The Crisis in Gaza and the Rafah Crossing: How Much Has Changed?

When Egypt opened the Rafah crossing into Gaza, much of the coverage fell into two camps: One raising warnings that the opening would ease transit for armed groups and lead to a rise in terrorism, the other praising it as changing the humanitarian crisis.

gaza children

More than half of Gaza's population are children.

A month later, what evidence we have seen is that the former hasn’t occurred but hopes for the later was overstated.  The humanitarian crisis in Gaza hasn’t changed significantly at all.

This shouldn’t be surprising.  The Rafah opening is the only opening between Gaza and Egypt.  It was never designed to carry commercial and humanitarian traffic, and the ability to bring commercial items, food and other goods through the single crossing is extremely limited.

An Israeli freedom-of-movement group, Gisha, challenges the common perception that the residents of Gaza maintain control over the political and economic system – an opinion heard more loudly after the Rafah opening. Their film (see below), done in the style of the newsreels shown in Israeli movie theaters in the 1950s and ’60s, states that the blockade harms the civilian population and destroys any hope for commercial growth there without any real effect on the security situation for Israel.

The Rafah opening hasn’t changed Amnesty International’s position on the Gaza blockade either – that it punishes a civilian population rather than targeting armed groups or individuals. Israel continues to control Gaza’s airspace, territorial waters, telecommunications, and population registry as well as every other crossing into and out of Gaza.  Because Israel continues to maintain effective control over Gaza, the international community still considers Israel under the legal obligations of an occupying power, including safeguarding the welfare of the occupied inhabitants.

Israel has imposed increasingly severe restrictions on Palestinian movement into and out of Gaza since the early 1990s, including on their movement to other parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  After Hamas took control in Gaza in June 2007, the existing Israeli policy of closure was tightened to a blockade restricting the entry of food, fuel, and other basic goods. Movement of medical cases in and out of the area became restricted and delayed. Gazan families are not allowed to visit relatives in Israeli jails.

In real terms, the blockade affects nearly every aspect of daily life in Gaza:

* The blockade prohibits exports and severely restricts the entry of basic goods, including food, water and fuel. Much of the available food, cooking oil, and goods such as diapers, baby formula and toilet paper is paid for by the UN and other aid agencies, or smuggled in through tunnels running under the Egypt-Gaza border and then sold on at exorbitantly high prices to Gaza’s beleaguered residents.

* According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the number of refugees living in abject poverty in the Gaza Strip has tripled since the blockade began. These families lack the means to purchase even the most basic items, including soap, school materials and clean drinking water. According to the UN, more than 60 per cent of households are currently “food insecure.”

* There are worsening problems with the supply of electricity in the Gaza Strip, with many residents enduring 8-12 hours of power cuts each day.  There are also recurrent shortages of cooking gas, requiring the implementation of a rationing scheme in which hospitals and bakeries are prioritized.

* Gaza’s health sector has been plagued by shortages in equipment and medical supplies during the blockade.

Simply, the Rafah opening isn’t enough to alleviate the misery of the Gaza population of 1.5 million or even kick start its recovery from the blockade and destruction wrought by the Gaza conflict two years ago. Israel must step up and face its  legal obligations. Taking action to end the blockade is a good first step.

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73 thoughts on “The Crisis in Gaza and the Rafah Crossing: How Much Has Changed?

  1. Well I understand the need for "lists." No one wants weapon smuggling.

    BUT

    It would seem easy enough to transport the fuel themselves and deliver it at drop-off points. Make sure someone stamps-signs for it, like businesses do everywhere.

    And since (I assume) most women and children are not on the "lists," they could certainly loosen restrictions there. If they need to, they can have female officers doing pat-downs. Make sure cameras are installed like many govt offices have to insure there is no foul play. This might help with the visitation of prisoners as well.

    Perhaps they can set up shops just on the other side carrying food items, soaps, medicines, clothing… etc…

  2. By most measures of public health, so life expectancy, child and maternal mortality etc. Gaza is equal to or in a better off condition than most of the surrounding Arab and Muslim nations, according to the official United Nations World Health Organization, world bank and UNICEF statistics.

    The Palestinians have a life expectancy of 73.7 years and a child mortality rate of 29.5 deaths per 1,000 children under age five.

    By comparison and for just one example from many, Iran has a life expectancy of 71.7 years, and Iran has a child mortality rate of 30.9 deaths per 1,000 children under age five.

    So how exactly do you rationally define this as "crisis" then? That would mean therefore that hundreds of millions of other people in the Arab and Muslim world, and several billion more people world wide, including virtually all of Africa in a an even worse humanitarian crisis than Gaza, just going by World Health Organization, World Bank and UNICEF statistics, yet we never hear Amnesty make so much as the timid squeak of a mouse about all those billions of other people on earth who suffer far worse poverty, misery, disease and daily violence than the people of Gaza.

    And please spare me the standard Palestinian propaganda rebuttal which is to site the names of other biased phony so called so called charities that earn millions in fundraising used to pay their high salaried "charity" employees off the backs of the Palestinians that also say it is a crisis.

    I am asking how you justify the use of this term "crisis" when it is an unquestionable objective fact that billions of people world wide are living in worse conditions than Gaza and how you justify ignoring all these billions of people.

  3. source : UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 6 June 2011
    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=9289

    Arik Abu Kheir, a construction worker in his mid-thirties, moved two years ago from the Egyptian Nile Delta governorate of Beheira to the Egyptian side of Rafah, a town straddling the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, because there was money to be made digging illegal tunnels.

    “I had nothing to do back in my village… Some of my friends preceded me here and kept talking about the huge money they earned digging tunnels. This was why I came,” he said.

    Abu Kheir earned the equivalent of US$50 an hour and sent the money to his parents back in Beheira so they could build him a home. The pay was high, he added, because the job was very risky.

    Today, the home is not finished, and Abu Kheir feels his job might be in jeopardy following the opening of the border on 28 May, allowing all Palestinian women, minors and men aged over 40 to pass freely from Gaza into Egypt through Rafah for the first time in four years. So far the easing does not include the lifting of the ban on trade.

    While Palestinians have welcomed the reopening, Egyptians benefiting from “the tunnel economy” say they fear their businesses could fold and jobs could be lost if Rafah finally fully opens, allowing legitimate trade.

    “The opening of the border crossing is a great thing for the Palestinians, yet it is the worst thing that can happen to the hundreds of people involved in the tunnel business,” said Yehia Abu Nuseirah, a tribal leader from the Sinai Peninsula. “Apart from the tight supervision the government imposes on everything here, the opening of the crossing will sooner or later kill off the tunnels.”

    The entry of goods to Gaza is still restricted to Israeli-controlled crossings and subject to their ban on construction materials and most exports. They fear the opening of Rafah to trade would enable the unfettered ferrying of weapons into Gaza, under the control of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas.

    Ghazi Hamad, director of crossings in Gaza, told IRIN that Hamas is currently negotiating with the new Egyptian authorities to extend the policy of free travel to men aged 18-40.

    “We hope that Rafah will be operating normally without restrictions for commercial exchange so that Israel cannot blackmail us with their control over our borders.

    “We are in contact with Egypt now to try to solve that problem.”

    The tunnel trade provides lucrative work not only for residents of Rafah but for many other Egyptians who sought work here.

    Blockade created jobs

    “The Gaza blockade allowed the tunnel trade to thrive, bringing an endless flow of capital to the town,” said Tawfiq Nassrallah, coordinator of the Justice and Equality Movement, an association of communities from the Sinai Peninsula which campaigns for jobs and improved living conditions. “True, the people of Gaza have suffered a lot from this blockade, but the same blockade brought huge money and created jobs here,” he told IRIN in Rafah.

    The exact number of tunnels between the Egyptian town of Rafah and Gaza is not known, but they form an extensive underground network through which everything – from people and weapons, crushed stones and cement, to livestock and cars – was smuggled in or out of Gaza.

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, referring to the tunnels, used to mock the Israelis, saying: “Close them at your end if you know where they are” – although many of the entrances are plain to spot on the Gaza side, clustered under tarpaulins around 300 metres from the border fence.

    Hamas’s cut

    On Palestinian territory, the tunnels operate under the supervision of Hamas, who take a fee from tunnel owners according to the goods that pass through.

    Prior to Israel’s “easing” of the blockade in 2010, an estimated 80 percent of goods in Gaza’s stores were smuggled through the border with Egypt. Now most consumer goods in the markets and corner shops come from Israel. The tunnel trade has become restricted for the most part to construction materials, cars, petrol and weapons.

    For every car that comes from Egypt, tunnel workers say that the buyers will pay an additional $1,000 to Hamas and $6,000 to the tunnel owner. It is still a lucrative business.

    “I make good money bringing through gravel because everyone wants to build in Gaza,” said Mohamed, 24, who works in a tunnel bringing gravel through from Egypt. Gravel, cement and steel are banned by the Israelis on the grounds that they can have military application.

    “I bring 100 tons of gravel every day through the tunnels. The bigger tunnels bring through iron, stone and cement.” Mohamed sells every ton of cement for 40 shekels (NIS – US$12) and takes home 120 NIS ($35) himself each day, he told IRIN. “The tunnel goes down 29 metres. There are nine people down there now. They stay down there from 7am until 7pm. These days, it is mostly just stones and iron that come through the tunnels from Egypt.”

    Risky work

    On the Rafah side, Abu Kheir, who used to start his tunnel digging at daybreak and continue till sunset, said the work was risky. A few months ago a tunnel he was working on collapsed burying three of his workmates. “We retrieved their bodies later, but there was no sign of life in them,” he told IRIN. “I am very grateful that I am still alive.”

    He also expressed concern that he may not now be able to make enough money to marry a wife, before perking up: “I assure you there will always be a need for the tunnels as long as both Israel and Hamas are there.”

  4. GAZA CITY (Ma'an News Agency) — Published Tuesday 14/06/2011

    A calculated 1,123 truckloads of humanitarian goods from Israel entered Gaza last week, according to the latest report by the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs. The average before the siege began in 2007 was 2,807 truckloads per week.

  5. source : UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 6 June 2011
    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=9289

    Arik Abu Kheir, a construction worker in his mid-thirties, moved two years ago from the Egyptian Nile Delta governorate of Beheira to the Egyptian side of Rafah, a town straddling the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, because there was money to be made digging illegal tunnels.

    “I had nothing to do back in my village… Some of my friends preceded me here and kept talking about the huge money they earned digging tunnels. This was why I came,” he said.

    Abu Kheir earned the equivalent of US$50 an hour and sent the money to his parents back in Beheira so they could build him a home. The pay was high, he added, because the job was very risky.

    Today, the home is not finished, and Abu Kheir feels his job might be in jeopardy following the opening of the border on 28 May, allowing all Palestinian women, minors and men aged over 40 to pass freely from Gaza into Egypt through Rafah for the first time in four years. So far the easing does not include the lifting of the ban on trade.

    While Palestinians have welcomed the reopening, Egyptians benefiting from “the tunnel economy” say they fear their businesses could fold and jobs could be lost if Rafah finally fully opens, allowing legitimate trade.

    “The opening of the border crossing is a great thing for the Palestinians, yet it is the worst thing that can happen to the hundreds of people involved in the tunnel business,” said Yehia Abu Nuseirah, a tribal leader from the Sinai Peninsula. “Apart from the tight supervision the government imposes on everything here, the opening of the crossing will sooner or later kill off the tunnels.”

    The entry of goods to Gaza is still restricted to Israeli-controlled crossings and subject to their ban on construction materials and most exports. They fear the opening of Rafah to trade would enable the unfettered ferrying of weapons into Gaza, under the control of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas.

    Ghazi Hamad, director of crossings in Gaza, told IRIN that Hamas is currently negotiating with the new Egyptian authorities to extend the policy of free travel to men aged 18-40.

    “We hope that Rafah will be operating normally without restrictions for commercial exchange so that Israel cannot blackmail us with their control over our borders.

    “We are in contact with Egypt now to try to solve that problem.”

    The tunnel trade provides lucrative work not only for residents of Rafah but for many other Egyptians who sought work here.

    Blockade created jobs

    “The Gaza blockade allowed the tunnel trade to thrive, bringing an endless flow of capital to the town,” said Tawfiq Nassrallah, coordinator of the Justice and Equality Movement, an association of communities from the Sinai Peninsula which campaigns for jobs and improved living conditions. “True, the people of Gaza have suffered a lot from this blockade, but the same blockade brought huge money and created jobs here,” he told IRIN in Rafah.

    The exact number of tunnels between the Egyptian town of Rafah and Gaza is not known, but they form an extensive underground network through which everything – from people and weapons, crushed stones and cement, to livestock and cars – was smuggled in or out of Gaza.

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, referring to the tunnels, used to mock the Israelis, saying: “Close them at your end if you know where they are” – although many of the entrances are plain to spot on the Gaza side, clustered under tarpaulins around 300 metres from the border fence.

    Hamas’s cut

    On Palestinian territory, the tunnels operate under the supervision of Hamas, who take a fee from tunnel owners according to the goods that pass through.

    Prior to Israel’s “easing” of the blockade in 2010, an estimated 80 percent of goods in Gaza’s stores were smuggled through the border with Egypt. Now most consumer goods in the markets and corner shops come from Israel. The tunnel trade has become restricted for the most part to construction materials, cars, petrol and weapons.

    For every car that comes from Egypt, tunnel workers say that the buyers will pay an additional $1,000 to Hamas and $6,000 to the tunnel owner. It is still a lucrative business.

    “I make good money bringing through gravel because everyone wants to build in Gaza,” said Mohamed, 24, who works in a tunnel bringing gravel through from Egypt. Gravel, cement and steel are banned by the Israelis on the grounds that they can have military application.

    “I bring 100 tons of gravel every day through the tunnels. The bigger tunnels bring through iron, stone and cement.” Mohamed sells every ton of cement for 40 shekels (NIS – US$12) and takes home 120 NIS ($35) himself each day, he told IRIN. “The tunnel goes down 29 metres. There are nine people down there now. They stay down there from 7am until 7pm. These days, it is mostly just stones and iron that come through the tunnels from Egypt.”

    Risky work

    On the Rafah side, Abu Kheir, who used to start his tunnel digging at daybreak and continue till sunset, said the work was risky. A few months ago a tunnel he was working on collapsed burying three of his workmates. “We retrieved their bodies later, but there was no sign of life in them,” he told IRIN. “I am very grateful that I am still alive.”

    He also expressed concern that he may not now be able to make enough money to marry a wife, before perking up: “I assure you there will always be a need for the tunnels as long as both Israel and Hamas are there.”

  6. source : UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 6 June 2011
    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=9289

    Arik Abu Kheir, a construction worker in his mid-thirties, moved two years ago from the Egyptian Nile Delta governorate of Beheira to the Egyptian side of Rafah, a town straddling the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, because there was money to be made digging illegal tunnels.

    “I had nothing to do back in my village… Some of my friends preceded me here and kept talking about the huge money they earned digging tunnels. This was why I came,” he said.

    Abu Kheir earned the equivalent of US$50 an hour and sent the money to his parents back in Beheira so they could build him a home. The pay was high, he added, because the job was very risky.

    Today, the home is not finished, and Abu Kheir feels his job might be in jeopardy following the opening of the border on 28 May, allowing all Palestinian women, minors and men aged over 40 to pass freely from Gaza into Egypt through Rafah for the first time in four years. So far the easing does not include the lifting of the ban on trade.

    While Palestinians have welcomed the reopening, Egyptians benefiting from “the tunnel economy” say they fear their businesses could fold and jobs could be lost if Rafah finally fully opens, allowing legitimate trade.

    “The opening of the border crossing is a great thing for the Palestinians, yet it is the worst thing that can happen to the hundreds of people involved in the tunnel business,” said Yehia Abu Nuseirah, a tribal leader from the Sinai Peninsula. “Apart from the tight supervision the government imposes on everything here, the opening of the crossing will sooner or later kill off the tunnels.”

    The entry of goods to Gaza is still restricted to Israeli-controlled crossings and subject to their ban on construction materials and most exports. They fear the opening of Rafah to trade would enable the unfettered ferrying of weapons into Gaza, under the control of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas.

    Ghazi Hamad, director of crossings in Gaza, told IRIN that Hamas is currently negotiating with the new Egyptian authorities to extend the policy of free travel to men aged 18-40.

    “We hope that Rafah will be operating normally without restrictions for commercial exchange so that Israel cannot blackmail us with their control over our borders.

    “We are in contact with Egypt now to try to solve that problem.”

    The tunnel trade provides lucrative work not only for residents of Rafah but for many other Egyptians who sought work here.

    Blockade created jobs

    “The Gaza blockade allowed the tunnel trade to thrive, bringing an endless flow of capital to the town,” said Tawfiq Nassrallah, coordinator of the Justice and Equality Movement, an association of communities from the Sinai Peninsula which campaigns for jobs and improved living conditions. “True, the people of Gaza have suffered a lot from this blockade, but the same blockade brought huge money and created jobs here,” he told IRIN in Rafah.

    The exact number of tunnels between the Egyptian town of Rafah and Gaza is not known, but they form an extensive underground network through which everything – from people and weapons, crushed stones and cement, to livestock and cars – was smuggled in or out of Gaza.

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, referring to the tunnels, used to mock the Israelis, saying: “Close them at your end if you know where they are” – although many of the entrances are plain to spot on the Gaza side, clustered under tarpaulins around 300 metres from the border fence.

    Hamas’s cut

    On Palestinian territory, the tunnels operate under the supervision of Hamas, who take a fee from tunnel owners according to the goods that pass through.

    Prior to Israel’s “easing” of the blockade in 2010, an estimated 80 percent of goods in Gaza’s stores were smuggled through the border with Egypt. Now most consumer goods in the markets and corner shops come from Israel. The tunnel trade has become restricted for the most part to construction materials, cars, petrol and weapons.

    For every car that comes from Egypt, tunnel workers say that the buyers will pay an additional $1,000 to Hamas and $6,000 to the tunnel owner. It is still a lucrative business.

    “I make good money bringing through gravel because everyone wants to build in Gaza,” said Mohamed, 24, who works in a tunnel bringing gravel through from Egypt. Gravel, cement and steel are banned by the Israelis on the grounds that they can have military application.

    “I bring 100 tons of gravel every day through the tunnels. The bigger tunnels bring through iron, stone and cement.” Mohamed sells every ton of cement for 40 shekels (NIS – US$12) and takes home 120 NIS ($35) himself each day, he told IRIN. “The tunnel goes down 29 metres. There are nine people down there now. They stay down there from 7am until 7pm. These days, it is mostly just stones and iron that come through the tunnels from Egypt.”

    Risky work

    On the Rafah side, Abu Kheir, who used to start his tunnel digging at daybreak and continue till sunset, said the work was risky. A few months ago a tunnel he was working on collapsed burying three of his workmates. “We retrieved their bodies later, but there was no sign of life in them,” he told IRIN. “I am very grateful that I am still alive.”

    He also expressed concern that he may not now be able to make enough money to marry a wife, before perking up: “I assure you there will always be a need for the tunnels as long as both Israel and Hamas are there.”

  7. Israel okays materials to build Gaza homes, schools

    By Steve Weizman (Agency France Press ) – 21 June 2011

    JERUSALEM — Israel has approved the delivery to the Gaza Strip of materials to build 1,200 homes and 18 schools in UN-run projects, a defence official told AFP on Tuesday.

    Major Guy Inbar, spokesman for the defense ministry department responsible for liaison with the Palestinian territories, said the materials would be consigned to the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency, which cares for Palestinian refugees and is managing construction.

    "What we approved for UNRWA was more big projects, the construction of 18 schools," Inbar told AFP. "Also two big projects were approved for the building of about 1,200 housing units."

    The decision was greeted by UNRWA.

    "We welcome this reported approval, which follows lengthy negotiations with the Israeli authorities," spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement. "We hope this will help meet the needs of refugees, particularly those in the south of the Gaza Strip.

    For 18 months afterwards, Israel banned the import of cement and other construction materials, saying that they were likely to be used by the militant Islamist Hamas group to fix bunkers, tunnels and other fortifications.

    It relented last summer. Israel now allows in everything except arms or materials which could be used to make weapons or explosives or otherwise help the militants, who regularly fire locally manufactured rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli towns and farms.

  8. Well I understand the need for “lists.” No one wants weapon smuggling.

    BUT

    It would seem easy enough to transport the fuel themselves and deliver it at drop-off points. Make sure someone stamps-signs for it, like businesses do everywhere.

    And since (I assume) most women and children are not on the “lists,” they could certainly loosen restrictions there. If they need to, they can have female officers doing pat-downs. Make sure cameras are installed like many govt offices have to insure there is no foul play. This might help with the visitation of prisoners as well.

    Perhaps they can set up shops just on the other side carrying food items, soaps, medicines, clothing… etc…

  9. By most measures of public health, so life expectancy, child and maternal mortality etc. Gaza is equal to or in a better off condition than most of the surrounding Arab and Muslim nations, according to the official United Nations World Health Organization, world bank and UNICEF statistics.

    The Palestinians have a life expectancy of 73.7 years and a child mortality rate of 29.5 deaths per 1,000 children under age five.

    By comparison and for just one example from many, Iran has a life expectancy of 71.7 years, and Iran has a child mortality rate of 30.9 deaths per 1,000 children under age five.

    So how exactly do you rationally define this as “crisis” then? That would mean therefore that hundreds of millions of other people in the Arab and Muslim world, and several billion more people world wide, including virtually all of Africa in a an even worse humanitarian crisis than Gaza, just going by World Health Organization, World Bank and UNICEF statistics, yet we never hear Amnesty make so much as the timid squeak of a mouse about all those billions of other people on earth who suffer far worse poverty, misery, disease and daily violence than the people of Gaza.

    And please spare me the standard Palestinian propaganda rebuttal which is to site the names of other biased phony so called so called charities that earn millions in fundraising used to pay their high salaried “charity” employees off the backs of the Palestinians that also say it is a crisis.

    I am asking how you justify the use of this term “crisis” when it is an unquestionable objective fact that billions of people world wide are living in worse conditions than Gaza and how you justify ignoring all these billions of people.

  10. GAZA CITY (Ma’an News Agency) — Published Tuesday 14/06/2011

    A calculated 1,123 truckloads of humanitarian goods from Israel entered Gaza last week, according to the latest report by the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs. The average before the siege began in 2007 was 2,807 truckloads per week.

  11. source : UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 6 June 2011

    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=92896

    Arik Abu Kheir, a construction worker in his mid-thirties, moved two years ago from the Egyptian Nile Delta governorate of Beheira to the Egyptian side of Rafah, a town straddling the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, because there was money to be made digging illegal tunnels.

    “I had nothing to do back in my village… Some of my friends preceded me here and kept talking about the huge money they earned digging tunnels. This was why I came,” he said.

    Abu Kheir earned the equivalent of US$50 an hour and sent the money to his parents back in Beheira so they could build him a home. The pay was high, he added, because the job was very risky.

    Today, the home is not finished, and Abu Kheir feels his job might be in jeopardy following the opening of the border on 28 May, allowing all Palestinian women, minors and men aged over 40 to pass freely from Gaza into Egypt through Rafah for the first time in four years. So far the easing does not include the lifting of the ban on trade.

    While Palestinians have welcomed the reopening, Egyptians benefiting from “the tunnel economy” say they fear their businesses could fold and jobs could be lost if Rafah finally fully opens, allowing legitimate trade.

    “The opening of the border crossing is a great thing for the Palestinians, yet it is the worst thing that can happen to the hundreds of people involved in the tunnel business,” said Yehia Abu Nuseirah, a tribal leader from the Sinai Peninsula. “Apart from the tight supervision the government imposes on everything here, the opening of the crossing will sooner or later kill off the tunnels.”

    The entry of goods to Gaza is still restricted to Israeli-controlled crossings and subject to their ban on construction materials and most exports. They fear the opening of Rafah to trade would enable the unfettered ferrying of weapons into Gaza, under the control of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas.

    Ghazi Hamad, director of crossings in Gaza, told IRIN that Hamas is currently negotiating with the new Egyptian authorities to extend the policy of free travel to men aged 18-40.

    “We hope that Rafah will be operating normally without restrictions for commercial exchange so that Israel cannot blackmail us with their control over our borders.

    “We are in contact with Egypt now to try to solve that problem.”

    The tunnel trade provides lucrative work not only for residents of Rafah but for many other Egyptians who sought work here.

    Blockade created jobs

    “The Gaza blockade allowed the tunnel trade to thrive, bringing an endless flow of capital to the town,” said Tawfiq Nassrallah, coordinator of the Justice and Equality Movement, an association of communities from the Sinai Peninsula which campaigns for jobs and improved living conditions. “True, the people of Gaza have suffered a lot from this blockade, but the same blockade brought huge money and created jobs here,” he told IRIN in Rafah.

    The exact number of tunnels between the Egyptian town of Rafah and Gaza is not known, but they form an extensive underground network through which everything – from people and weapons, crushed stones and cement, to livestock and cars – was smuggled in or out of Gaza.

    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, referring to the tunnels, used to mock the Israelis, saying: “Close them at your end if you know where they are” – although many of the entrances are plain to spot on the Gaza side, clustered under tarpaulins around 300 metres from the border fence.

    Hamas’s cut

    On Palestinian territory, the tunnels operate under the supervision of Hamas, who take a fee from tunnel owners according to the goods that pass through.

    Prior to Israel’s “easing” of the blockade in 2010, an estimated 80 percent of goods in Gaza’s stores were smuggled through the border with Egypt. Now most consumer goods in the markets and corner shops come from Israel. The tunnel trade has become restricted for the most part to construction materials, cars, petrol and weapons.

    For every car that comes from Egypt, tunnel workers say that the buyers will pay an additional $1,000 to Hamas and $6,000 to the tunnel owner. It is still a lucrative business.

    “I make good money bringing through gravel because everyone wants to build in Gaza,” said Mohamed, 24, who works in a tunnel bringing gravel through from Egypt. Gravel, cement and steel are banned by the Israelis on the grounds that they can have military application.

    “I bring 100 tons of gravel every day through the tunnels. The bigger tunnels bring through iron, stone and cement.” Mohamed sells every ton of cement for 40 shekels (NIS – US$12) and takes home 120 NIS ($35) himself each day, he told IRIN. “The tunnel goes down 29 metres. There are nine people down there now. They stay down there from 7am until 7pm. These days, it is mostly just stones and iron that come through the tunnels from Egypt.”

    Risky work

    On the Rafah side, Abu Kheir, who used to start his tunnel digging at daybreak and continue till sunset, said the work was risky. A few months ago a tunnel he was working on collapsed burying three of his workmates. “We retrieved their bodies later, but there was no sign of life in them,” he told IRIN. “I am very grateful that I am still alive.”

    He also expressed concern that he may not now be able to make enough money to marry a wife, before perking up: “I assure you there will always be a need for the tunnels as long as both Israel and Hamas are there.”

  12. Israel okays materials to build Gaza homes, schools

    By Steve Weizman (Agency France Press ) – 21 June 2011

    JERUSALEM — Israel has approved the delivery to the Gaza Strip of materials to build 1,200 homes and 18 schools in UN-run projects, a defence official told AFP on Tuesday.

    Major Guy Inbar, spokesman for the defense ministry department responsible for liaison with the Palestinian territories, said the materials would be consigned to the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency, which cares for Palestinian refugees and is managing construction.

    “What we approved for UNRWA was more big projects, the construction of 18 schools,” Inbar told AFP. “Also two big projects were approved for the building of about 1,200 housing units.”

    The decision was greeted by UNRWA.

    “We welcome this reported approval, which follows lengthy negotiations with the Israeli authorities,” spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement. “We hope this will help meet the needs of refugees, particularly those in the south of the Gaza Strip.

    For 18 months afterwards, Israel banned the import of cement and other construction materials, saying that they were likely to be used by the militant Islamist Hamas group to fix bunkers, tunnels and other fortifications.

    It relented last summer. Israel now allows in everything except arms or materials which could be used to make weapons or explosives or otherwise help the militants, who regularly fire locally manufactured rockets and mortar rounds at Israeli towns and farms.

  13. To Geoff Mock

    I really do not like calling you, Mr. Mock, a liar over and over again, but your exaggerations and ( deliberate ? ) misinformation you spread regarding Israel is becoming a definite pattern.

    Do you not recall your blog post on this site last year when I caught you you falsely claiming Israel was allowing only a 1200 trucks a "month" through the border into Gaza, and I posted in response many direct links to United Nations and Palestinian sources showing that the number you quoted was actually the "weekly" amount not the "monthly" amount ? Remember now?

    I notice till now you have never edited or retracted that bald faced lie you made last year. I suppose you think mixing up the word "month" and "week" was such a minor issue, and so what if it meant you were in effect flasely lying and claiming the Palestinians of Gaza received only 1/4 of the humanitarian aid that the UN and the Palestinians themselves said they were really receiving. I see from this your attitude is that accuracy and honesty and Amnesty's reputation of fairness mean less than nothing if a vicious malicious slander against Israel can be made.

    Now you continue to spread above in your post today more and more lies. For one thing there is no food being restricted by Israel for entry into Gaza let alone your insane hyper warp drive exaggerated use of the adjective "severely ". You are a liar, a liar, a liar. Try again. It should read "there are no restrictions on food ". None. No other news source on the entire internet except maybe from Iran State Television claims this to be so. Are you proud Mr. Mock, that your wild unprovable claims with no evidence anywhere that you made up out of your own imagination are only backed up only by the dictators in Iran ? You are a liar, Mr. Mock.

    The opposite is true. Gaza is demanding the right to EXPORT food to help their economy. Even you Mr. Mock have condemned Israel for preventing Palestinian food EXPORTS. Can you tell me how it is that you on the one hand falsely condemn Israel for supposedly "severely" (LOL) restricting food IMPORTS, and at the same time you also demand the right of the Gazans to resume food EXPORTS? Does anything not compute in that little equation Mr. Mock ?

    And the shortages of electricity, blaming Israel for this.
    Do you even begin to know what a huge lie this is Mr. Mock?

    The electricity shortages are the result of the Hamas government which runs Gaza refusing to pay the Palestinian Electricity Company run by the rival Palestinian Authority in Ramalla for fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant.

    The Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) has cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant until the payments owed are made to it ( NOT ISRAEL) , causing the daily blackouts. The electric shortages are an internal Palestinian dispute over money and Israel has nothing to do with this, as you darn well know, you liar.

    I might add the level of electric service in Gaza would be a dream come true for approximately 600 million Africans who make do with less electricity compared to Gaza. Funny how the almost non-existent rate of rural electrification in Africa effecting 600 million people, predicted to grow to 1 billion Africans without electricity by 2030 bothers you not a bit Mr. Mock, but a partial blackout of Gaza a few hours a day due entirely to a refusal by Hamas to pay a bill to the Palestinian Authority outrageous you so much. Racism against Africans much, Mr. Mock?

    The same exact story, the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla cutting off medicine supplies imports into Gaza because of some dispute or another they have with Hamas, is also behind any medicine shortages in Gaza but you at Amnesty must have finally wised up to this and so you finally this time stopped making crazy slanderous accusations about Israel preventing medicine getting into Gaza.

    Here from the Palestinian News Agency today where Hamas Gaza Prime Minister Haneyia admits Hamas owes hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid power bills to the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) and will start paying the bill finally so the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) will start shipping the the Gaza Power Plant fuel again.
    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=3
    "Published Monday 20/06/2011

    GAZA CITY (Ma'an) — Gaza Hamas government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh promised Monday to pay a 140 million shekel ($40.6 million) debt owed by the municipality of Gaza City to the Palestinian Electricity Company for lighting the city streets.

    The city's debt to the electric company is part of an estimated billion-dollar debt owed by Gaza residents, companies and municipal bodies.

    In January 2010, when the Palestinian Authority took control of fuel deliveries for the Gaza Power Plant from the European Union, attempts were made to secure the payment of electric bills to help cover the costs of the industrial fuel.

    Since 2011, however, the plant has been receiving fuel from the smuggling tunnel network via Egypt and purifying the diesel for use in the plant. The company is still owed millions, however."

  14. sorry Mr. Mock, it was not you but in fact your colleague Christoph Koettl who falsely claimed on this site last year the "weekly" humanitarian amount delivered by Israel to Gaza was the "monthly" amount and has never retracted this false claim even though I provided him with UN and Palestinian sourced evidence in the comment section proving beyond doubt that his claim was a lie. Here in this post last year Christoph Koettl lied and underestimated humanitarian supplies from Israel to Gaza by 400% :
    http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/top-ten-re

    As far as your lie about Israel being responsible in any way shape or form for the medical shortages in Gaza, again this is a LIE, Mr. Mock, according to no less an authority than The International Committee of the Red Cross no less. It is the Palestinians rivalry between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that have caused this medical shortage problem, according to the ICRC.

    Will you please retract your false charges and lies Mr. Mock ?

    source:
    Reuters, Mon Jun 14, 2010

    “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday stocks of essential medical supplies were at an all-time low because of a halt in cooperation between authorities in Ramallah, the Fatah-ruled West Bank, and Gaza.

    “The state of the health care system in Gaza has never been worse,” said ICRC health coordinator Eileen Daly. “Health is being politicized: that is the main reason the system is failing.”

  15. To Geoff Mock

    I really do not like calling you, Mr. Mock, a liar over and over again, but your exaggerations and ( deliberate ? ) misinformation you spread regarding Israel is becoming a definite pattern.

    Do you not recall your blog post on this site last year when I caught you you falsely claiming Israel was allowing only a 1200 trucks a "month" through the border into Gaza, and I posted in response many direct links to United Nations and Palestinian sources showing that the number you quoted was actually the "weekly" amount not the "monthly" amount ? Remember now?

    I notice till now you have never edited or retracted that bald faced lie you made last year. I suppose you think mixing up the word "month" and "week" was such a minor issue, and so what if it meant you were in effect flasely lying and claiming the Palestinians of Gaza received only 1/4 of the humanitarian aid that the UN and the Palestinians themselves said they were really receiving. I see from this your attitude is that accuracy and honesty and Amnesty's reputation of fairness mean less than nothing if a vicious malicious slander against Israel can be made.

    Now you continue to spread above in your post today more and more lies. For one thing there is no food being restricted by Israel for entry into Gaza let alone your insane hyper warp drive exaggerated use of the adjective "severely ". You are a liar, a liar, a liar. Try again. It should read "there are no restrictions on food ". None. No other news source on the entire internet except maybe from Iran State Television claims this to be so. Are you proud Mr. Mock, that your wild unprovable claims with no evidence anywhere that you made up out of your own imagination are only backed up only by the dictators in Iran ? You are a liar, Mr. Mock.

    The opposite is true. Gaza is demanding the right to EXPORT food to help their economy. Even you Mr. Mock have condemned Israel for preventing Palestinian food EXPORTS. Can you tell me how it is that you on the one hand falsely condemn Israel for supposedly "severely" (LOL) restricting food IMPORTS, and at the same time you also demand the right of the Gazans to resume food EXPORTS? Does anything not compute in that little equation Mr. Mock ?

    And the shortages of electricity, blaming Israel for this.
    Do you even begin to know what a huge lie this is Mr. Mock?

    The electricity shortages are the result of the Hamas government which runs Gaza refusing to pay the Palestinian Electricity Company run by the rival Palestinian Authority in Ramalla for fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant.

    The Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) has cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant until the payments owed are made to it ( NOT ISRAEL) , causing the daily blackouts. The electric shortages are an internal Palestinian dispute over money and Israel has nothing to do with this, as you darn well know, you liar.

    I might add the level of electric service in Gaza would be a dream come true for approximately 600 million Africans who make do with less electricity compared to Gaza. Funny how the almost non-existent rate of rural electrification in Africa effecting 600 million people, predicted to grow to 1 billion Africans without electricity by 2030 bothers you not a bit Mr. Mock, but a partial blackout of Gaza a few hours a day due entirely to a refusal by Hamas to pay a bill to the Palestinian Authority outrageous you so much. Racism against Africans much, Mr. Mock?

    The same exact story, the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla cutting off medicine supplies imports into Gaza because of some dispute or another they have with Hamas, is also behind any medicine shortages in Gaza but you at Amnesty must have finally wised up to this and so you finally this time stopped making crazy slanderous accusations about Israel preventing medicine getting into Gaza.

    Here from the Palestinian News Agency today where Hamas Gaza Prime Minister Haneyia admits Hamas owes hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid power bills to the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) and will start paying the bill finally so the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) will start shipping the the Gaza Power Plant fuel again.
    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=3
    "Published Monday 20/06/2011

    GAZA CITY (Ma'an) — Gaza Hamas government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh promised Monday to pay a 140 million shekel ($40.6 million) debt owed by the municipality of Gaza City to the Palestinian Electricity Company for lighting the city streets.

    The city's debt to the electric company is part of an estimated billion-dollar debt owed by Gaza residents, companies and municipal bodies.

    In January 2010, when the Palestinian Authority took control of fuel deliveries for the Gaza Power Plant from the European Union, attempts were made to secure the payment of electric bills to help cover the costs of the industrial fuel.

    Since 2011, however, the plant has been receiving fuel from the smuggling tunnel network via Egypt and purifying the diesel for use in the plant. The company is still owed millions, however."

  16. To Geoff Mock

    I really do not like calling you, Mr. Mock, a liar over and over again, but your exaggerations and ( deliberate ? ) misinformation you spread regarding Israel is becoming a definite pattern.

    Do you not recall your blog post on this site last year when I caught you you falsely claiming Israel was allowing only a 1200 trucks a "month" through the border into Gaza, and I posted in response many direct links to United Nations and Palestinian sources showing that the number you quoted was actually the "weekly" amount not the "monthly" amount ? Remember now?

    I notice till now you have never edited or retracted that bald faced lie you made last year. I suppose you think mixing up the word "month" and "week" was such a minor issue, and so what if it meant you were in effect flasely lying and claiming the Palestinians of Gaza received only 1/4 of the humanitarian aid that the UN and the Palestinians themselves said they were really receiving. I see from this your attitude is that accuracy and honesty and Amnesty's reputation of fairness mean less than nothing if a vicious malicious slander against Israel can be made.

    Now you continue to spread above in your post today more and more lies. For one thing there is no food being restricted by Israel for entry into Gaza let alone your insane hyper warp drive exaggerated use of the adjective "severely ". You are a liar, a liar, a liar. Try again. It should read "there are no restrictions on food ". None. No other news source on the entire internet except maybe from Iran State Television claims this to be so. Are you proud Mr. Mock, that your wild unprovable claims with no evidence anywhere that you made up out of your own imagination are only backed up only by the dictators in Iran ? You are a liar, Mr. Mock.

    The opposite is true. Gaza is demanding the right to EXPORT food to help their economy. Even you Mr. Mock have condemned Israel for preventing Palestinian food EXPORTS. Can you tell me how it is that you on the one hand falsely condemn Israel for supposedly "severely" (LOL) restricting food IMPORTS, and at the same time you also demand the right of the Gazans to resume food EXPORTS? Does anything not compute in that little equation Mr. Mock ?

    And the shortages of electricity, blaming Israel for this.
    Do you even begin to know what a huge lie this is Mr. Mock?

    The electricity shortages are the result of the Hamas government which runs Gaza refusing to pay the Palestinian Electricity Company run by the rival Palestinian Authority in Ramalla for fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant.

    The Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) has cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant until the payments owed are made to it ( NOT ISRAEL) , causing the daily blackouts. The electric shortages are an internal Palestinian dispute over money and Israel has nothing to do with this, as you darn well know, you liar.

    I might add the level of electric service in Gaza would be a dream come true for approximately 600 million Africans who make do with less electricity compared to Gaza. Funny how the almost non-existent rate of rural electrification in Africa effecting 600 million people, predicted to grow to 1 billion Africans without electricity by 2030 bothers you not a bit Mr. Mock, but a partial blackout of Gaza a few hours a day due entirely to a refusal by Hamas to pay a bill to the Palestinian Authority outrageous you so much. Racism against Africans much, Mr. Mock?

    The same exact story, the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla cutting off medicine supplies imports into Gaza because of some dispute or another they have with Hamas, is also behind any medicine shortages in Gaza but you at Amnesty must have finally wised up to this and so you finally this time stopped making crazy slanderous accusations about Israel preventing medicine getting into Gaza.

    Here from the Palestinian News Agency today where Hamas Gaza Prime Minister Haneyia admits Hamas owes hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid power bills to the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) and will start paying the bill finally so the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) will start shipping the the Gaza Power Plant fuel again.
    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=3
    "Published Monday 20/06/2011

    GAZA CITY (Ma'an) — Gaza Hamas government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh promised Monday to pay a 140 million shekel ($40.6 million) debt owed by the municipality of Gaza City to the Palestinian Electricity Company for lighting the city streets.

    The city's debt to the electric company is part of an estimated billion-dollar debt owed by Gaza residents, companies and municipal bodies.

    In January 2010, when the Palestinian Authority took control of fuel deliveries for the Gaza Power Plant from the European Union, attempts were made to secure the payment of electric bills to help cover the costs of the industrial fuel.

    Since 2011, however, the plant has been receiving fuel from the smuggling tunnel network via Egypt and purifying the diesel for use in the plant. The company is still owed millions, however."

  17. sorry Mr. Mock, it was not you but in fact your colleague Christoph Koettl who falsely claimed on this site last year the "weekly" humanitarian amount delivered by Israel to Gaza was the "monthly" amount and has never retracted this false claim even though I provided him with UN and Palestinian sourced evidence in the comment section proving beyond doubt that his claim was a lie. Here in this post last year Christoph Koettl lied and underestimated humanitarian supplies from Israel to Gaza by 400% :
    http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/top-ten-re

    As far as your lie about Israel being responsible in any way shape or form for the medical shortages in Gaza, again this is a LIE, Mr. Mock, according to no less an authority than The International Committee of the Red Cross no less. It is the Palestinians rivalry between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that have caused this medical shortage problem, according to the ICRC.

    Will you please retract your false charges and lies Mr. Mock ?

    source:
    Reuters, Mon Jun 14, 2010

    “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday stocks of essential medical supplies were at an all-time low because of a halt in cooperation between authorities in Ramallah, the Fatah-ruled West Bank, and Gaza.

    “The state of the health care system in Gaza has never been worse,” said ICRC health coordinator Eileen Daly. “Health is being politicized: that is the main reason the system is failing.”

  18. sorry Mr. Mock, it was not you but in fact your colleague Christoph Koettl who falsely claimed on this site last year the "weekly" humanitarian amount delivered by Israel to Gaza was the "monthly" amount and has never retracted this false claim even though I provided him with UN and Palestinian sourced evidence in the comment section proving beyond doubt that his claim was a lie. Here in this post last year Christoph Koettl lied and underestimated humanitarian supplies from Israel to Gaza by 400% :
    http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/top-ten-re

    As far as your lie about Israel being responsible in any way shape or form for the medical shortages in Gaza, again this is a LIE, Mr. Mock, according to no less an authority than The International Committee of the Red Cross no less. It is the Palestinians rivalry between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that have caused this medical shortage problem, according to the ICRC.

    Will you please retract your false charges and lies Mr. Mock ?

    source:
    Reuters, Mon Jun 14, 2010

    “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday stocks of essential medical supplies were at an all-time low because of a halt in cooperation between authorities in Ramallah, the Fatah-ruled West Bank, and Gaza.

    “The state of the health care system in Gaza has never been worse,” said ICRC health coordinator Eileen Daly. “Health is being politicized: that is the main reason the system is failing.”

  19. To Geoff Mock

    I really do not like calling you, Mr. Mock, a liar over and over again, but your exaggerations and ( deliberate ? ) misinformation you spread regarding Israel is becoming a definite pattern.

    Do you not recall your blog post on this site last year when I caught you you falsely claiming Israel was allowing only a 1200 trucks a “month” through the border into Gaza, and I posted in response many direct links to United Nations and Palestinian sources showing that the number you quoted was actually the “weekly” amount not the “monthly” amount ? Remember now?

    I notice till now you have never edited or retracted that bald faced lie you made last year. I suppose you think mixing up the word “month” and “week” was such a minor issue, and so what if it meant you were in effect flasely lying and claiming the Palestinians of Gaza received only 1/4 of the humanitarian aid that the UN and the Palestinians themselves said they were really receiving. I see from this your attitude is that accuracy and honesty and Amnesty’s reputation of fairness mean less than nothing if a vicious malicious slander against Israel can be made.

    Now you continue to spread above in your post today more and more lies. For one thing there is no food being restricted by Israel for entry into Gaza let alone your insane hyper warp drive exaggerated use of the adjective “severely “. You are a liar, a liar, a liar. Try again. It should read “there are no restrictions on food “. None. No other news source on the entire internet except maybe from Iran State Television claims this to be so. Are you proud Mr. Mock, that your wild unprovable claims with no evidence anywhere that you made up out of your own imagination are only backed up only by the dictators in Iran ? You are a liar, Mr. Mock.

    The opposite is true. Gaza is demanding the right to EXPORT food to help their economy. Even you Mr. Mock have condemned Israel for preventing Palestinian food EXPORTS. Can you tell me how it is that you on the one hand falsely condemn Israel for supposedly “severely” (LOL) restricting food IMPORTS, and at the same time you also demand the right of the Gazans to resume food EXPORTS? Does anything not compute in that little equation Mr. Mock ?

    And the shortages of electricity, blaming Israel for this.
    Do you even begin to know what a huge lie this is Mr. Mock?

    The electricity shortages are the result of the Hamas government which runs Gaza refusing to pay the Palestinian Electricity Company run by the rival Palestinian Authority in Ramalla for fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant.

    The Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) has cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant until the payments owed are made to it ( NOT ISRAEL) , causing the daily blackouts. The electric shortages are an internal Palestinian dispute over money and Israel has nothing to do with this, as you darn well know, you liar.

    I might add the level of electric service in Gaza would be a dream come true for approximately 600 million Africans who make do with less electricity compared to Gaza. Funny how the almost non-existent rate of rural electrification in Africa effecting 600 million people, predicted to grow to 1 billion Africans without electricity by 2030 bothers you not a bit Mr. Mock, but a partial blackout of Gaza a few hours a day due entirely to a refusal by Hamas to pay a bill to the Palestinian Authority outrageous you so much. Racism against Africans much, Mr. Mock?

    The same exact story, the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla cutting off medicine supplies imports into Gaza because of some dispute or another they have with Hamas, is also behind any medicine shortages in Gaza but you at Amnesty must have finally wised up to this and so you finally this time stopped making crazy slanderous accusations about Israel preventing medicine getting into Gaza.

    Here from the Palestinian News Agency today where Hamas Gaza Prime Minister Haneyia admits Hamas owes hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid power bills to the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) and will start paying the bill finally so the rival Palestinian government in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) will start shipping the the Gaza Power Plant fuel again.

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=398099
    “Published Monday 20/06/2011

    GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza Hamas government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh promised Monday to pay a 140 million shekel ($40.6 million) debt owed by the municipality of Gaza City to the Palestinian Electricity Company for lighting the city streets.

    The city’s debt to the electric company is part of an estimated billion-dollar debt owed by Gaza residents, companies and municipal bodies.

    In January 2010, when the Palestinian Authority took control of fuel deliveries for the Gaza Power Plant from the European Union, attempts were made to secure the payment of electric bills to help cover the costs of the industrial fuel.

    Since 2011, however, the plant has been receiving fuel from the smuggling tunnel network via Egypt and purifying the diesel for use in the plant. The company is still owed millions, however.”

  20. sorry Mr. Mock, it was not you but in fact your colleague Christoph Koettl who falsely claimed on this site last year the “weekly” humanitarian amount delivered by Israel to Gaza was the “monthly” amount and has never retracted this false claim even though I provided him with UN and Palestinian sourced evidence in the comment section proving beyond doubt that his claim was a lie. Here in this post last year Christoph Koettl lied and underestimated humanitarian supplies from Israel to Gaza by 400% :

    http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/top-ten-reasons-for-lifting-the-blockade-of-gaza

    As far as your lie about Israel being responsible in any way shape or form for the medical shortages in Gaza, again this is a LIE, Mr. Mock, according to no less an authority than The International Committee of the Red Cross no less. It is the Palestinians rivalry between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that have caused this medical shortage problem, according to the ICRC.

    Will you please retract your false charges and lies Mr. Mock ?

    source:
    Reuters, Mon Jun 14, 2010

    “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday stocks of essential medical supplies were at an all-time low because of a halt in cooperation between authorities in Ramallah, the Fatah-ruled West Bank, and Gaza.

    “The state of the health care system in Gaza has never been worse,” said ICRC health coordinator Eileen Daly. “Health is being politicized: that is the main reason the system is failing.”

  21. Thank you Geoffrey for posting something on this issue. There's been a lot of confusion over what the opening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has meant exactly to the situation there.

    You are correct in that Israel maintains effective control over major aspects of the Gaza Strip and its population thus is still under legal obligations of an occupying power including safeguarding the welfare of the inhabitants.

    The Rafah crossing was not designed for the import of any significant amount of humanitarian aid and is in no way capable of relieving the suffering of the 1.6 million (latest population figure given by the CIA) people surviving in Gaza. The crossing is also not designed to handle exports which would be the first step in trying to rebuild the destroyed economy there and ameliorating the dependency on outside aid.

    Movement of people also is not ideal. The population registry you mention that is still controlled by Israel is what is used in reviewing individuals' exit requests, plus Egypt is also placing pretty severe restrictions upon who is allowed to enter and exit.

    Another consideration is that legally, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip are considered one territorial unit. Palestinians seeking, for example, a visa to study in a university here in the United States, should be allowed to exit through the Erez crossing to travel to the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem for the visa interview. Requests like this falls under the legal jurisdiction of the Jerusalem office; Egypt is a separate, sovereign country, legally removed and separate from the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip.

    Anyway, the organization you mention, Gisha (The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement) which does excellent work on the Gaza Strip and it's issues recently put out a fact sheet on the current situation in Gaza after the opening of Rafah that readers might find interesting. You can access it at http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/publications/…. It mentions facts such as although the GDP of Gaza grew 15% in 2010, it's still 20% under where it was at in 2005. They do this because there are those who like to quote statistics and data out of context. I encourage everyone to visit their site.

    Edith Garwood
    AIUSA Country Specialist
    Israel/OPT/PA

  22. Thank you Geoffrey for posting something on this issue. There's been a lot of confusion over what the opening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has meant exactly to the situation there.

    You are correct in that Israel maintains effective control over major aspects of the Gaza Strip and its population thus is still under legal obligations of an occupying power including safeguarding the welfare of the inhabitants.

    The Rafah crossing was not designed for the import of any significant amount of humanitarian aid and is in no way capable of relieving the suffering of the 1.6 million (latest population figure given by the CIA) people surviving in Gaza. The crossing is also not designed to handle exports which would be the first step in trying to rebuild the destroyed economy there and ameliorating the dependency on outside aid.

    Movement of people also is not ideal. The population registry you mention that is still controlled by Israel is what is used in reviewing individuals' exit requests, plus Egypt is also placing pretty severe restrictions upon who is allowed to enter and exit.

    Another consideration is that legally, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip are considered one territorial unit. Palestinians seeking, for example, a visa to study in a university here in the United States, should be allowed to exit through the Erez crossing to travel to the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem for the visa interview. Requests like this falls under the legal jurisdiction of the Jerusalem office; Egypt is a separate, sovereign country, legally removed and separate from the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip.

    Anyway, the organization you mention, Gisha (The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement) which does excellent work on the Gaza Strip and it's issues recently put out a fact sheet on the current situation in Gaza after the opening of Rafah that readers might find interesting. You can access it at http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/publications/…. It mentions facts such as although the GDP of Gaza grew 15% in 2010, it's still 20% under where it was at in 2005. They do this because there are those who like to quote statistics and data out of context. I encourage everyone to visit their site.

    Edith Garwood
    AIUSA Country Specialist
    Israel/OPT/PA

  23. Thank you Geoffrey for posting something on this issue. There's been a lot of confusion over what the opening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has meant exactly to the situation there.

    You are correct in that Israel maintains effective control over major aspects of the Gaza Strip and its population thus is still under legal obligations of an occupying power including safeguarding the welfare of the inhabitants.

    The Rafah crossing was not designed for the import of any significant amount of humanitarian aid and is in no way capable of relieving the suffering of the 1.6 million (latest population figure given by the CIA) people surviving in Gaza. The crossing is also not designed to handle exports which would be the first step in trying to rebuild the destroyed economy there and ameliorating the dependency on outside aid.

    Movement of people also is not ideal. The population registry you mention that is still controlled by Israel is what is used in reviewing individuals' exit requests, plus Egypt is also placing pretty severe restrictions upon who is allowed to enter and exit.

    Another consideration is that legally, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip are considered one territorial unit. Palestinians seeking, for example, a visa to study in a university here in the United States, should be allowed to exit through the Erez crossing to travel to the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem for the visa interview. Requests like this falls under the legal jurisdiction of the Jerusalem office; Egypt is a separate, sovereign country, legally removed and separate from the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip.

    Anyway, the organization you mention, Gisha (The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement) which does excellent work on the Gaza Strip and it's issues recently put out a fact sheet on the current situation in Gaza after the opening of Rafah that readers might find interesting. You can access it at http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/publications/…. It mentions facts such as although the GDP of Gaza grew 15% in 2010, it's still 20% under where it was at in 2005. They do this because there are those who like to quote statistics and data out of context. I encourage everyone to visit their site.

    Edith Garwood
    AIUSA Country Specialist
    Israel/OPT/PA

  24. Edith:
    You points about GDP is sad, and its normal to have sympathy for innocent Gazans living in poverty.

    But why did you ignore my specific documented refutations of the false factual assertions, I would call them malicious slanders contained in the article above by Geoffrey Mock.

    I want you Edith Garwood to state yes or no, is what Mr. Mock wrote completely 100% accurate or not, and I want you to put Amnesty International's entire global reputation on the line with your answer, not only in Gaza but in every other human rights case around the world that Amnesty investigates.

    Because if Amnesty officially publishes on your web page bald faced LIES about Israel why should we believe a word Amnesty says on any other issue, huh?

    Mr. Mock claims food imports to Gaza are "severely restricted" by Israel which is a LIE. There are in fact no restrictions on food imports. None.

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for electric blackouts in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The blackouts are caused because the Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Generator till Hamas pays the PA hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel bills Hamas owes the PA (NOT ISRAEL).

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for medicine shortages in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The International Committee of the Red Cross Gaza Health Coordinator has stated it is not Israel restricting medical imports to Gaza, but instead it is the feuding between the rival Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in Ramalla vs the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza, each of which regularly cancels the others orders for medical imports which is to blame for medicine shortages in Gaza (NOT ISRAEL) .

    Edith, it is a simple question I ask you.
    What is objective reality ?
    Is what Mr. Mock wrote here regarding the following TRUE or FALSE?

    – food imports to Gaza "severely restricted",
    – Gaza electricity blackouts caused by Israel cutting off fuel,
    – Gaza medicine shortages caused by Israel restricting imports

    Oh and by the way Edith, you know that today, this morning June 21st 2011, the "Miles of Smiles" convoy had no problem landing a massive cargo vessel at the modern facilities of the El Arish naval port in Egypt, less than 30 km from Gaza, then loading it into trucks and delivering 30 tones of supplies over the Egypt-Gaza Raffa border crossing that you and Mr. Mock claim is somehow not able to pass cargo.

    reference: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=24
    Tehran Times – Print Date : Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    "A European aid convoy with 53 pro-Palestinian activists has entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing to help ease the conditions of Palestinians in the coastal sliver.

    The humanitarian aid convoy, called “Miles of Smiles 3”, entered Gaza with about 30 tons of medicine, medical supplies and milk powder on Sunday, an Iranian Press TV correspondent reported."

  25. judonimh, i think you're too blinded by Israel to see the Palestinian point of view… let's see…. thousands killed by israeli soldiers, some for violent acts, some for PEACEFUL protests (yes it has happened every May 14th)………. settlements built specifically to split their homeland and restrictions meant to punish a population for terrorism among the radical 1%…. families split, corrupt government (israel-sponsored PA) encouraged, international recognition of the palestine that is GUARANTEED by the UN resolution (that MADE israel) denied by israel and is deep pockets (which DO in fact influence the US), hmmmm…. yes, definitely nothing to whine about, judominh…. i'll bet $1000 that if israel were under these conditions, not only would 1% commit terrorist acts, all of the population would rise up and constantly struggle for a better life…. i hope you realize that the State Of Palestine that will be made in September by the UN General Assembly will be made in the SAME way your precious israel was made– carved out of an colonial power by people who live there+get rough treatment, with one key difference–Great Britain whole-heartedly endorsed the 1948 carve-up. israel will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent the state that the palestinians deserve, and in the process they will condemn the UN for trying to make a state with a MAJORITY of world countries consenting (as in 1948), and the US (supposedly guardian of self-determination across the world) will stand in the way, a minority blocking a majority ……….oh the irony…

  26. Edith:
    You points about GDP is sad, and its normal to have sympathy for innocent Gazans living in poverty.

    But why did you ignore my specific documented refutations of the false factual assertions, I would call them malicious slanders contained in the article above by Geoffrey Mock.

    I want you Edith Garwood to state yes or no, is what Mr. Mock wrote completely 100% accurate or not, and I want you to put Amnesty International's entire global reputation on the line with your answer, not only in Gaza but in every other human rights case around the world that Amnesty investigates.

    Because if Amnesty officially publishes on your web page bald faced LIES about Israel why should we believe a word Amnesty says on any other issue, huh?

    Mr. Mock claims food imports to Gaza are "severely restricted" by Israel which is a LIE. There are in fact no restrictions on food imports. None.

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for electric blackouts in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The blackouts are caused because the Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Generator till Hamas pays the PA hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel bills Hamas owes the PA (NOT ISRAEL).

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for medicine shortages in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The International Committee of the Red Cross Gaza Health Coordinator has stated it is not Israel restricting medical imports to Gaza, but instead it is the feuding between the rival Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in Ramalla vs the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza, each of which regularly cancels the others orders for medical imports which is to blame for medicine shortages in Gaza (NOT ISRAEL) .

    Edith, it is a simple question I ask you.
    What is objective reality ?
    Is what Mr. Mock wrote here regarding the following TRUE or FALSE?

    – food imports to Gaza "severely restricted",
    – Gaza electricity blackouts caused by Israel cutting off fuel,
    – Gaza medicine shortages caused by Israel restricting imports

    Oh and by the way Edith, you know that today, this morning June 21st 2011, the "Miles of Smiles" convoy had no problem landing a massive cargo vessel at the modern facilities of the El Arish naval port in Egypt, less than 30 km from Gaza, then loading it into trucks and delivering 30 tones of supplies over the Egypt-Gaza Raffa border crossing that you and Mr. Mock claim is somehow not able to pass cargo.

    reference: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=24
    Tehran Times – Print Date : Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    "A European aid convoy with 53 pro-Palestinian activists has entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing to help ease the conditions of Palestinians in the coastal sliver.

    The humanitarian aid convoy, called “Miles of Smiles 3”, entered Gaza with about 30 tons of medicine, medical supplies and milk powder on Sunday, an Iranian Press TV correspondent reported."

  27. Edith:
    You points about GDP is sad, and its normal to have sympathy for innocent Gazans living in poverty.

    But why did you ignore my specific documented refutations of the false factual assertions, I would call them malicious slanders contained in the article above by Geoffrey Mock.

    I want you Edith Garwood to state yes or no, is what Mr. Mock wrote completely 100% accurate or not, and I want you to put Amnesty International's entire global reputation on the line with your answer, not only in Gaza but in every other human rights case around the world that Amnesty investigates.

    Because if Amnesty officially publishes on your web page bald faced LIES about Israel why should we believe a word Amnesty says on any other issue, huh?

    Mr. Mock claims food imports to Gaza are "severely restricted" by Israel which is a LIE. There are in fact no restrictions on food imports. None.

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for electric blackouts in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The blackouts are caused because the Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Generator till Hamas pays the PA hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel bills Hamas owes the PA (NOT ISRAEL).

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for medicine shortages in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The International Committee of the Red Cross Gaza Health Coordinator has stated it is not Israel restricting medical imports to Gaza, but instead it is the feuding between the rival Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in Ramalla vs the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza, each of which regularly cancels the others orders for medical imports which is to blame for medicine shortages in Gaza (NOT ISRAEL) .

    Edith, it is a simple question I ask you.
    What is objective reality ?
    Is what Mr. Mock wrote here regarding the following TRUE or FALSE?

    – food imports to Gaza "severely restricted",
    – Gaza electricity blackouts caused by Israel cutting off fuel,
    – Gaza medicine shortages caused by Israel restricting imports

    Oh and by the way Edith, you know that today, this morning June 21st 2011, the "Miles of Smiles" convoy had no problem landing a massive cargo vessel at the modern facilities of the El Arish naval port in Egypt, less than 30 km from Gaza, then loading it into trucks and delivering 30 tones of supplies over the Egypt-Gaza Raffa border crossing that you and Mr. Mock claim is somehow not able to pass cargo.

    reference: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=24
    Tehran Times – Print Date : Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    "A European aid convoy with 53 pro-Palestinian activists has entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing to help ease the conditions of Palestinians in the coastal sliver.

    The humanitarian aid convoy, called “Miles of Smiles 3”, entered Gaza with about 30 tons of medicine, medical supplies and milk powder on Sunday, an Iranian Press TV correspondent reported."

  28. I would like to hear Edith's reply as well as AI's to sort out the facts.

    And if there is a problem with a tiny land being carved out in the middle east, then surely Colin you must be incensed by the much larger country now called Pakistan, in a place that used to be called India taken from a peoples who have endured untold bloodshed for centuries, from an invading population that now has it's own country.

    And again I urge AI to answer these posts that are disputing their facts so the rest of us know what the deal is. Speaking for myself, it's very confusing.

  29. colin:

    It is not about being blinded to the Palestinian point of view. I am sure for example you are just as equally blinded to the Israeli view as you claim I am to the Palestinian view.

    It is about objective reality: the TRUTH vs LIES.

    For example, The International Committee of the Red Cross, not a friend of Israel in any way, has repeatedly confirmed Israel does restrict medicine imports to Gaza.

    Instead, the two rival warring Palestinian Ministries of Health, PA vs Hamas, each constantly fighting with the other in order to assert its authority over the other at the expense of the Gazan Palestinian sick, have caused the chaos in the medical system in Gaza and the medicine shortages. (NOT ISRAEL)

    This then is the objective reality, according to the ICRC. To then continue to claim that Israel caused these medicine shortages when you know this to be false is therefore not just an ordinary LIE, but a malicious slanderous LIE you are telling to propagandize and deliberately knowingly mislead and trick with falsehood.

  30. Israel is a racist Outlaw Apartheid State that keeps millions of people as it's personal slaves (the Palestinians). Of course Israel is scorned throughout most of the world except for the evil Colonial Empires of America & Britain & a few others. Israel has lots of good people in it, but it is also full of racists who control the whole society. Israel must change or of course it's going to fall, just like the U.S. is in the middle of dying right now. – An American War Veteran who knows that Colonial Empires like Israel & America are dying.

  31. Judonimh does something the "editors", authors and commentors of these and many related/unrelated blogs frequently do not. RESEARCH
    When called out – the silence speaks volumes!

  32. Thank you Geoffrey for posting something on this issue. There’s been a lot of confusion over what the opening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt has meant exactly to the situation there.

    You are correct in that Israel maintains effective control over major aspects of the Gaza Strip and its population thus is still under legal obligations of an occupying power including safeguarding the welfare of the inhabitants.

    The Rafah crossing was not designed for the import of any significant amount of humanitarian aid and is in no way capable of relieving the suffering of the 1.6 million (latest population figure given by the CIA) people surviving in Gaza. The crossing is also not designed to handle exports which would be the first step in trying to rebuild the destroyed economy there and ameliorating the dependency on outside aid.

    Movement of people also is not ideal. The population registry you mention that is still controlled by Israel is what is used in reviewing individuals’ exit requests, plus Egypt is also placing pretty severe restrictions upon who is allowed to enter and exit.

    Another consideration is that legally, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip are considered one territorial unit. Palestinians seeking, for example, a visa to study in a university here in the United States, should be allowed to exit through the Erez crossing to travel to the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem for the visa interview. Requests like this falls under the legal jurisdiction of the Jerusalem office; Egypt is a separate, sovereign country, legally removed and separate from the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip.

    Anyway, the organization you mention, Gisha (The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement) which does excellent work on the Gaza Strip and it’s issues recently put out a fact sheet on the current situation in Gaza after the opening of Rafah that readers might find interesting. You can access it at http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/publications/Info_Gaza_Eng.pdf. It mentions facts such as although the GDP of Gaza grew 15% in 2010, it’s still 20% under where it was at in 2005. They do this because there are those who like to quote statistics and data out of context. I encourage everyone to visit their site.

    Edith Garwood
    AIUSA Country Specialist
    Israel/OPT/PA

  33. judonimh, i think you’re too blinded by Israel to see the Palestinian point of view… let’s see…. thousands killed by israeli soldiers, some for violent acts, some for PEACEFUL protests (yes it has happened every May 14th)………. settlements built specifically to split their homeland and restrictions meant to punish a population for terrorism among the radical 1%…. families split, corrupt government (israel-sponsored PA) encouraged, international recognition of the palestine that is GUARANTEED by the UN resolution (that MADE israel) denied by israel and is deep pockets (which DO in fact influence the US), hmmmm…. yes, definitely nothing to whine about, judominh…. i’ll bet $1000 that if israel were under these conditions, not only would 1% commit terrorist acts, all of the population would rise up and constantly struggle for a better life…. i hope you realize that the State Of Palestine that will be made in September by the UN General Assembly will be made in the SAME way your precious israel was made– carved out of an colonial power by people who live there+get rough treatment, with one key difference–Great Britain whole-heartedly endorsed the 1948 carve-up. israel will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent the state that the palestinians deserve, and in the process they will condemn the UN for trying to make a state with a MAJORITY of world countries consenting (as in 1948), and the US (supposedly guardian of self-determination across the world) will stand in the way, a minority blocking a majority ……….oh the irony…

  34. Edith:
    You points about GDP is sad, and its normal to have sympathy for innocent Gazans living in poverty.

    But why did you ignore my specific documented refutations of the false factual assertions, I would call them malicious slanders contained in the article above by Geoffrey Mock.

    I want you Edith Garwood to state yes or no, is what Mr. Mock wrote completely 100% accurate or not, and I want you to put Amnesty International’s entire global reputation on the line with your answer, not only in Gaza but in every other human rights case around the world that Amnesty investigates.

    Because if Amnesty officially publishes on your web page bald faced LIES about Israel why should we believe a word Amnesty says on any other issue, huh?

    Mr. Mock claims food imports to Gaza are “severely restricted” by Israel which is a LIE. There are in fact no restrictions on food imports. None.

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for electric blackouts in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The blackouts are caused because the Palestinian Authority in Ramalla ( NOT ISRAEL) cut off fuel deliveries to the Gaza Generator till Hamas pays the PA hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel bills Hamas owes the PA (NOT ISRAEL).

    Mr. Mock blames Israel for medicine shortages in Gaza which is a LIE.
    The International Committee of the Red Cross Gaza Health Coordinator has stated it is not Israel restricting medical imports to Gaza, but instead it is the feuding between the rival Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in Ramalla vs the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza, each of which regularly cancels the others orders for medical imports which is to blame for medicine shortages in Gaza (NOT ISRAEL) .

    Edith, it is a simple question I ask you.
    What is objective reality ?
    Is what Mr. Mock wrote here regarding the following TRUE or FALSE?

    – food imports to Gaza “severely restricted”,
    – Gaza electricity blackouts caused by Israel cutting off fuel,
    – Gaza medicine shortages caused by Israel restricting imports

    Oh and by the way Edith, you know that today, this morning June 21st 2011, the “Miles of Smiles” convoy had no problem landing a massive cargo vessel at the modern facilities of the El Arish naval port in Egypt, less than 30 km from Gaza, then loading it into trucks and delivering 30 tones of supplies over the Egypt-Gaza Raffa border crossing that you and Mr. Mock claim is somehow not able to pass cargo.

    reference: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=242808
    Tehran Times – Print Date : Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    “A European aid convoy with 53 pro-Palestinian activists has entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing to help ease the conditions of Palestinians in the coastal sliver.

    The humanitarian aid convoy, called “Miles of Smiles 3”, entered Gaza with about 30 tons of medicine, medical supplies and milk powder on Sunday, an Iranian Press TV correspondent reported.”

  35. I would like to hear Edith’s reply as well as AI’s to sort out the facts.

    And if there is a problem with a tiny land being carved out in the middle east, then surely Colin you must be incensed by the much larger country now called Pakistan, in a place that used to be called India taken from a peoples who have endured untold bloodshed for centuries, from an invading population that now has it’s own country.

    And again I urge AI to answer these posts that are disputing their facts so the rest of us know what the deal is. Speaking for myself, it’s very confusing.

  36. colin:

    It is not about being blinded to the Palestinian point of view. I am sure for example you are just as equally blinded to the Israeli view as you claim I am to the Palestinian view.

    It is about objective reality: the TRUTH vs LIES.

    For example, The International Committee of the Red Cross, not a friend of Israel in any way, has repeatedly confirmed Israel does restrict medicine imports to Gaza.

    Instead, the two rival warring Palestinian Ministries of Health, PA vs Hamas, each constantly fighting with the other in order to assert its authority over the other at the expense of the Gazan Palestinian sick, have caused the chaos in the medical system in Gaza and the medicine shortages. (NOT ISRAEL)

    This then is the objective reality, according to the ICRC. To then continue to claim that Israel caused these medicine shortages when you know this to be false is therefore not just an ordinary LIE, but a malicious slanderous LIE you are telling to propagandize and deliberately knowingly mislead and trick with falsehood.

  37. Israel is a racist Outlaw Apartheid State that keeps millions of people as it’s personal slaves (the Palestinians). Of course Israel is scorned throughout most of the world except for the evil Colonial Empires of America & Britain & a few others. Israel has lots of good people in it, but it is also full of racists who control the whole society. Israel must change or of course it’s going to fall, just like the U.S. is in the middle of dying right now. – An American War Veteran who knows that Colonial Empires like Israel & America are dying.

  38. Judonimh does something the “editors”, authors and commentors of these and many related/unrelated blogs frequently do not. RESEARCH
    When called out – the silence speaks volumes!

  39. Judo's task, as always : Support the official Israeli line.

    Support the blockade.

    Israel's line now is : What CRISIS ? There's no crisis !

    Judo's task : Repeat that, strengthen that.

    In the process, call Mr Mock, Mr Koettl & all of Amnesty "liars", like he called Ms Garwood before.

    80 other organisations in the world are now saying the same thing ?

    Sp what ? Call them ALL liars as well !

    What about Africa, demands Judo, repeating what he says whenever the Gaza issue comes back .

    Why are you neglecting Africa, his demands.

    But Africa's not under any single country's blockade !

    In fact, it's under no blockade at all !

    & the roots of African poverty are many, not attributable to just one external factor, like the siege of Gaza is attributable to Israel !

    But Judo's unstoppable.

    Gaza's health situation ? he hoots. It's as good or EVEN BETTER THAN the other Muslim countries ( wow, that's a list including lands like Turkey, but who cares for the truth, it's the EFFECT that counts ! )

    Meanwhile an Irish parliamentarian says Gaza's "medical sector is facing severe drug & personnel shortages, lack of medical equipment & external travel restictions."

    The WHO says 91 out of 416 esential drugs have run out.

    The WHO who ?

    It's is a liar too, just like that Irish gentleman no doubt….

    & Judo's list of liars grows like Pinochhio's nose.

    Life expectancy in Gaza ?

    It's great, what do you expect ? claims Judo.

    No wonder, with all the special diet controls Gazans are subjected to, as that Israeli leader once so humorously put it.

    & the kids with their stunted bodies & minds climbing up & down all those heaps of rubble all day, enough to build strong legs & limbs, with a healthy life ahead no doubt.

    Carry on Judo !

    Deny absolutely there's any humanitarian crisis here, that's a great way to win friends & influence world opinion.

    Israel has found the best way to ensure its growing isolation.

  40. No, Rafah has not opened.

    Gazans face humiliation & despair daily, hourly.

    But opening Gaza to trade would mean an arms flow , clamors Judo & elle !

    The blockade must go on !

    Is the blockade by Israel even "legal" ?

    No, it's not.

    Says who ?

    Says Ambassador Craig Murray.

    He's the former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the UN Conventionn of the law of the Sea.

    He's also the man who was the legal authority of the Royal Navy's blockade of the Persian Gulf to stop Iraqi arms shipments in the Gulf War.

    He says the Israeli blockade of Gaza cites the San Remo Manual.

    You'll often hear Judo swearing by San Remo too.

    Mr Murray says Israel can't use San Remo as argument for blockade.

    Why ?

    Because , he says, "San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. israel is ot currently engaged in armed conflict … San Remo … in fact specifically exdscludes as illegal a general blockade of an entire population."

    Murrays says Israel suffers sporadic attacks from Gaza, but "this does not come close to reaching the bar of armed conflict in terms of San Remo."

    He gives a comparison.

    In the 1970s & 80s, the UK faced much greater attacks from the IRA inflicting heavier death tolls.

    But, he says, nobody woould seek to argue that the United Kingdom had the right to mount a general blockade of the Republic of Ireland in the 1970s – 80s, even though the Republic was undoubtedly the base for much of the IRA's supplies & operations.

    Hence this blockade of Gaza has no basis in international law.

    But when did Israel ever care about interrnational law ???

  41. Judo laughs to scorn all the international outcry about food shortages in Gaza.

    FOOD shortages ? He hoots. WHAT food shortages ? ( Deny everything . )

    He says the opposite is true …. Gaza wants to EXPORT food.

    Then he goes into his chorus of "Liar, liar, liar."

    The reality is that the food shortage & the demand to export are very different things.

    It's the difference between Gaza's, or any territory's, export needs & import needs.

    Balance has to be maintained between the two for a healthy population & economy.

    But both sectors have been SEVERELY DISRUPTED by Israel's blockade.

    First, the undoubted food shortage in Gaza.

    The World Food Program says that FIFTY NINE PER CENT of Gaza's food import needs are NOT being met.

    As for the export situation —-

    The UN Food & Agriculture Organization maintains that Gaza's farmers have so far lost MILLIONS due to the pressures on exports.

    So exports & imports don't CANCEL each other out.

    They COMPLEMENT each other.

    Plus there are "MASSIVE SHORTAGES of fuel & materials which have not only affected the living standards of ordinary Palestinians, but have created huge difficulties in terms of energy & employment."

    The TOTAL effect of the blockade ?

    The United Nations is warning us that Gaza wil become a ONE HUNDRED PER CENT DEPENDENT ECONOMY if her borders are kept closed by Israel for IMPORT, EXPORT, AND TRAVEL.

  42. Judo is like one of those PR spokesmen of companies that destroy the environment.

    When you charge them with wiping out whole FORESTS, they point out how many TREES they have planted !!!!

    He announces with fanfare how magnanimous Israel is allowing construction material into Gaza.

    But Israel is only allowing this in JUST BEFORE the scheduled arrival of the international aid flotilla for Gaza — in order to lessen the s***storm of global fury at the blockade !!!!

    Also, see the numbers here !

    Judo says Israel is allowing construction material for …. 1, 200 homes & 18 schools !!!

    Sounds impressive, doesn't it ?

    But do you remember how many Palestinian houses Israel destrroyed in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead ?

    A FULL SIXTY THOUSAND HOUSES !!!!!

    TWELVE HUNDRED HOUSES permitted today .. as against SIXTY THOUSAND HOUSES DESTROYED YESTERDAY !!!!

    Mere saplings, to replace a whole forest.

  43. Judo,

    First, let me correct some apparent misunderstandings on your part – you say that Geoffrey and I both stated that the Rafah crossing is “somehow not able to pass cargo”. Geoffrey and I both stated that the crossing was “never designed” to allow in large amounts of traffic and its ability to allow in other things like consumer goods is “extremely limited”.

    Under the 2005 Access and Movement Agreement, Rafah was designed to allow only Gazans on the Israeli-controlled population registry to exit and enter – not even foreigners – and certainly no fuel, grains, or large amounts of commercial items. Since the blockade on Gaza however, exceptions have been made to allow a select few foreigners to exit and enter as well as ambulances and a small amount of humanitarian aid.

    You also incorrectly stated that, “Mr. Mock blames Israel for medicine shortages in Gaza which is a LIE.” The blog does not ‘blame’ Israel and actually says, “Gaza’s health sector has been plagued by shortages in equipment and medical supplies during the blockade.” This is absolutely true and continues to this day.

    According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, fewer permits have been approved for UN local humanitarian staff than before the ‘easing’. Permit policy for aid workers and medical patients is still arbitrary, unpredictable and time consuming.

    For instance, in September 2010, only 47% of UN agencies’ requests for entry or exit of their national staff were approved and in October only 45%, down from the average of 76% during the first half of 2010. (Note: Israel’s ‘easing’ of restrictions was implemented June 20, 2010.)

    Despite the Israeli authorities’ commitment to streamline entry and exit permits to and from Gaza for medical and humanitarian reasons and for aid workers, there has been so far no tangible improvement in practice. On the contrary, there has been a decrease in the rate of permit approvals for entry or exit of UN agencies’ national humanitarian staff.

    Also, to clarify, Amnesty doesn’t point fingers or ‘blame’ as someone in a petty argument would do. Amnesty holds the parties involved in abusing human rights or violating International Humanitarian and human rights law to that one standard. In this instance – concerning the Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip – Israel as the occupying power has legal obligations to meet under international law concerning the welfare of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip which it is not only failing to do, but is collectively punishing the 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip for the actions of a select group of individuals. This is illegal and the blockade must end.

    You also give data and statistics out of context. You quote PressTV which said, “30 tons” of aid was allowed to enter through Rafah. Thirty tons of aid sounds like a large amount until you find out that depending on the number of axles and other factors, just one, average semi-trailer truck can carry around 23 to 40 tons of cargo and that this is a drop in the bucket when looking at a population of 1.6 million that has been imprisoned for years and never allowed to rebuild after the massive destruction wrought during operation ‘Cast Lead’.

    According to UN agencies, the Gaza Strip needs about 86,000 new housing units to accommodate past population growth and also to replace the homes destroyed or damaged as a result of Israeli military operations. This would require the entry of over 670,000 truckloads of construction materials into Gaza in order to build these units. Since the ‘easing’ of the blockade only 715 truckloads of construction materials for all uses (not only housing) have entered Gaza per month on average, a mere 11% of pre-blockade levels. At this rate, it would take many decades to build the needed homes, while the unmet housing needs grow each day the blockade continues.

    You are correct in that since last June 2010, official, written restrictions on food items have been lifted, but when and what is actually allowed in is still arbitrary. Some items are only allowed through if requested by international organizations, but not allowed through for resale by Palestinian merchants and although there has been a significant increase in the amount of food stuffs entering Gaza, many humanitarian items, including vital water equipment, that are not on the Israeli restricted list, continue to receive no permits.

    Gazans are not being given the raw materials needed to re-establish their self-sufficiency, including their agricultural and food manufacturing industries forcing their continued dependence on foreign-made goods and food aid.

    There are often pictures displayed that show a vast array of consumer goods and food available. What is not shown is that 80% of the population remains dependent on foreign aid and simply cannot afford these items which are sold at inflated prices due to high demand and difficulties in bringing them into the strip. The percentage of those who are ‘food insecure’ remain extremely high and over half the population are children.

    Arguments over fuel order and delivery payments between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Hamas, the de facto administration in the Gaza Strip, definitely exacerbate the situation, but there is a chronic lack of electricity and regular blackouts (which also affect other essential services, including water supply, sewage treatment, and health services) which is caused by continuing restrictions.

    Since last June, there has been no easing of fuel restrictions put in place by Israel. Fuel imports for power plants remain limited at 68% of its maximum capacity; cooking gas imports have been at around 53% of average needs; almost no diesel and petrol is allowed for commercial sector.

    Judo – no one is ‘out to get Israel’ or play the blame-game. When we issue a report on Libya or China or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this does not mean we are ‘anti-Libya’ or ‘anti-China’. We are a human rights organization that believes in the value of each and every human being and that each human has basic human rights.

    In this instance, concerning the blockade on the Gaza Strip: the Israeli blockade contravenes international law and as an illegal blockade must be lifted immediately. Israel as the occupying power has the legal obligation to do this and meet its other obligations under international law.

  44. Hamas & the Gazans haven't paid their electricity bill, that's why they don't have power, crows Judo.

    O lucky Israel .. whose rich population gets more than THREE BILLION DOLLARS from US tax payers EVERY YEAR ! You can pay all your bills, & get more from the US again !!

    No such bonanza for starving Gaza……….

    Hamas hasn't paid ?

    Why, the moment it won the Palestinian elections, Hamas' legal government was IMMEDIATELY deprived of ALL of Palestine's revenues by Israel !

    Has Israel returned this money to the elected Hamas government to this day ?

    Does any Israel supporter have the RIGHT to talk about how Hamas & individual Gazans haven't paid their bills ?

    Which party was it that withheld the other party's rightful dues to begin with, forcing that other to live in penury & hardship ?

    If i take what belongs to you & withhold it from you, down to the present, can I then acuse you of not paying your dues ?

    Let him whom has never seized the wealth rightfully belonging to another nation, to another government, cast the first stone.

  45. Here we are, talking of the paying of power bills !

    Does Israel let the two Palestinian parties even COMMUNICATE with each other ?

    To wit, does Israel even ALLOW any communication between Gaza & the West Bank, or between Hamas & Fatah, without threatening the latter with being left out in the cold just like the Hamas government ?

    Israel keeps closed the openings between the West Bank & Gaza as well.

    It hates to see any thaw in the Palestinian parties' relations with each other, to see them talk or make up or make peace.

    A state of all – round siege is the only one Israel is able to live with !

  46. Judo’s task, as always : Support the official Israeli line.

    Support the blockade.

    Israel’s line now is : What CRISIS ? There’s no crisis !

    Judo’s task : Repeat that, strengthen that.

    In the process, call Mr Mock, Mr Koettl & all of Amnesty “liars”, like he called Ms Garwood before.

    80 other organisations in the world are now saying the same thing ?

    Sp what ? Call them ALL liars as well !

    What about Africa, demands Judo, repeating what he says whenever the Gaza issue comes back .

    Why are you neglecting Africa, his demands.

    But Africa’s not under any single country’s blockade !

    In fact, it’s under no blockade at all !

    & the roots of African poverty are many, not attributable to just one external factor, like the siege of Gaza is attributable to Israel !

    But Judo’s unstoppable.

    Gaza’s health situation ? he hoots. It’s as good or EVEN BETTER THAN the other Muslim countries ( wow, that’s a list including lands like Turkey, but who cares for the truth, it’s the EFFECT that counts ! )

    Meanwhile an Irish parliamentarian says Gaza’s “medical sector is facing severe drug & personnel shortages, lack of medical equipment & external travel restictions.”

    The WHO says 91 out of 416 esential drugs have run out.

    The WHO who ?

    It’s is a liar too, just like that Irish gentleman no doubt….

    & Judo’s list of liars grows like Pinochhio’s nose.

    Life expectancy in Gaza ?

    It’s great, what do you expect ? claims Judo.

    No wonder, with all the special diet controls Gazans are subjected to, as that Israeli leader once so humorously put it.

    & the kids with their stunted bodies & minds climbing up & down all those heaps of rubble all day, enough to build strong legs & limbs, with a healthy life ahead no doubt.

    Carry on Judo !

    Deny absolutely there’s any humanitarian crisis here, that’s a great way to win friends & influence world opinion.

    Israel has found the best way to ensure its growing isolation.

  47. No, Rafah has not opened.

    Gazans face humiliation & despair daily, hourly.

    But opening Gaza to trade would mean an arms flow , clamors Judo & elle !

    The blockade must go on !

    Is the blockade by Israel even “legal” ?

    No, it’s not.

    Says who ?

    Says Ambassador Craig Murray.

    He’s the former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Preparatory Commission on the UN Conventionn of the law of the Sea.

    He’s also the man who was the legal authority of the Royal Navy’s blockade of the Persian Gulf to stop Iraqi arms shipments in the Gulf War.

    He says the Israeli blockade of Gaza cites the San Remo Manual.

    You’ll often hear Judo swearing by San Remo too.

    Mr Murray says Israel can’t use San Remo as argument for blockade.

    Why ?

    Because , he says, “San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. israel is ot currently engaged in armed conflict … San Remo … in fact specifically exdscludes as illegal a general blockade of an entire population.”

    Murrays says Israel suffers sporadic attacks from Gaza, but “this does not come close to reaching the bar of armed conflict in terms of San Remo.”

    He gives a comparison.

    In the 1970s & 80s, the UK faced much greater attacks from the IRA inflicting heavier death tolls.

    But, he says, nobody woould seek to argue that the United Kingdom had the right to mount a general blockade of the Republic of Ireland in the 1970s – 80s, even though the Republic was undoubtedly the base for much of the IRA’s supplies & operations.

    Hence this blockade of Gaza has no basis in international law.

    But when did Israel ever care about interrnational law ???

  48. Edie, thank you for taking the time to respond. I felt the original post was really unfair and I appreciated you attempting to answer my complaints.

    But I am afraid you are still being highly disingenuous when you say:

    "The blog does not ‘blame’ Israel and actually says, “Gaza’s health sector has been plagued by shortages in equipment and medical supplies during the blockade.” This is absolutely true and continues to this day."

    Come on now, seriously? You are really going to sit there with a straight face and pretend that in that statement in the above blog, Mr. Mock did not mean to imply Israel was to "blame" for shortages in medical supplies?

    Here is who is to really to blame for drug shortages in Gaza.

    1) The Hamas Ministry of Health makes a determination of which drugs are short in Gazan hospitals and pharmacies, and forwards the order list to the UN and the Red Cross.

    2) Then the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in Ramallah gets involved and tries to assert its authority as it claims to be the only recognized legal government by chaotically going through the medicine order list, deleting parts and adding others.

    3) Then the UN Agency or the Red Cross actually imports into Israel the medicines that made it onto the final version of the list

    4) The medicine arrives in Israel by ship or air cargo, clears Israeli customs quickly and efficiently and immediately loaded onto Red Cross or UN trucks and driven into Gaza.

    5) Due to the cockamamie in-fighting between the PA and Hamas over the drug order list what ends up often happening is the wrong drugs are ordered and arrive in huge surpluses which mostly expire before they can be consumed, while other desperately needed drugs are never ordered at all .

    The Red Cross and the UN report no interference or limitations or any undue customs or inspection delays what so ever of any kind from Israel in dealing with any medicine imports for Gaza. No Israeli restriction is ever applied in any way. Getting the drugs into Israel and onto the aid trucks at the Gaza border is the smallest insignificant part of the whole process.

    As a human rights organization it is Amnesty's responsibility to speak out against such Palestinian petty bureaucratic rivalries when they cause serious human suffering in Gaza just as loudly as you speak out against Israeli practices you feel contribute to human suffering in Gaza.

    Just as you must speak out against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for allowing this ridiculous dispute over non-payment to result in the cutting off of diesel fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant.

  49. Judo laughs to scorn all the international outcry about food shortages in Gaza.

    FOOD shortages ? He hoots. WHAT food shortages ? ( Deny everything . )

    He says the opposite is true …. Gaza wants to EXPORT food.

    Then he goes into his chorus of “Liar, liar, liar.”

    The reality is that the food shortage & the demand to export are very different things.

    It’s the difference between Gaza’s, or any territory’s, export needs & import needs.

    Balance has to be maintained between the two for a healthy population & economy.

    But both sectors have been SEVERELY DISRUPTED by Israel’s blockade.

    First, the undoubted food shortage in Gaza.

    The World Food Program says that FIFTY NINE PER CENT of Gaza’s food import needs are NOT being met.

    As for the export situation —-

    The UN Food & Agriculture Organization maintains that Gaza’s farmers have so far lost MILLIONS due to the pressures on exports.

    So exports & imports don’t CANCEL each other out.

    They COMPLEMENT each other.

    Plus there are “MASSIVE SHORTAGES of fuel & materials which have not only affected the living standards of ordinary Palestinians, but have created huge difficulties in terms of energy & employment.”

    The TOTAL effect of the blockade ?

    The United Nations is warning us that Gaza wil become a ONE HUNDRED PER CENT DEPENDENT ECONOMY if her borders are kept closed by Israel for IMPORT, EXPORT, AND TRAVEL.

  50. Judo is like one of those PR spokesmen of companies that destroy the environment.

    When you charge them with wiping out whole FORESTS, they point out how many TREES they have planted !!!!

    He announces with fanfare how magnanimous Israel is allowing construction material into Gaza.

    But Israel is only allowing this in JUST BEFORE the scheduled arrival of the international aid flotilla for Gaza — in order to lessen the s***storm of global fury at the blockade !!!!

    Also, see the numbers here !

    Judo says Israel is allowing construction material for …. 1, 200 homes & 18 schools !!!

    Sounds impressive, doesn’t it ?

    But do you remember how many Palestinian houses Israel destrroyed in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead ?

    A FULL SIXTY THOUSAND HOUSES !!!!!

    TWELVE HUNDRED HOUSES permitted today .. as against SIXTY THOUSAND HOUSES DESTROYED YESTERDAY !!!!

    Mere saplings, to replace a whole forest.

  51. Judo makes a great deal of noise, like Joshua before Jericho, when he talks about HOW MUCH generous Israel is allowing in into Gaza !!

    But a report by that same spoilsport, the UN Food Agency, says the partial lifting of the blockade announced by Israel a year ago has had “only marginal positive impact”.

    The World Food Program study, “Gaza : eased or un – eased ?” says that although the outright ban on construction material to Gaza was lifted for SOME projects, the ADMINISTRATIVE HURDLES THAT REMAIN make the implementation of even this meager “allowance” SLOW & COSTLY.

    It’s a calculated & time tested tactic of Israel : the left hand withholds what the right hand gives, & gives here but not there.

    The cat plays like this with the trapped mouse.

    The report adds that a planned enlargement of the goods crossings from Israel has NOT taken place.

    United Nations officials say the LIMITED approvals by Israel, plus the SLOW entry of materials, have done LITTLE TO ALLEVIATE THE SITUATION in Gaza.

  52. Judo,

    First, let me correct some apparent misunderstandings on your part – you say that Geoffrey and I both stated that the Rafah crossing is “somehow not able to pass cargo”. Geoffrey and I both stated that the crossing was “never designed” to allow in large amounts of traffic and its ability to allow in other things like consumer goods is “extremely limited”.

    Under the 2005 Access and Movement Agreement, Rafah was designed to allow only Gazans on the Israeli-controlled population registry to exit and enter – not even foreigners – and certainly no fuel, grains, or large amounts of commercial items. Since the blockade on Gaza however, exceptions have been made to allow a select few foreigners to exit and enter as well as ambulances and a small amount of humanitarian aid.

    You also incorrectly stated that, “Mr. Mock blames Israel for medicine shortages in Gaza which is a LIE.” The blog does not ‘blame’ Israel and actually says, “Gaza’s health sector has been plagued by shortages in equipment and medical supplies during the blockade.” This is absolutely true and continues to this day.

    According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, fewer permits have been approved for UN local humanitarian staff than before the ‘easing’. Permit policy for aid workers and medical patients is still arbitrary, unpredictable and time consuming.

    For instance, in September 2010, only 47% of UN agencies’ requests for entry or exit of their national staff were approved and in October only 45%, down from the average of 76% during the first half of 2010. (Note: Israel’s ‘easing’ of restrictions was implemented June 20, 2010.)

    Despite the Israeli authorities’ commitment to streamline entry and exit permits to and from Gaza for medical and humanitarian reasons and for aid workers, there has been so far no tangible improvement in practice. On the contrary, there has been a decrease in the rate of permit approvals for entry or exit of UN agencies’ national humanitarian staff.

    Also, to clarify, Amnesty doesn’t point fingers or ‘blame’ as someone in a petty argument would do. Amnesty holds the parties involved in abusing human rights or violating International Humanitarian and human rights law to that one standard. In this instance – concerning the Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip – Israel as the occupying power has legal obligations to meet under international law concerning the welfare of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip which it is not only failing to do, but is collectively punishing the 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip for the actions of a select group of individuals. This is illegal and the blockade must end.

    You also give data and statistics out of context. You quote PressTV which said, “30 tons” of aid was allowed to enter through Rafah. Thirty tons of aid sounds like a large amount until you find out that depending on the number of axles and other factors, just one, average semi-trailer truck can carry around 23 to 40 tons of cargo and that this is a drop in the bucket when looking at a population of 1.6 million that has been imprisoned for years and never allowed to rebuild after the massive destruction wrought during operation ‘Cast Lead’.

    According to UN agencies, the Gaza Strip needs about 86,000 new housing units to accommodate past population growth and also to replace the homes destroyed or damaged as a result of Israeli military operations. This would require the entry of over 670,000 truckloads of construction materials into Gaza in order to build these units. Since the ‘easing’ of the blockade only 715 truckloads of construction materials for all uses (not only housing) have entered Gaza per month on average, a mere 11% of pre-blockade levels. At this rate, it would take many decades to build the needed homes, while the unmet housing needs grow each day the blockade continues.

    You are correct in that since last June 2010, official, written restrictions on food items have been lifted, but when and what is actually allowed in is still arbitrary. Some items are only allowed through if requested by international organizations, but not allowed through for resale by Palestinian merchants and although there has been a significant increase in the amount of food stuffs entering Gaza, many humanitarian items, including vital water equipment, that are not on the Israeli restricted list, continue to receive no permits.

    Gazans are not being given the raw materials needed to re-establish their self-sufficiency, including their agricultural and food manufacturing industries forcing their continued dependence on foreign-made goods and food aid.

    There are often pictures displayed that show a vast array of consumer goods and food available. What is not shown is that 80% of the population remains dependent on foreign aid and simply cannot afford these items which are sold at inflated prices due to high demand and difficulties in bringing them into the strip. The percentage of those who are ‘food insecure’ remain extremely high and over half the population are children.

    Arguments over fuel order and delivery payments between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Hamas, the de facto administration in the Gaza Strip, definitely exacerbate the situation, but there is a chronic lack of electricity and regular blackouts (which also affect other essential services, including water supply, sewage treatment, and health services) which is caused by continuing restrictions.

    Since last June, there has been no easing of fuel restrictions put in place by Israel. Fuel imports for power plants remain limited at 68% of its maximum capacity; cooking gas imports have been at around 53% of average needs; almost no diesel and petrol is allowed for commercial sector.

    Judo – no one is ‘out to get Israel’ or play the blame-game. When we issue a report on Libya or China or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this does not mean we are ‘anti-Libya’ or ‘anti-China’. We are a human rights organization that believes in the value of each and every human being and that each human has basic human rights.

    In this instance, concerning the blockade on the Gaza Strip: the Israeli blockade contravenes international law and as an illegal blockade must be lifted immediately. Israel as the occupying power has the legal obligation to do this and meet its other obligations under international law.

  53. Hamas & the Gazans haven’t paid their electricity bill, that’s why they don’t have power, crows Judo.

    O lucky Israel .. whose rich population gets more than THREE BILLION DOLLARS from US tax payers EVERY YEAR ! You can pay all your bills, & get more from the US again !!

    No such bonanza for starving Gaza……….

    Hamas hasn’t paid ?

    Why, the moment it won the Palestinian elections, Hamas’ legal government was IMMEDIATELY deprived of ALL of Palestine’s revenues by Israel !

    Has Israel returned this money to the elected Hamas government to this day ?

    Does any Israel supporter have the RIGHT to talk about how Hamas & individual Gazans haven’t paid their bills ?

    Which party was it that withheld the other party’s rightful dues to begin with, forcing that other to live in penury & hardship ?

    If i take what belongs to you & withhold it from you, down to the present, can I then acuse you of not paying your dues ?

    Let him whom has never seized the wealth rightfully belonging to another nation, to another government, cast the first stone.

  54. Here we are, talking of the paying of power bills !

    Does Israel let the two Palestinian parties even COMMUNICATE with each other ?

    To wit, does Israel even ALLOW any communication between Gaza & the West Bank, or between Hamas & Fatah, without threatening the latter with being left out in the cold just like the Hamas government ?

    Israel keeps closed the openings between the West Bank & Gaza as well.

    It hates to see any thaw in the Palestinian parties’ relations with each other, to see them talk or make up or make peace.

    A state of all – round siege is the only one Israel is able to live with !

  55. Edie, thank you for taking the time to respond. I felt the original post was really unfair and I appreciated you attempting to answer my complaints.

    But I am afraid you are still being highly disingenuous when you say:

    “The blog does not ‘blame’ Israel and actually says, “Gaza’s health sector has been plagued by shortages in equipment and medical supplies during the blockade.” This is absolutely true and continues to this day.”

    Come on now, seriously? You are really going to sit there with a straight face and pretend that in that statement in the above blog, Mr. Mock did not mean to imply Israel was to “blame” for shortages in medical supplies?

    Here is who is to really to blame for drug shortages in Gaza.

    1) The Hamas Ministry of Health makes a determination of which drugs are short in Gazan hospitals and pharmacies, and forwards the order list to the UN and the Red Cross.

    2) Then the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in Ramallah gets involved and tries to assert its authority as it claims to be the only recognized legal government by chaotically going through the medicine order list, deleting parts and adding others.

    3) Then the UN Agency or the Red Cross actually imports into Israel the medicines that made it onto the final version of the list

    4) The medicine arrives in Israel by ship or air cargo, clears Israeli customs quickly and efficiently and immediately loaded onto Red Cross or UN trucks and driven into Gaza.

    5) Due to the cockamamie in-fighting between the PA and Hamas over the drug order list what ends up often happening is the wrong drugs are ordered and arrive in huge surpluses which mostly expire before they can be consumed, while other desperately needed drugs are never ordered at all .

    The Red Cross and the UN report no interference or limitations or any undue customs or inspection delays what so ever of any kind from Israel in dealing with any medicine imports for Gaza. No Israeli restriction is ever applied in any way. Getting the drugs into Israel and onto the aid trucks at the Gaza border is the smallest insignificant part of the whole process.

    As a human rights organization it is Amnesty’s responsibility to speak out against such Palestinian petty bureaucratic rivalries when they cause serious human suffering in Gaza just as loudly as you speak out against Israeli practices you feel contribute to human suffering in Gaza.

    Just as you must speak out against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for allowing this ridiculous dispute over non-payment to result in the cutting off of diesel fuel deliveries to the Gaza Power Plant.

  56. Judo,

    Actually, Amnesty International bases its advocacy work and positions concerning human rights on international humanitarian, human rights and criminal law. Although blogs are a bit more ‘loose’ on subject matter or language, if you read our 'official' reports we talk about Israel’s ‘legal obligations’ or the Palestinian Authority’s ‘legal obligations’ based on (insert law here), etc …

    Personally, as an individual, I agree with you that at times the behavior of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas or any other number of groups, does great harm to the average Palestinian and these “bureaucratic rivalries” are shameful and do cause “serious human suffering” and it should stop, but Amnesty, as an organization, does not comment on internal political rivalries or issues of corruption. (And if they did – you have to admit – a lot of time and space would be spent commenting on intra-Palestinian politics and corruption as well as Israeli corruption and politics.)

    No – as a global human rights organization, there has to be a standard on which to hold parties accountable and that standard are the current laws on the books as accepted by those countries as members of the United Nations or in specific treaties, covenants and conventions they have signed. At this time, political squabbling may be stupid and harmful, but does not violate any specific law.

    And as far as my being "disingenuous" – in my perspective anyway – it's not about who is 'to blame', but bottom-line, who is 'responsible' and thus not only obligated to change behavior and policy, but has the power to do so and immediately improve the conditions on the ground.

  57. Judo– do you concede Edith's point about the inadequacy of the Rafah crossing to transport large quantities of goods to meet the needs of over a million people for import as well as export?

    Edith– Since the Palestinians do have an official government, shouldn't they also be taken to task for their human rights violations, including continually failing to provide needed medicine?

  58. But Israel is not responsible for these particular problems.

    The Red Cross says this problem of medicine shortages in Gaza is caused by the Palestinians bureaucratic bungling and the Israelis don't interfere in any way.

    And Israel is also not responsible for electric shortages. Israel supplies about 70% of Gaza's power with direct connections to the Israeli power grid over high voltage power lines. This has never been cut or reduced in all these years of fighting.

    The Gaza Power Plant whose fuel was cut off by the the other rival Palestinian group supplies only 20% of the power Gaza consumes, supplying the southern section of Gaza City only. The rest of Gaza outside this one geographic area, so most of the Gaza population, most of the the hospitals, sewage treatment plants, water pumping stations etc. all have 24 hour uninterrupted power direct from the Israeli power grid.

    Up until September 2010, the European Union each month donated 30 million dollars of diesel fuel they purchased from an Israeli fuel wholesaler, the EU had it trucked to the Gaza border where it was poured into the pipeline head that leads from the Israel side of the border to the Gaza Power Plant. Israel never put a limit on how much fuel the Europeans could supply to this pipeline.

    From September 2010 on the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah demanded and got agreement fro the EU that they in Ramallah instead should get this 30 million dollars a month, promising they would take over the fuel deliveries to Gaza. But now instead of buying the fuel and getting it to Gaza this other group of Palestinians is holding this money till they get a debt from Hamas paid off or some crazy deal like that, the exact details of this dispute seeming more crazy every time I hear about them.

    So the Gaza Power Plant is running dry and in addition the dozen trucks a day of diesel fuel Libya was donating to Gaza which was up till a few months ago being delivered daily to a different pipeline head just over the Egyptian side of the Gaza border has also stopped due to the revolution in Libya. And so as a result of all this 20% of Gaza are having daily blackouts.

    Why is none of this never mentioned Edie? This is a very complex situation with a lot of factors that Israel has no responsibility for.

    Yet it all seems to get constantly dumbed down on this blog to brain dead propagandistic one liners with no connection to objective reality like:
    " Electric blackouts in Gaza. Israel to blame."

    And really sorry if this is off topic but in rural Africa, about 600 million people, this number projected to grow to 1 billion by 2030, live in 24 hour a day, 365 day a year electric blackout, a permanent lifetime electric blackout, and this should at least be mentioned in this context.

  59. As the article I posted above from the UN office of Humanitarian Affairs describes, the Palestinians would absolutely love to have the Raffa border crossing to Egypt opened to commercial goods traffic of all kinds. But a lot of groups are making a lot of money off of smuggling, including Hamas, so, it remains closed.

    I don't understand why in any way that it is true that "inadequacy of the Rafah crossing to transport large quantities of goods"

    The Palestinians are excellent builders and engineers, For example I even understand they can even construct hundreds of underground tunnels big enough to be able to transport cars and livestock. Raffa is a border crossing, no more no less. It has a gate and some border guards. It could be widened in about three days to enable passage of as much goods and people as could ever be required.

    Gaza has no deep water anchorage so large cargo ships can not dock in Gaza. El Arish Egypt, only 30 km from the Gaza Rafa border crossing we are talking about has a fully modern deep water container ship port that could unload and truck to Gaza a thousand of tons a day of cargo if needed.

    I just do not understand this whole issue. Why exactly could Rafa not serve as Gaza's main point of entry ? There is absolutely no technical reason why not.

  60. Judo,

    Actually, Amnesty International bases its advocacy work and positions concerning human rights on international humanitarian, human rights and criminal law. Although blogs are a bit more ‘loose’ on subject matter or language, if you read our ‘official’ reports we talk about Israel’s ‘legal obligations’ or the Palestinian Authority’s ‘legal obligations’ based on (insert law here), etc …

    Personally, as an individual, I agree with you that at times the behavior of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas or any other number of groups, does great harm to the average Palestinian and these “bureaucratic rivalries” are shameful and do cause “serious human suffering” and it should stop, but Amnesty, as an organization, does not comment on internal political rivalries or issues of corruption. (And if they did – you have to admit – a lot of time and space would be spent commenting on intra-Palestinian politics and corruption as well as Israeli corruption and politics.)

    No – as a global human rights organization, there has to be a standard on which to hold parties accountable and that standard are the current laws on the books as accepted by those countries as members of the United Nations or in specific treaties, covenants and conventions they have signed. At this time, political squabbling may be stupid and harmful, but does not violate any specific law.

    And as far as my being “disingenuous” – in my perspective anyway – it’s not about who is ‘to blame’, but bottom-line, who is ‘responsible’ and thus not only obligated to change behavior and policy, but has the power to do so and immediately improve the conditions on the ground.

  61. Judo– do you concede Edith’s point about the inadequacy of the Rafah crossing to transport large quantities of goods to meet the needs of over a million people for import as well as export?

    Edith– Since the Palestinians do have an official government, shouldn’t they also be taken to task for their human rights violations, including continually failing to provide needed medicine?

  62. But Israel is not responsible for these particular problems.

    The Red Cross says this problem of medicine shortages in Gaza is caused by the Palestinians bureaucratic bungling and the Israelis don’t interfere in any way.

    And Israel is also not responsible for electric shortages. Israel supplies about 70% of Gaza’s power with direct connections to the Israeli power grid over high voltage power lines. This has never been cut or reduced in all these years of fighting.

    The Gaza Power Plant whose fuel was cut off by the the other rival Palestinian group supplies only 20% of the power Gaza consumes, supplying the southern section of Gaza City only. The rest of Gaza outside this one geographic area, so most of the Gaza population, most of the the hospitals, sewage treatment plants, water pumping stations etc. all have 24 hour uninterrupted power direct from the Israeli power grid.

    Up until September 2010, the European Union each month donated 30 million dollars of diesel fuel they purchased from an Israeli fuel wholesaler, the EU had it trucked to the Gaza border where it was poured into the pipeline head that leads from the Israel side of the border to the Gaza Power Plant. Israel never put a limit on how much fuel the Europeans could supply to this pipeline.

    From September 2010 on the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah demanded and got agreement fro the EU that they in Ramallah instead should get this 30 million dollars a month, promising they would take over the fuel deliveries to Gaza. But now instead of buying the fuel and getting it to Gaza this other group of Palestinians is holding this money till they get a debt from Hamas paid off or some crazy deal like that, the exact details of this dispute seeming more crazy every time I hear about them.

    So the Gaza Power Plant is running dry and in addition the dozen trucks a day of diesel fuel Libya was donating to Gaza which was up till a few months ago being delivered daily to a different pipeline head just over the Egyptian side of the Gaza border has also stopped due to the revolution in Libya. And so as a result of all this 20% of Gaza are having daily blackouts.

    Why is none of this never mentioned Edie? This is a very complex situation with a lot of factors that Israel has no responsibility for.

    Yet it all seems to get constantly dumbed down on this blog to brain dead propagandistic one liners with no connection to objective reality like:
    ” Electric blackouts in Gaza. Israel to blame.”

    And really sorry if this is off topic but in rural Africa, about 600 million people, this number projected to grow to 1 billion by 2030, live in 24 hour a day, 365 day a year electric blackout, a permanent lifetime electric blackout, and this should at least be mentioned in this context.

  63. As the article I posted above from the UN office of Humanitarian Affairs describes, the Palestinians would absolutely love to have the Raffa border crossing to Egypt opened to commercial goods traffic of all kinds. But a lot of groups are making a lot of money off of smuggling, including Hamas, so, it remains closed.

    I don’t understand why in any way that it is true that “inadequacy of the Rafah crossing to transport large quantities of goods”

    The Palestinians are excellent builders and engineers, For example I even understand they can even construct hundreds of underground tunnels big enough to be able to transport cars and livestock. Raffa is a border crossing, no more no less. It has a gate and some border guards. It could be widened in about three days to enable passage of as much goods and people as could ever be required.

    Gaza has no deep water anchorage so large cargo ships can not dock in Gaza. El Arish Egypt, only 30 km from the Gaza Rafa border crossing we are talking about has a fully modern deep water container ship port that could unload and truck to Gaza a thousand of tons a day of cargo if needed.

    I just do not understand this whole issue. Why exactly could Rafa not serve as Gaza’s main point of entry ? There is absolutely no technical reason why not.

  64. source:

    International Committee Of the Red Cross,
    Israel and the occupied territories: 18-03-2011 Operational Update
    http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/updat

    " The ICRC monitored the supply and stocks of essential drugs and disposables with the aim of ensuring that hospitals could provide an acceptable level of patient care. However, insufficient cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza combined with fuel shortages brought patient care to the brink of crisis on several occasions, in particular when haemodialysis fluid ran short.

    The poor cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza made it difficult to organize a predictable and reliable supply of essential drugs and disposables for Gaza. The ICRC contacted the authorities in an attempt to prevent a negative impact on the patients, and endeavoured to fill urgent gaps when requested. The actions taken by the ICRC included, for example, supplying urgent life-saving medications for organ transplant patients who were down to their last day's supply, and medications for new-born babies with congenital heart defects.

    "The ICRC remains ready to assist the health ministry by sending urgently needed items to Gaza," said Morven Murchison, an ICRC health coordinator. "Nevertheless, this is only a stopgap. The real solution consists in establishing a pipeline for sending drugs and disposables to Gaza according to need."

    The ICRC's support for health-care services focuses on emergency life-saving surgery. In 2010, the ICRC supplied 242 tonnes of drugs and disposables to the health ministry for hospitals in Gaza. The items were used in the emergency surgical treatment of more than 43,000 patients."

  65. source:

    International Committee Of the Red Cross,
    Israel and the occupied territories: 18-03-2011 Operational Update
    http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/updat

    " The ICRC monitored the supply and stocks of essential drugs and disposables with the aim of ensuring that hospitals could provide an acceptable level of patient care. However, insufficient cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza combined with fuel shortages brought patient care to the brink of crisis on several occasions, in particular when haemodialysis fluid ran short.

    The poor cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza made it difficult to organize a predictable and reliable supply of essential drugs and disposables for Gaza. The ICRC contacted the authorities in an attempt to prevent a negative impact on the patients, and endeavoured to fill urgent gaps when requested. The actions taken by the ICRC included, for example, supplying urgent life-saving medications for organ transplant patients who were down to their last day's supply, and medications for new-born babies with congenital heart defects.

    "The ICRC remains ready to assist the health ministry by sending urgently needed items to Gaza," said Morven Murchison, an ICRC health coordinator. "Nevertheless, this is only a stopgap. The real solution consists in establishing a pipeline for sending drugs and disposables to Gaza according to need."

    The ICRC's support for health-care services focuses on emergency life-saving surgery. In 2010, the ICRC supplied 242 tonnes of drugs and disposables to the health ministry for hospitals in Gaza. The items were used in the emergency surgical treatment of more than 43,000 patients."

  66. source:

    International Committee Of the Red Cross,
    Israel and the occupied territories: 18-03-2011 Operational Update
    http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/updat

    " The ICRC monitored the supply and stocks of essential drugs and disposables with the aim of ensuring that hospitals could provide an acceptable level of patient care. However, insufficient cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza combined with fuel shortages brought patient care to the brink of crisis on several occasions, in particular when haemodialysis fluid ran short.

    The poor cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza made it difficult to organize a predictable and reliable supply of essential drugs and disposables for Gaza. The ICRC contacted the authorities in an attempt to prevent a negative impact on the patients, and endeavoured to fill urgent gaps when requested. The actions taken by the ICRC included, for example, supplying urgent life-saving medications for organ transplant patients who were down to their last day's supply, and medications for new-born babies with congenital heart defects.

    "The ICRC remains ready to assist the health ministry by sending urgently needed items to Gaza," said Morven Murchison, an ICRC health coordinator. "Nevertheless, this is only a stopgap. The real solution consists in establishing a pipeline for sending drugs and disposables to Gaza according to need."

    The ICRC's support for health-care services focuses on emergency life-saving surgery. In 2010, the ICRC supplied 242 tonnes of drugs and disposables to the health ministry for hospitals in Gaza. The items were used in the emergency surgical treatment of more than 43,000 patients."

  67. source:

    International Committee Of the Red Cross,
    Israel and the occupied territories: 18-03-2011 Operational Update

    http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/update/2011/palestine-israel-update-2011-03-18.htm

    ” The ICRC monitored the supply and stocks of essential drugs and disposables with the aim of ensuring that hospitals could provide an acceptable level of patient care. However, insufficient cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza combined with fuel shortages brought patient care to the brink of crisis on several occasions, in particular when haemodialysis fluid ran short.

    The poor cooperation between the health ministries in Ramallah and Gaza made it difficult to organize a predictable and reliable supply of essential drugs and disposables for Gaza. The ICRC contacted the authorities in an attempt to prevent a negative impact on the patients, and endeavoured to fill urgent gaps when requested. The actions taken by the ICRC included, for example, supplying urgent life-saving medications for organ transplant patients who were down to their last day’s supply, and medications for new-born babies with congenital heart defects.

    “The ICRC remains ready to assist the health ministry by sending urgently needed items to Gaza,” said Morven Murchison, an ICRC health coordinator. “Nevertheless, this is only a stopgap. The real solution consists in establishing a pipeline for sending drugs and disposables to Gaza according to need.”

    The ICRC’s support for health-care services focuses on emergency life-saving surgery. In 2010, the ICRC supplied 242 tonnes of drugs and disposables to the health ministry for hospitals in Gaza. The items were used in the emergency surgical treatment of more than 43,000 patients.”

  68. New York Times, published June 25, 2011

    GAZA — Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off.

    As pro-Palestinian activists prepare to set sail aboard a flotilla aimed at maintaining an international spotlight on Gaza and pressure on Israel, this isolated Palestinian coastal enclave is experiencing its first real period of economic growth since the siege they are protesting began in 2007.

    “Things are better than a year ago,” said Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University, who has led Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege. “The siege on goods is now 60 to 70 percent over.”

    Ala al-Rafati, the economy minister for Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, said in an interview that nearly 1,000 factories are operating here, and he estimated unemployment at no more than 25 percent after a sharp drop in jobless levels in the first quarter of this year. “Yesterday alone, the Gaza municipality launched 12 projects for paving roads, digging wells and making gardens,” he said.

    In assessing the condition of the 1.6 million people who live in Gaza, there are issues of where to draw the baseline and — often — what motivates the discussion. It has never been among the world’s poorest places. There is near universal literacy and relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world.

    “We have 100 percent vaccination; no polio, measles, diphtheria or AIDS,” said Mahmoud Daher, a World Health Organization official here. “We’ve never had a cholera outbreak.”

    For the past year, Israel has allowed most everything into Gaza but cement, steel and other construction material — other than for internationally supervised projects — because they are worried that such supplies can be used by Hamas for bunkers and bombs.

    So in recent months, tunnels under the southern border that were used to bring in consumer goods have become almost fully devoted to smuggling in building materials.

    Sacks of cement and piles of gravel, Turkish in origin and bought legally in Egypt, are smuggled through the hundreds of tunnels in double shifts, day and night, totaling some 3,000 tons a day. Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian security authorities no longer stop the smugglers. Streets are being paved and buildings constructed.

    “Mubarak was crushing us before,” said Mahmoud Mohammad, a subcontractor whose 10-man crew in Gaza City was unloading steel bars that were carried through the tunnels and were destined for a new restaurant. “Last year we were sitting at home. The contractor I work for has three major projects going.”

    Nearby, Amer Selmi was supervising the building of a three-story, $2 million wedding hall. Most of his materials come from the tunnels.

    Karim Gharbawi is an architect and building designer with 10 projects under way, all of them eight- and nine-story residential properties. He said there were some 130 engineering and design firms in Gaza. Two years ago, none were working. Today, he said, all of them are.

    Another result of the regional changes is the many new cars here. Israel allows in 20 a week, but that does not meet the need. Hundreds of BMWs, pickup trucks and other vehicles have arrived in recent months from Libya, driven through Egypt and sold via the unmonitored tunnels. Dozens of white Kia Sportage models, ubiquitous on the street, are widely thought to have come from the same dealership in Benghazi, Libya, that was looted after the uprising there began.

    Hamas’s control of Gaza appears firmer than ever, and the looser tunnel patrols in Egypt mean greater access to weapons as well. But opinion surveys show that its more secular rival, Fatah, is more popular. That may explain why an attempt at political unity with Fatah is moving slowly: the Hamas leaders here are likely to lose their jobs.

    The hospital supply crisis is a direct result of tensions with Fatah in the West Bank, which has kept the supplies from being shipped here.

    And it has been a year since the Hamas government unsuccessfully sought to impose tighter religious restrictions by banning women from smoking water pipes in public. On a recent afternoon in the new Carino’s restaurant — with billiards, enormous flat-screen televisions, buttery-soft chairs — women without head coverings were smoking freely.

  69. New York Times, published June 25, 2011

    GAZA — Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off.

    As pro-Palestinian activists prepare to set sail aboard a flotilla aimed at maintaining an international spotlight on Gaza and pressure on Israel, this isolated Palestinian coastal enclave is experiencing its first real period of economic growth since the siege they are protesting began in 2007.

    “Things are better than a year ago,” said Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University, who has led Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege. “The siege on goods is now 60 to 70 percent over.”

    Ala al-Rafati, the economy minister for Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, said in an interview that nearly 1,000 factories are operating here, and he estimated unemployment at no more than 25 percent after a sharp drop in jobless levels in the first quarter of this year. “Yesterday alone, the Gaza municipality launched 12 projects for paving roads, digging wells and making gardens,” he said.

    In assessing the condition of the 1.6 million people who live in Gaza, there are issues of where to draw the baseline and — often — what motivates the discussion. It has never been among the world’s poorest places. There is near universal literacy and relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world.

    “We have 100 percent vaccination; no polio, measles, diphtheria or AIDS,” said Mahmoud Daher, a World Health Organization official here. “We’ve never had a cholera outbreak.”

    For the past year, Israel has allowed most everything into Gaza but cement, steel and other construction material — other than for internationally supervised projects — because they are worried that such supplies can be used by Hamas for bunkers and bombs.

    So in recent months, tunnels under the southern border that were used to bring in consumer goods have become almost fully devoted to smuggling in building materials.

    Sacks of cement and piles of gravel, Turkish in origin and bought legally in Egypt, are smuggled through the hundreds of tunnels in double shifts, day and night, totaling some 3,000 tons a day. Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian security authorities no longer stop the smugglers. Streets are being paved and buildings constructed.

    “Mubarak was crushing us before,” said Mahmoud Mohammad, a subcontractor whose 10-man crew in Gaza City was unloading steel bars that were carried through the tunnels and were destined for a new restaurant. “Last year we were sitting at home. The contractor I work for has three major projects going.”

    Nearby, Amer Selmi was supervising the building of a three-story, $2 million wedding hall. Most of his materials come from the tunnels.

    Karim Gharbawi is an architect and building designer with 10 projects under way, all of them eight- and nine-story residential properties. He said there were some 130 engineering and design firms in Gaza. Two years ago, none were working. Today, he said, all of them are.

    Another result of the regional changes is the many new cars here. Israel allows in 20 a week, but that does not meet the need. Hundreds of BMWs, pickup trucks and other vehicles have arrived in recent months from Libya, driven through Egypt and sold via the unmonitored tunnels. Dozens of white Kia Sportage models, ubiquitous on the street, are widely thought to have come from the same dealership in Benghazi, Libya, that was looted after the uprising there began.

    Hamas’s control of Gaza appears firmer than ever, and the looser tunnel patrols in Egypt mean greater access to weapons as well. But opinion surveys show that its more secular rival, Fatah, is more popular. That may explain why an attempt at political unity with Fatah is moving slowly: the Hamas leaders here are likely to lose their jobs.

    The hospital supply crisis is a direct result of tensions with Fatah in the West Bank, which has kept the supplies from being shipped here.

    And it has been a year since the Hamas government unsuccessfully sought to impose tighter religious restrictions by banning women from smoking water pipes in public. On a recent afternoon in the new Carino’s restaurant — with billiards, enormous flat-screen televisions, buttery-soft chairs — women without head coverings were smoking freely.

  70. Judonimh – I happen to have read the New York Times article that you reproduced above, and so immediately realized that you had left out entire paragraphs that didn't support your position. For example, here is one of the omitted paragraphs:

    "So is that the news from Gaza in mid-2011? Yes, but so is this: Thousands of homes that were destroyed in the Israeli antirocket invasion two and a half years ago have not been rebuilt. Hospitals have canceled elective surgery for lack of supplies. Electricity remains maddeningly irregular. The much-publicized opening of the Egyptian border has fizzled, so people remain trapped here. The number of residents living on less than $1.60 a day has tripled in four years. Three-quarters of the population rely on food aid."

    Are you aware that when you leave out entire paragraphs in the middle of a article you are quoting you should indicate that, so the reader is not deceived?

    Bronner's article in the New York Times was much more balanced than the portions you selected to quote (without letting us know you were selecting). In fact, it is titled "Building Boom in Gaza's Ruins Belies Misery That Remains."

  71. Judonimh – In your entry on the 23rd you said that in all the years of fighting Israel had never cut or reduced the supply of electricity to Gaza.

    That is incorrect. The Israeli organization Gisha has tracked this issue – below is an excerpt from a Gisha press release dating from 2008 that gives an example of serious cuts by Israel to the electricity supplied to Gaza.

    Where do you get your information?

    GISHA PRESS RELEASE re Electricity Cuts

    "Starting Tomorrow: Escalation in Collective Punishment of Gaza – Further Electricity Cuts Planned

    Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel * Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement * HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual * Physicians for Human Rights-Israel * The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel * Gaza Community Mental Health Programme * B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories * Al–Haq * Mezan Center for Human Rights * Association for Civil Rights in Israel *

    News Release – for Immediate Release – Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008

    Starting Tomorrow: Escalation in Collective Punishment of Gaza – With Supreme Court Approval

    Further Electricity Cuts Planned

    Human Rights Groups: "Israel is Violating the Rights of Civilians in Gaza and Depriving them of Basic Needs – in Violation of International Law."

    Wed., February 6, 2008: Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 7), Israel will reduce supplies of electricity it sells to Gaza, as part of punitive measures taken against Gaza's civilian population, with the approval of Israel's Supreme Court. The cutbacks to electricity were permitted after Israel's Supreme Court last week rejected a petition by ten Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations challenging Israel's planned reductions to the supplies of electricity and fuel it allows Gaza residents to purchase. The rights groups claimed that the cuts violate international law, because they deliberately harm civilians and deprive them of the energy needed to run vital services. Virtually all of the Gaza Strip's energy is supplied by Israel, directly and indirectly."

  72. Judonimh – I happen to have read the New York Times article that you reproduced above, and so immediately realized that you had left out entire paragraphs that didn’t support your position. For example, here is one of the omitted paragraphs:

    “So is that the news from Gaza in mid-2011? Yes, but so is this: Thousands of homes that were destroyed in the Israeli antirocket invasion two and a half years ago have not been rebuilt. Hospitals have canceled elective surgery for lack of supplies. Electricity remains maddeningly irregular. The much-publicized opening of the Egyptian border has fizzled, so people remain trapped here. The number of residents living on less than $1.60 a day has tripled in four years. Three-quarters of the population rely on food aid.”

    Are you aware that when you leave out entire paragraphs in the middle of a article you are quoting you should indicate that, so the reader is not deceived?

    Bronner’s article in the New York Times was much more balanced than the portions you selected to quote (without letting us know you were selecting). In fact, it is titled “Building Boom in Gaza’s Ruins Belies Misery That Remains.”

  73. Judonimh – In your entry on the 23rd you said that in all the years of fighting Israel had never cut or reduced the supply of electricity to Gaza.

    That is incorrect. The Israeli organization Gisha has tracked this issue – below is an excerpt from a Gisha press release dating from 2008 that gives an example of serious cuts by Israel to the electricity supplied to Gaza.

    Where do you get your information?

    GISHA PRESS RELEASE re Electricity Cuts

    “Starting Tomorrow: Escalation in Collective Punishment of Gaza – Further Electricity Cuts Planned

    Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel * Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement * HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual * Physicians for Human Rights-Israel * The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel * Gaza Community Mental Health Programme * B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories * Al–Haq * Mezan Center for Human Rights * Association for Civil Rights in Israel *

    News Release – for Immediate Release – Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008

    Starting Tomorrow: Escalation in Collective Punishment of Gaza – With Supreme Court Approval

    Further Electricity Cuts Planned

    Human Rights Groups: “Israel is Violating the Rights of Civilians in Gaza and Depriving them of Basic Needs – in Violation of International Law.”

    Wed., February 6, 2008: Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 7), Israel will reduce supplies of electricity it sells to Gaza, as part of punitive measures taken against Gaza’s civilian population, with the approval of Israel’s Supreme Court. The cutbacks to electricity were permitted after Israel’s Supreme Court last week rejected a petition by ten Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations challenging Israel’s planned reductions to the supplies of electricity and fuel it allows Gaza residents to purchase. The rights groups claimed that the cuts violate international law, because they deliberately harm civilians and deprive them of the energy needed to run vital services. Virtually all of the Gaza Strip’s energy is supplied by Israel, directly and indirectly.”