
being met. Children�s incubators are being affected as well. The power cuts and
continued blackouts damaged part of the equipment and their programming
systems. Damage hit C.T and X-Ray Departments at al Shifa� and European
hospitals. These are so crucial to diagnosis of cancer tumors and other
diseases. Spare parts for medical telemetry are not available!
It was Israel�s duty to open commercial crossings completely
during the calm. But, Israel didn�t abide by that condition as she partially
opened them. But within the last week; Israel totally closed them, causing a
huge humanitarian crisis. According to UNRWA, around 750,000 of its
beneficiaries don�t get their share of food parcels. With the Israeli ban on
UNRWA aid, it is ensuring that a dire humanitarian crisis will occur within
days. As UNRWA is also under siege from assisting Palestine in humanitarian
causes, long time projects such as housing are halted to the loss of $350
Agriculture, animals and poultry are negatively
affected by the recent closure as collective punishment. Animals and poultry
are being seen as terrorists, the same as Gazans, by Israelis. Gaza needs 150
tons of fodder a day, but in four weeks none has entered. More than a million
chickens were killed due to a lack of fodder. Losses amounted to 20 percent due
to a lack of vaccines, serums and feed. The Fishing sector lacks natural gas
needed for fishing and also the process of incubation is being halted.
Agricultural supplies, such as insecticides, seeds and fertilizer, are not
available. This negatively affects the sector and already had with the start of
siege. Agricultural products are being held in Gaza as Israel has prevented any
kind of exports for a year and a half.
The people of Gaza are outraged by the Israelis� collective
punishment. I spoke to some Gazan residents and I observed some differences
amongst them. Mr. Muhammad who refuses to identity his full name said that this
siege is unjust and it�s a way to pressure people to give up their rights.
�We have been patient for 60 years now. We passed more cruel
time than this. Thus, why to give up this year? We have to be adamant and
patient and the siege will be lifted eventually,� Mr. Muhammad said.
I spoke to a jobless resident from the Al Shati� refugee
camp, Mr. Khalil Barakat, who is in his mid 50�s. He says he is outraged by
this siege. �I�m fed up, bored; I feel we are caged like animals in Gaza. If I
could get a chance to immigrate to live my remaining years in peace, then I
would love to,� he said angrily.
Accidentally, I met old friend of mine, Um Muhammad Abu Ouf;
a mother in her twenties. It was good for me to explore her views about the
siege as well. As a mother and a female, her perspective is most important. We
met at 6 pm at AL Omar al Moktar Street which was plunging into deep darkness.
She had outstanding comments about siege. I asked, �How
badly you are affected by siege?�
�Well, the siege became a daily nightmare midday and night.
Electricity cuts off and that frightens my 11-month infant. It makes conditions
unsafe for him. Further, I�m trying to get some fortified food for him. I went
to many stores and shops but in vain. I could not find any food nor needed
supplies for my son as there is a shortage in a lot of the basic products
needed to care for infants, such as milk, diapers and so forth.�
A pessimistic Gazan, Nahed Deeb, told me that a famine is
looming as no one is giving a helping hand to Palestinians. �We are slowly
dying and no one is taking actions. I lost my work eight years ago and I�m
dependant on irregular aids. This is applicable on tens and hundreds of
thousands in the normal time. Nevertheless, no longer more poor like me are
getting any kind of support.�
The Israeli Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that Gaza
crossings would remain closed until further notice. Gazans are to expect more
mayhem as time advances. Palestinians aspire to a ceasefire that leads to a
complete lifting of the siege imposed more than a year ago. There is no
stability in the Israeli political arena. Every Israeli politician is promising
and threatening Gaza with a brand new way of torture.
Israelis prevented a Libyan boat loaded with 3,000 tons of
food stuff from arriving off the Gaza shore. The Israeli refusal came under the
pretext that the boat carried weapons for Palestinians. Within two days, a
Qatari boat would set to sail from Cyprus to Gaza carrying more humanitarian
aids. Additionally, Turkish, Kuwaiti, Yemani and Jordanian boats planto sail
for Gaza soon.
A. Habeeb, B.A., is a photojournalist & peace activist, humanitarian, and
child relief worker in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. E-mail: Sam_hab@hotmail.com or Sameh.email@example.com. Web:
Daily Photos: picasaweb.google.com/sameh.habeeb.