Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Gaza on the 61st Anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
By Palestine Return Center
ccun.org, June 20, 2009
‘‘The situation in Gaza is often
compared to that of a giant prison. This is hugely mistaken as prisoners
in civilized societies are afforded three meals and do not live under
The daily life in Gaza is worse than a prison as
most Palestinians struggle to have two meals a day and are living hand to
mouth. They are also under constant insecurity with no hope of respite.
There is also severe shortage of every basic essential to rebuild life in
John Ging, Director of the UN Relief and Works Agency
(UNRWA) in Gaza. (from his speech in a Workshop at the European Parliament
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights marked a
watershed moment in human history. It’s most fundamental principal was
stated in its opening article in the following words; All human beings are
born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason
and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of
Sixty One years on the auspicious moment
has not heralded a life of peace and security and Gazans continue to face
life that is nasty, brutish and short. Gazans are unable to expand their
existence beyond the biological into political, social and more
importantly to that of a human being.
Life in Gaza: Nasty Brutish
· A travesty of justice and human rights ensued after
Palestinians democratically voted to end the corruption and impasse in the
peace process by electing for change.
· Up to now the Siege has
meant a total blockade on Movements by air and sea, very limited Import of
Construction Material, Medical Supplies, Import of Basic goods, All Export
· The Siege compounded by the recent war has pushed 80%
of the people of Gaza into poverty and 79% totally dependent on aid.
· The daily life of Gazans is worse than a prison’ said the head of UNRWA
in Gaza, ‘in Prison you are entitled to basic human rights and have access
to food but the civilians of Gaza are barely subsisting and have no
recourse to rights enshrined in international law ’.
War on Gaza
· There were 1.5 million civilians who were
unprotected for nearly a month as Israel bombarded the region. There was
nowhere to go, no shelter no warning systems nowhere to flee as all
borders were closed.
· 1440 Palestinians died including 431
children and 114 Women.
· Of the 5380 that were injured 1614 are
· The damage to the infrastructure was
· Preliminary results of United Nations surveys of the
houses demolished during the military operation found that 52,400 families
had homes that were demolished or damaged. Of these, 3,700 homes were
completely demolished, 2,700 homes incurred major damages, and 46,000
homes were slightly damaged. Hundreds of families are sheltering in tents
or living in damaged homes. Due to ongoing restrictions on the entry of
essential construction materials, reconstruction or major repairs have yet
to take place.
· Citizens Action to Dismantle Nuclear Weapons
Completely' has prepared a 33 page report showing the presence of tens of
tons of depleted uranium in the Gaza Strip. The quantity of depleted
uranium may amount to no less than 75 tons found in the soil and subsoil
in the Gaza Strip," on May 25, 2009,
Post War Aggression
The unilateral ceasefire which ended the war has not diminished the
misery as the siege and Israeli aggression continues.
· On May
2009 Eight Palestinians including seven civilians were injured by Israeli
air strikes in Gaza city. Homes and metal workshops were demolished and
eight other houses sustained partial damages.
· Israeli patrol
boats opened fire on fishing boats and since the ceasefire Israeli
military has reduced the fishing range allowed to Palestinian fisherman
from six miles to three miles.
· There have been six child
fatalities from unexploded ordnance
(UXO) since the ceasefire
implemented in the Gaza Strip on 18 January 2009. The United Nations Mine
Action Service (UNMAS) has identified
273 locations with UXO risks. A
joint operational plan is being implemented by organizations including
UNDP, UNMAS, UNICEF and several NGOs for the education of Gaza civil
society on the risks and avoidance of unexploded ordnance. This week, a
12‐year‐old boy killed in Khan Younis while handling a UXO.
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE
· Meanwhile, although a
delegation of Irish doctors was allowed into Gaza this week, a group of
British medical personnel were refused entry to set up a cardiac surgery
unit at al Shifa hospital in Gaza City, and are now staging a hunger
strike at the border. (Palestine
· 15 of Gaza's 27
hospitals suffered damage, 9 (Ministry of Health) MoH and 6 NGO hospitals,
among them Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, which is Gaza's only
rehabilitation hospital. (There are 12 MoH Hospitals in Gaza, all MoH
hospitals have been partially damaged, except Beit Hanun, Nasser and Gaza
Psychiatric Hospitals, which remained unaffected)
· Out of the
surveyed PHC facilities, 41 PHC clinics were partially damaged and 2
destroyed: 28 MoH clinics, 7 UNRWA, and 8 NGO.
· Industrial fuel
requirements for the operation of Gaza’s Power Plant are not met with only
70% of weekly requirements imported.
· Cooking gas imported into
Gaza through Nahal Oz are only 54% of Gaza’s weekly needs as estimated by
the Gas Station Owners’
Association (GSOA); cooking gas consumption
remains rationed in the Gaza Strip.
· The GSOA also estimates
that diesel and petrol enter through the Rafah‐Egypt border tunnels at a
rate of nearly 100,000 litres of diesel and 70,000 litres of petrol per
day. No petrol or diesel fuel has entered Gaza through the Nahal Oz fuel
pipeline since 2 November 2008, except for limited quantities for UNRWA.
· Eighty per cent (80%) of the water supplied in Gaza does not meet
the WHO standards for drinking. The shortage of chlorine used to disinfect
water following the tightening of the blockade has increased the risk of
an outbreak of waterborne diseases.
· Damage from the Israel’s
“Cast Lead” operation has left 32,000 people without access to piped
water. International NGOs have provided water tanks to these communities
for domestic use
· Health - The capacity of the health system has
been significantly reduced due to the damage of at least 21 clinics. Ten
primary health care clinics are functioning as emergency clinics and
hospitals and intensive care units continue to treat the mass casualties.
· Israel continues to restrict access of goods
to and from the Gaza Strip. Essential items, including clothing, school
textbooks, agricultural products, and construction materials needed to
rebuild thousands of homes damaged during Israel’s “Cast Lead” military
operation in Gaza, remain unavailable in the Gaza Strip.
· 98% of
Private Business closed, more than 100,000 jobs lost, shortage of medical
supplies and other essentials.
· A basic service such as water
and sewage treatment and lack of garbage collection has caused major
public health hazards.
· Big Losses to agriculture and Fishery,
cash shortage, Unemployment is 49%
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: weekly report on occupied
· World Health Organization.
· Ministry of Health – Gaza.
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