Daily Life in Gaza: Loss, Despair, and Hopelessness

The New York Times today published a major front page story on the daily life in Gaza. The story chronicles the adversity, disunity, and sheer loss that dominates daily life in Gaza, and the Times’ website includes some very powerful images and video footage. Civilians in Gaza suffer from a complete lack of opportunities, high unemployment, and scarce resources, including water and electricity, the article concludes.

Video "Growing Up in Gaza". Screenshot taken from nytimes.com

The article also claims that the root of the current suffering is the loss of opportunity and the inability of Palestinians in Gaza to produce for themselves. Since these options do not exist for Gazans, men stay home throughout the day, some taking sedatives to numb their loss, and women struggle to ease their husband’s pain and fill their children’s bellies. Despite international criticism over the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the international concern over the May 31 flotilla incident, the blockade has continued uninterrupted for three years, and the daily struggles and overwhelming despair of the Palestinian inhabitants of Gaza have been largely overlooked and misrepresented internationally.

We have repeatedly urged the U.S. government and international community to pressure Israel to lift the blockade. In fact, the recent “easing” of the blockade is not sufficient in adequately addressing the daily plight of Gazans. Israel’s blockade of Gaza has left more than 1.4 million Palestinian men, women and children trapped in the Gaza Strip, four in five of which are dependent on humanitarian aid. As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law. The blockade does not target armed groups – who in the past have repeatedly launched indiscriminate attacks against civilians in southern Israel – but rather punishes Gaza’s entire population by restricting the entry of food, medical supplies, educational equipment and building materials. Unsurprisingly, its impact falls most heavily on those most vulnerable among Gaza’s people: children, the elderly and the sick. To end the suffering and restore opportunity and hope to the people of Gaza, a full lifting of the blockade is imperative.

Don’t forget to watch the New York Times video from inside Gaza.

Then, urge the Obama Administration to advocate for a lifting of the blockade!

This entry was posted in Middle East and North Africa and tagged , , , by Christoph Koettl. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christoph Koettl

Christoph Koettl is the Emergency Response Manager at Amnesty International USA and works on urgent human rights situations such as armed conflicts. In his work he focuses on exploring the intersection of technology and human rights, specializing in utilizing satellite imagery or citizen video for human rights research and advocacy. He previously worked and studied in Austria, the Netherlands and Italy and holds an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His expertise is in International Humanitarian Law, conflict analysis, crisis mapping, video validation and social media forensics and he is a regular speaker on technology and human rights. He has testified on war crimes in Sri Lanka before the United States Congress and his work is covered regularly by numerous national and international media, including Associated Press, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and Reuters.
View all posts RSS Feed @ckoettl on Twitter

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

30 thoughts on “Daily Life in Gaza: Loss, Despair, and Hopelessness

  1. Israel is the new Nazi Germany. They are trying their hardest to ethnically cleanse Palestine.

  2. i fully agree with Joe Adams.

    Indeed, israel's definition of Jews is itself based on Hitler's own Nuremberg Laws of Racial Purity.

    It's the unashamedly ethnic agenda based on Hitler's "laws" that shapes & determines the policies of this apartheid state.

    And these policies expropriate all the rights, including the right of return, of the indigenous people of Palestine.

    ************************************************

    How far this poisonous process of Jewish statebuilding has corrupted & corroded the israeli psyche can be seen by one single instance which overshadows Gaza as well.

    israel has a new wing of "self defense" called "Spot & Shoot", in which operators sit before TV monitors & shoot remote controlled bullets at anyone — Palestinian or proPalestinian sympathizer —- who falls within their sights & who looks "suspicious" to them.

    It's a game of "Spot the Terrorist", only it's not a video game — it's a real life murder program with real bullets.

    A new form of extrajudicial instant execution by simple racial or ( in the case of proPalestinian targets ) "political" profiling .

    Already several DOZEN Palestinians have been shot dead by this system, by the israeli programmers' count.

    And one zone this assassination system covers is Gaza — the israeli – maintained freefire "selfdefense" zone surrounding Gaza & entering up to 300 meters INTO this tiny, densely packed open air prison that is the Gaza Strip.

    Any Palestinian or sympathizer approaching or entering this area in a manner the surveillers consider "suspicious" can be shot — & are.

    And do you know what kind of IDF ( israeli army ) personnel operates this monitor system & does the killings for it ?

    i bet you can't guess the answer.

    19 to 20 year old girls of the israeli army.

    Girls, because men can't be spared, for israel faces a growing recruitment crisis — fewer & fewer israelis want to fight, let alone die, for their "country".

    But hey, no problemo — these young & "tender" girls are thoroughly reliable.

    They recently shot & killed a Palestinian demonstrator in his early twenties who entered the freekill zone, & they wounded a European woman videotaping him.

    They only have to clear the murder with a superior before they fire.

    They can even hear the sound of the remote controlled shot.

    And they have never ever failed to follow the order to shoot.

    Not even Hitler commanded willing women executioners.

  3. PS to the above.

    The Palestinian demostrator killed by remote control under the israeli army's "Spot & Shoot" execution system inside the israeli army's self – designated "buffer zone" around Gaza was 21 years old.

    He was trying to plant a Plestinian flag in the area.

    The woman wounded while videoing the event is a Maltese, name of Bianca Zammit.

    The buffer zone is an UNMARKED area.

  4. Israel is the new Nazi Germany. They are trying their hardest to ethnically cleanse Palestine.

  5. i fully agree with Joe Adams.

    Indeed, israel’s definition of Jews is itself based on Hitler’s own Nuremberg Laws of Racial Purity.

    It’s the unashamedly ethnic agenda based on Hitler’s “laws” that shapes & determines the policies of this apartheid state.

    And these policies expropriate all the rights, including the right of return, of the indigenous people of Palestine.

    ************************************************

    How far this poisonous process of Jewish statebuilding has corrupted & corroded the israeli psyche can be seen by one single instance which overshadows Gaza as well.

    israel has a new wing of “self defense” called “Spot & Shoot”, in which operators sit before TV monitors & shoot remote controlled bullets at anyone — Palestinian or proPalestinian sympathizer —- who falls within their sights & who looks “suspicious” to them.

    It’s a game of “Spot the Terrorist”, only it’s not a video game — it’s a real life murder program with real bullets.

    A new form of extrajudicial instant execution by simple racial or ( in the case of proPalestinian targets ) “political” profiling .

    Already several DOZEN Palestinians have been shot dead by this system, by the israeli programmers’ count.

    And one zone this assassination system covers is Gaza — the israeli – maintained freefire “selfdefense” zone surrounding Gaza & entering up to 300 meters INTO this tiny, densely packed open air prison that is the Gaza Strip.

    Any Palestinian or sympathizer approaching or entering this area in a manner the surveillers consider “suspicious” can be shot — & are.

    And do you know what kind of IDF ( israeli army ) personnel operates this monitor system & does the killings for it ?

    i bet you can’t guess the answer.

    19 to 20 year old girls of the israeli army.

    Girls, because men can’t be spared, for israel faces a growing recruitment crisis — fewer & fewer israelis want to fight, let alone die, for their “country”.

    But hey, no problemo — these young & “tender” girls are thoroughly reliable.

    They recently shot & killed a Palestinian demonstrator in his early twenties who entered the freekill zone, & they wounded a European woman videotaping him.

    They only have to clear the murder with a superior before they fire.

    They can even hear the sound of the remote controlled shot.

    And they have never ever failed to follow the order to shoot.

    Not even Hitler commanded willing women executioners.

  6. PS to the above.

    The Palestinian demostrator killed by remote control under the israeli army’s “Spot & Shoot” execution system inside the israeli army’s self – designated “buffer zone” around Gaza was 21 years old.

    He was trying to plant a Plestinian flag in the area.

    The woman wounded while videoing the event is a Maltese, name of Bianca Zammit.

    The buffer zone is an UNMARKED area.

  7. Thanks for all your feedback on this important issue. We understand this is an emotional issue for many but please try to keep your comments civil. We do enforce our “Terms of Use” on this blog.

    We will not tolerate any abusive comments or attacks here. We greatly appreciate and hear your opinions yet we reserve the right to remove any comments that we find offensive, harmful or unrelated to this community.

    Please refer to the Community Guidelines statement if you need further information: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines

    Thanks again for taking the time to provide your feedback.

  8. Thanks for all your feedback on this important issue. We understand this is an emotional issue for many but please try to keep your comments civil. We do enforce our “Terms of Use” on this blog.

    We will not tolerate any abusive comments or attacks here. We greatly appreciate and hear your opinions yet we reserve the right to remove any comments that we find offensive, harmful or unrelated to this community.

    Please refer to the Community Guidelines statement if you need further information: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines

    Thanks again for taking the time to provide your feedback.

  9. Thanks for all your feedback on this important issue. We understand this is an emotional issue for many but please try to keep your comments civil. We do enforce our “Terms of Use” on this blog.

    We will not tolerate any abusive comments or attacks here. We greatly appreciate and hear your opinions yet we reserve the right to remove any comments that we find offensive, harmful or unrelated to this community.

    Please refer to the Community Guidelines statement if you need further information: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines

    Thanks again for taking the time to provide your feedback.

  10. Thanks for all your feedback on this important issue. We understand this is an emotional issue for many but please try to keep your comments civil. We do enforce our “Terms of Use” on this blog.

    We will not tolerate any abusive comments or attacks here. We greatly appreciate and hear your opinions yet we reserve the right to remove any comments that we find offensive, harmful or unrelated to this community.

    Please refer to the Community Guidelines statement if you need further information: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/community-guidelines

    Thanks again for taking the time to provide your feedback.

  11. Dear editors,

    i am so happy to hear your wprds.

    i am in your house, & i will willingly & gladly abide by your rules.

    That's my duty as your guest.

    You show immense patience towards me & my poor words. i see this & know this all the time.

    i'm aware you, like everyone, live & work in the real world, often more real in fact than many do, & you face real pressures & constraints, especially in view of your work, role & position on an unlimited number of critical issues.

    My duty is to help your efforts, not burden them.

    If in future i accidentally ( never deliberately ) cross the line, please, please ( a) criticise me unhesitatingly & severely, & / or ( b ) cover or delete my words.

    i never place any value on them, but treasure your efforts always.

    With the deepest love & respect for you all.

  12. PS.

    Just saw your community guidelines.

    A most clear & wise body of guiding principles for the work at hand.

    Holding fast to your hands.

    All my relations.

  13. Dear editors,

    i am so happy to hear your wprds.

    i am in your house, & i will willingly & gladly abide by your rules.

    That’s my duty as your guest.

    You show immense patience towards me & my poor words. i see this & know this all the time.

    i’m aware you, like everyone, live & work in the real world, often more real in fact than many do, & you face real pressures & constraints, especially in view of your work, role & position on an unlimited number of critical issues.

    My duty is to help your efforts, not burden them.

    If in future i accidentally ( never deliberately ) cross the line, please, please ( a) criticise me unhesitatingly & severely, & / or ( b ) cover or delete my words.

    i never place any value on them, but treasure your efforts always.

    With the deepest love & respect for you all.

  14. PS.

    Just saw your community guidelines.

    A most clear & wise body of guiding principles for the work at hand.

    Holding fast to your hands.

    All my relations.

  15. The Seige without …

    And then, the Seige within …

    Zionist settler state imperialism's like the Snake in the Lakota story which grows & grows & strangulates the People whose Land it comes upon.

    That giant snake now coils around Gaza, choking it tighter & tighter from the OUTSIDE.

    And while our eyes are watching the snake's coils bulging here, the rest of its expanding & flexing body pours as we speak through the West Bank from WITHIN

    sliding along the "Jews – only" Highways & the still growing Wall of Apartheid

    coiling around 6 million olive trees & half a million farmers living a mile within the body of that snaking Wall

    cutting them off from the now barely tended farms, the unattended schools

    asphyxiating the once thriving local businesses & towns & villages & livelihoods

    leaving medical care far beyond the People's timely reach

    a giant & ever hungry snake that never pauses between the prey it swallows

    In fact, the Siege within in the West Bank by israeli law, bureaucracy & settler rapacity is taking an even greater toll on Palestinians in terms of hunger & malnourishment & poverty than it is extracting from among the holdouts in Gaza, who at least are a Cause unto themselves & the world ….

    This is not to belittle Gaza … not at all, for the suffering there is as real, if only more meaningful …

    This is just to keep Gaza in sight of the entire coiling volume of the Snake .

  16. The Seige without …

    And then, the Seige within …

    Zionist settler state imperialism’s like the Snake in the Lakota story which grows & grows & strangulates the People whose Land it comes upon.

    That giant snake now coils around Gaza, choking it tighter & tighter from the OUTSIDE.

    And while our eyes are watching the snake’s coils bulging here, the rest of its expanding & flexing body pours as we speak through the West Bank from WITHIN

    sliding along the “Jews – only” Highways & the still growing Wall of Apartheid

    coiling around 6 million olive trees & half a million farmers living a mile within the body of that snaking Wall

    cutting them off from the now barely tended farms, the unattended schools

    asphyxiating the once thriving local businesses & towns & villages & livelihoods

    leaving medical care far beyond the People’s timely reach

    a giant & ever hungry snake that never pauses between the prey it swallows

    In fact, the Siege within in the West Bank by israeli law, bureaucracy & settler rapacity is taking an even greater toll on Palestinians in terms of hunger & malnourishment & poverty than it is extracting from among the holdouts in Gaza, who at least are a Cause unto themselves & the world ….

    This is not to belittle Gaza … not at all, for the suffering there is as real, if only more meaningful …

    This is just to keep Gaza in sight of the entire coiling volume of the Snake .

  17. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010
    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/08/07

    As you approach Gaza's main dump by road you see a massive wall of trash looming over the plain.

    It's crawling with around one hundred scavenger dogs and dozens of poor children, combing through the trash for anything they can sell.

    In this cesspit of disease is 20 percent of all the donated medicine Gaza has received since the end of the January 2009 war with Israel.

    The Health Ministry in the deposed government of Hamas and the World Health Organisation say this aid had already expired or was close to expiring, before it arrived in Gaza.

    So now officials are left with the job of disposing of it. But how? Gaza doesn't have the proper facilities to do it, so it's dumped in a landfill and bulldozed along with the rest of the garbage.

    Millions of dollars of aid – going to waste.

    Men use their bare hands to push boxes of medicine off the back of a truck, into the dump. The stench is disgusting and flies are everywhere.

    Not only are donors sending expired medicine, the Health Ministry says most of the aid they receive is unsuitable, poor quality, and the wrong types of drugs.

    As for medical equipment, doctors say it's often outdated, up to 10 years old, broken, and incompatible with the local electricity supply.

    In total, the Ministry claims they have to dispose of 70 percent of all the medical aid they've received in the last 18 months.

    A dumping ground for aid?

    One doctor told us he believes Gaza has become a dumping ground for aid. But Gaza isn't alone. He says sometimes medicine is sent to El Arish in Egypt, before going overland to Gaza. When Gaza’s officials are told it's expired, they reject it, and it's then sent to Darfur in Sudan!

    The Health Ministry says two months ago it received $2 million worth of Tamiflu drugs for the H1N1 virus, enough for a third of Gaza's population. The ministry didn't want these drugs, saying the H1N1 threat had passed. So the Tamiflu is also in the rubbish dump now.

    They also say sometimes donors send huge supplies of drugs, more than Gaza could use in five years. Unable to get through it all, it expires and has to be dumped.

    Co-ordination with Hamas

    Dr Ehab Hjazi, the Head of the Donations Committee in the Health Ministry for the deposed government of Hamas, says if countries and organisations co-ordinated with the ministry directly, they would find out exactly what Gaza needs. And the list is long. Hospitals are critically short of 115 drugs, including antibiotics and cancer drugs.

    But while Hamas is listed in many countries as a 'terrorist' group, donors' hands are tied. If they deal with Hamas, they risk being banned and losing their funding.

    However, donors can find out what Gaza needs from the World Health Organisation.

    So it''s time for the international community to get it right.

    Sending millions of dollars worth of aid may give a country or Non Government Organisation (NGO) some positive short-term publicity. But if it's ending up in landfill where children and dogs sift through it, then it's more than a problem for the people of Gaza, it's an insult.

  18. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010

    The Gaza Strip's only power station has been shut down due to a fuel dispute between the territory's de facto Hamas government, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel.

    The plant, which supplies 25 per cent of Gaza's power, was closed on Saturday, according to a Palestinian official.

    It was the third time the plant has shut down since January, according to the Ma'an News Agency,which reports from the Palestinian territories.

    The Gaza Power Authority said the PA had failed to pay Israel, through which the Gaza plant's diesel fuel is routed.

    But the PA government has placed the blame on rival Hamas, saying that Gazans are allowed to avoid electricity bills that would help pay for the fuel.

    Ghassan Khatib, a spokesperson for the PA, told the Associated Press news agency that Hamas, which is meant to collect the power bills and send them to the West Bank, has only been sending an average of $1.3 million a month, far less than the $9 million the PA pays for fuel.

    "We need some transparency here. There has to be some kind of audit," Khatib said.

    Limited supplies

    Fuel imports into Gaza have declined since November, when responsibility for buying Gaza's fuel transferred from an aid programme run by the European Commission – the executive body of the European Union – to the PA.

    Gaza received a limited supply of fuel on Thursday and may receive another shipment Sunday, but for now electricity will be provided in a rotation with six hours on being followed by 12 hours off, Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reported from Gaza.

    Most businesses have their own generators to deal with power shortages, but they take around a minute to turn on, which can be crucial for a patient at a hospital relying on one, Johnston said.

    The shut down also comes at a time when it could be particularly politically damaging to Hamas and the PA, with temperatures in Gaza routinely soaring into the mid-30s over the summer months.

    Israel supplies around 70 per cent of Gaza's power, and Egypt supplies around five per cent, with remainder coming from the plant.

    Hamas and the PA have been fiercely divided since Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, pushing out security forces loyal to Mahmod Abbas, the Palestinian president.

  19. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010
    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/08/07

    As you approach Gaza's main dump by road you see a massive wall of trash looming over the plain.

    It's crawling with around one hundred scavenger dogs and dozens of poor children, combing through the trash for anything they can sell.

    In this cesspit of disease is 20 percent of all the donated medicine Gaza has received since the end of the January 2009 war with Israel.

    The Health Ministry in the deposed government of Hamas and the World Health Organisation say this aid had already expired or was close to expiring, before it arrived in Gaza.

    So now officials are left with the job of disposing of it. But how? Gaza doesn't have the proper facilities to do it, so it's dumped in a landfill and bulldozed along with the rest of the garbage.

    Millions of dollars of aid – going to waste.

    Men use their bare hands to push boxes of medicine off the back of a truck, into the dump. The stench is disgusting and flies are everywhere.

    Not only are donors sending expired medicine, the Health Ministry says most of the aid they receive is unsuitable, poor quality, and the wrong types of drugs.

    As for medical equipment, doctors say it's often outdated, up to 10 years old, broken, and incompatible with the local electricity supply.

    In total, the Ministry claims they have to dispose of 70 percent of all the medical aid they've received in the last 18 months.

    A dumping ground for aid?

    One doctor told us he believes Gaza has become a dumping ground for aid. But Gaza isn't alone. He says sometimes medicine is sent to El Arish in Egypt, before going overland to Gaza. When Gaza’s officials are told it's expired, they reject it, and it's then sent to Darfur in Sudan!

    The Health Ministry says two months ago it received $2 million worth of Tamiflu drugs for the H1N1 virus, enough for a third of Gaza's population. The ministry didn't want these drugs, saying the H1N1 threat had passed. So the Tamiflu is also in the rubbish dump now.

    They also say sometimes donors send huge supplies of drugs, more than Gaza could use in five years. Unable to get through it all, it expires and has to be dumped.

    Co-ordination with Hamas

    Dr Ehab Hjazi, the Head of the Donations Committee in the Health Ministry for the deposed government of Hamas, says if countries and organisations co-ordinated with the ministry directly, they would find out exactly what Gaza needs. And the list is long. Hospitals are critically short of 115 drugs, including antibiotics and cancer drugs.

    But while Hamas is listed in many countries as a 'terrorist' group, donors' hands are tied. If they deal with Hamas, they risk being banned and losing their funding.

    However, donors can find out what Gaza needs from the World Health Organisation.

    So it''s time for the international community to get it right.

    Sending millions of dollars worth of aid may give a country or Non Government Organisation (NGO) some positive short-term publicity. But if it's ending up in landfill where children and dogs sift through it, then it's more than a problem for the people of Gaza, it's an insult.

  20. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010
    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/08/07

    As you approach Gaza's main dump by road you see a massive wall of trash looming over the plain.

    It's crawling with around one hundred scavenger dogs and dozens of poor children, combing through the trash for anything they can sell.

    In this cesspit of disease is 20 percent of all the donated medicine Gaza has received since the end of the January 2009 war with Israel.

    The Health Ministry in the deposed government of Hamas and the World Health Organisation say this aid had already expired or was close to expiring, before it arrived in Gaza.

    So now officials are left with the job of disposing of it. But how? Gaza doesn't have the proper facilities to do it, so it's dumped in a landfill and bulldozed along with the rest of the garbage.

    Millions of dollars of aid – going to waste.

    Men use their bare hands to push boxes of medicine off the back of a truck, into the dump. The stench is disgusting and flies are everywhere.

    Not only are donors sending expired medicine, the Health Ministry says most of the aid they receive is unsuitable, poor quality, and the wrong types of drugs.

    As for medical equipment, doctors say it's often outdated, up to 10 years old, broken, and incompatible with the local electricity supply.

    In total, the Ministry claims they have to dispose of 70 percent of all the medical aid they've received in the last 18 months.

    A dumping ground for aid?

    One doctor told us he believes Gaza has become a dumping ground for aid. But Gaza isn't alone. He says sometimes medicine is sent to El Arish in Egypt, before going overland to Gaza. When Gaza’s officials are told it's expired, they reject it, and it's then sent to Darfur in Sudan!

    The Health Ministry says two months ago it received $2 million worth of Tamiflu drugs for the H1N1 virus, enough for a third of Gaza's population. The ministry didn't want these drugs, saying the H1N1 threat had passed. So the Tamiflu is also in the rubbish dump now.

    They also say sometimes donors send huge supplies of drugs, more than Gaza could use in five years. Unable to get through it all, it expires and has to be dumped.

    Co-ordination with Hamas

    Dr Ehab Hjazi, the Head of the Donations Committee in the Health Ministry for the deposed government of Hamas, says if countries and organisations co-ordinated with the ministry directly, they would find out exactly what Gaza needs. And the list is long. Hospitals are critically short of 115 drugs, including antibiotics and cancer drugs.

    But while Hamas is listed in many countries as a 'terrorist' group, donors' hands are tied. If they deal with Hamas, they risk being banned and losing their funding.

    However, donors can find out what Gaza needs from the World Health Organisation.

    So it''s time for the international community to get it right.

    Sending millions of dollars worth of aid may give a country or Non Government Organisation (NGO) some positive short-term publicity. But if it's ending up in landfill where children and dogs sift through it, then it's more than a problem for the people of Gaza, it's an insult.

  21. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010

    The Gaza Strip's only power station has been shut down due to a fuel dispute between the territory's de facto Hamas government, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel.

    The plant, which supplies 25 per cent of Gaza's power, was closed on Saturday, according to a Palestinian official.

    It was the third time the plant has shut down since January, according to the Ma'an News Agency,which reports from the Palestinian territories.

    The Gaza Power Authority said the PA had failed to pay Israel, through which the Gaza plant's diesel fuel is routed.

    But the PA government has placed the blame on rival Hamas, saying that Gazans are allowed to avoid electricity bills that would help pay for the fuel.

    Ghassan Khatib, a spokesperson for the PA, told the Associated Press news agency that Hamas, which is meant to collect the power bills and send them to the West Bank, has only been sending an average of $1.3 million a month, far less than the $9 million the PA pays for fuel.

    "We need some transparency here. There has to be some kind of audit," Khatib said.

    Limited supplies

    Fuel imports into Gaza have declined since November, when responsibility for buying Gaza's fuel transferred from an aid programme run by the European Commission – the executive body of the European Union – to the PA.

    Gaza received a limited supply of fuel on Thursday and may receive another shipment Sunday, but for now electricity will be provided in a rotation with six hours on being followed by 12 hours off, Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reported from Gaza.

    Most businesses have their own generators to deal with power shortages, but they take around a minute to turn on, which can be crucial for a patient at a hospital relying on one, Johnston said.

    The shut down also comes at a time when it could be particularly politically damaging to Hamas and the PA, with temperatures in Gaza routinely soaring into the mid-30s over the summer months.

    Israel supplies around 70 per cent of Gaza's power, and Egypt supplies around five per cent, with remainder coming from the plant.

    Hamas and the PA have been fiercely divided since Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, pushing out security forces loyal to Mahmod Abbas, the Palestinian president.

  22. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010

    The Gaza Strip's only power station has been shut down due to a fuel dispute between the territory's de facto Hamas government, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel.

    The plant, which supplies 25 per cent of Gaza's power, was closed on Saturday, according to a Palestinian official.

    It was the third time the plant has shut down since January, according to the Ma'an News Agency,which reports from the Palestinian territories.

    The Gaza Power Authority said the PA had failed to pay Israel, through which the Gaza plant's diesel fuel is routed.

    But the PA government has placed the blame on rival Hamas, saying that Gazans are allowed to avoid electricity bills that would help pay for the fuel.

    Ghassan Khatib, a spokesperson for the PA, told the Associated Press news agency that Hamas, which is meant to collect the power bills and send them to the West Bank, has only been sending an average of $1.3 million a month, far less than the $9 million the PA pays for fuel.

    "We need some transparency here. There has to be some kind of audit," Khatib said.

    Limited supplies

    Fuel imports into Gaza have declined since November, when responsibility for buying Gaza's fuel transferred from an aid programme run by the European Commission – the executive body of the European Union – to the PA.

    Gaza received a limited supply of fuel on Thursday and may receive another shipment Sunday, but for now electricity will be provided in a rotation with six hours on being followed by 12 hours off, Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reported from Gaza.

    Most businesses have their own generators to deal with power shortages, but they take around a minute to turn on, which can be crucial for a patient at a hospital relying on one, Johnston said.

    The shut down also comes at a time when it could be particularly politically damaging to Hamas and the PA, with temperatures in Gaza routinely soaring into the mid-30s over the summer months.

    Israel supplies around 70 per cent of Gaza's power, and Egypt supplies around five per cent, with remainder coming from the plant.

    Hamas and the PA have been fiercely divided since Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, pushing out security forces loyal to Mahmod Abbas, the Palestinian president.

  23. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010

    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/08/07/what-waste

    As you approach Gaza’s main dump by road you see a massive wall of trash looming over the plain.

    It’s crawling with around one hundred scavenger dogs and dozens of poor children, combing through the trash for anything they can sell.

    In this cesspit of disease is 20 percent of all the donated medicine Gaza has received since the end of the January 2009 war with Israel.

    The Health Ministry in the deposed government of Hamas and the World Health Organisation say this aid had already expired or was close to expiring, before it arrived in Gaza.

    So now officials are left with the job of disposing of it. But how? Gaza doesn’t have the proper facilities to do it, so it’s dumped in a landfill and bulldozed along with the rest of the garbage.

    Millions of dollars of aid – going to waste.

    Men use their bare hands to push boxes of medicine off the back of a truck, into the dump. The stench is disgusting and flies are everywhere.

    Not only are donors sending expired medicine, the Health Ministry says most of the aid they receive is unsuitable, poor quality, and the wrong types of drugs.

    As for medical equipment, doctors say it’s often outdated, up to 10 years old, broken, and incompatible with the local electricity supply.

    In total, the Ministry claims they have to dispose of 70 percent of all the medical aid they’ve received in the last 18 months.

    A dumping ground for aid?

    One doctor told us he believes Gaza has become a dumping ground for aid. But Gaza isn’t alone. He says sometimes medicine is sent to El Arish in Egypt, before going overland to Gaza. When Gaza’s officials are told it’s expired, they reject it, and it’s then sent to Darfur in Sudan!

    The Health Ministry says two months ago it received $2 million worth of Tamiflu drugs for the H1N1 virus, enough for a third of Gaza’s population. The ministry didn’t want these drugs, saying the H1N1 threat had passed. So the Tamiflu is also in the rubbish dump now.

    They also say sometimes donors send huge supplies of drugs, more than Gaza could use in five years. Unable to get through it all, it expires and has to be dumped.

    Co-ordination with Hamas

    Dr Ehab Hjazi, the Head of the Donations Committee in the Health Ministry for the deposed government of Hamas, says if countries and organisations co-ordinated with the ministry directly, they would find out exactly what Gaza needs. And the list is long. Hospitals are critically short of 115 drugs, including antibiotics and cancer drugs.

    But while Hamas is listed in many countries as a ‘terrorist’ group, donors’ hands are tied. If they deal with Hamas, they risk being banned and losing their funding.

    However, donors can find out what Gaza needs from the World Health Organisation.

    So it”s time for the international community to get it right.

    Sending millions of dollars worth of aid may give a country or Non Government Organisation (NGO) some positive short-term publicity. But if it’s ending up in landfill where children and dogs sift through it, then it’s more than a problem for the people of Gaza, it’s an insult.

  24. Al Jezeera, August 7th, 2010

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/20108792815777160.html

    The Gaza Strip’s only power station has been shut down due to a fuel dispute between the territory’s de facto Hamas government, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel.

    The plant, which supplies 25 per cent of Gaza’s power, was closed on Saturday, according to a Palestinian official.

    It was the third time the plant has shut down since January, according to the Ma’an News Agency,which reports from the Palestinian territories.

    The Gaza Power Authority said the PA had failed to pay Israel, through which the Gaza plant’s diesel fuel is routed.

    But the PA government has placed the blame on rival Hamas, saying that Gazans are allowed to avoid electricity bills that would help pay for the fuel.

    Ghassan Khatib, a spokesperson for the PA, told the Associated Press news agency that Hamas, which is meant to collect the power bills and send them to the West Bank, has only been sending an average of $1.3 million a month, far less than the $9 million the PA pays for fuel.

    “We need some transparency here. There has to be some kind of audit,” Khatib said.

    Limited supplies

    Fuel imports into Gaza have declined since November, when responsibility for buying Gaza’s fuel transferred from an aid programme run by the European Commission – the executive body of the European Union – to the PA.

    Gaza received a limited supply of fuel on Thursday and may receive another shipment Sunday, but for now electricity will be provided in a rotation with six hours on being followed by 12 hours off, Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reported from Gaza.

    Most businesses have their own generators to deal with power shortages, but they take around a minute to turn on, which can be crucial for a patient at a hospital relying on one, Johnston said.

    The shut down also comes at a time when it could be particularly politically damaging to Hamas and the PA, with temperatures in Gaza routinely soaring into the mid-30s over the summer months.

    Israel supplies around 70 per cent of Gaza’s power, and Egypt supplies around five per cent, with remainder coming from the plant.

    Hamas and the PA have been fiercely divided since Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, pushing out security forces loyal to Mahmod Abbas, the Palestinian president.

  25. Gaza power plant shuts down citing lack of fuel

    By IBRAHIM BARZAK (AP) – 15 hours ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Engineers shut down Gaza City's sole power plant on Saturday because of a lack of fuel, switching off electricity to some half a million people in the midst of a heat wave.

    The fuel for the plant is supplied by the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank, which says it has reduced shipments because the Gaza's Hamas government is behind on payments.

    "The electricity was cut in Gaza City because of there wasn't enough fuel for the station," said power station official Suheil Skeik.

    The plant serves Gaza City and its surroundings, while the remaining million people in the rest of the tiny coastal territory rely on neighboring Egypt and Israel for their power needs.

    An engineer at the plant said an emergency fuel shipment was expected on Sunday, which would allow them to restart one of the plant's four turbines and supply a few hours of power.

    For the past few months the plant has supplied just six to 10 hours of power a day because of the ongoing problems with getting enough fuel from the West Bank government.

    Gazans who can afford to buy generators use them to supplement the shortage. The noisy machines crowd the sidewalk and fill the air with gasoline fumes in Gaza City's commercial district.

    But a complete power cut is expected to deepen the misery in Gaza, where residents have suffered through a sweltering heat wave — severe even by the standards of this hot, dry seaside enclave. Temperatures have soared well over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) for the past few weeks.

    Gaza's rulers, the militant Islamic group Hamas, are meant to collect utility bills and send the cash to their rivals, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which use it to buy the fuel.

    Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib says Hamas isn't sending enough money, and on average, they were receiving only $1.3 million a month from the distribution company, while they were paying $9 million for the fuel.

    "We need some transparency here. There has to be some kind of audit," Khatib said.

    Skeik, the power station official, said the plant sent about $1 million last week, and expected to send another million in coming days.

    Although the Palestinian Authority hasn't had a presence in Gaza since Hamas seized power over the territory in June 2007, it receives aid from the international community to pay for part of Gaza's bills.

  26. Gaza power plant shuts down citing lack of fuel

    By IBRAHIM BARZAK (AP) – 15 hours ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Engineers shut down Gaza City’s sole power plant on Saturday because of a lack of fuel, switching off electricity to some half a million people in the midst of a heat wave.

    The fuel for the plant is supplied by the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank, which says it has reduced shipments because the Gaza’s Hamas government is behind on payments.

    “The electricity was cut in Gaza City because of there wasn’t enough fuel for the station,” said power station official Suheil Skeik.

    The plant serves Gaza City and its surroundings, while the remaining million people in the rest of the tiny coastal territory rely on neighboring Egypt and Israel for their power needs.

    An engineer at the plant said an emergency fuel shipment was expected on Sunday, which would allow them to restart one of the plant’s four turbines and supply a few hours of power.

    For the past few months the plant has supplied just six to 10 hours of power a day because of the ongoing problems with getting enough fuel from the West Bank government.

    Gazans who can afford to buy generators use them to supplement the shortage. The noisy machines crowd the sidewalk and fill the air with gasoline fumes in Gaza City’s commercial district.

    But a complete power cut is expected to deepen the misery in Gaza, where residents have suffered through a sweltering heat wave — severe even by the standards of this hot, dry seaside enclave. Temperatures have soared well over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) for the past few weeks.

    Gaza’s rulers, the militant Islamic group Hamas, are meant to collect utility bills and send the cash to their rivals, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which use it to buy the fuel.

    Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib says Hamas isn’t sending enough money, and on average, they were receiving only $1.3 million a month from the distribution company, while they were paying $9 million for the fuel.

    “We need some transparency here. There has to be some kind of audit,” Khatib said.

    Skeik, the power station official, said the plant sent about $1 million last week, and expected to send another million in coming days.

    Although the Palestinian Authority hasn’t had a presence in Gaza since Hamas seized power over the territory in June 2007, it receives aid from the international community to pay for part of Gaza’s bills.

  27. 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 politicised: that is the main reason the system is failing.”

  28. 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 politicised: that is the main reason the system is failing.”