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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Assault on Gaza: Scorecard

Killed:

Palestinians 590 (2800 wounded)

Israelis 9

Latest Twitter: Israeli tank fire kills up to 40 Palestinians at a United Nations school in the #Gaza Strip's Jabaliya refugee camp, medical sources say.

There is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It is worsening each moment. We are talking about major suffering.


The UN has said that there is an "a worsening and an increasingly alarming" humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, told reporters on Monday that officials believed as many as 25 per cent of the 548 people killed in the fighting were civilians and that Gaza's health system, overwhelmed by the more than 2,500 injured, was "increasingly precarious".

"This is, in our view, a humanitarian crisis," Holmes said. "It's very hard for me to see any other way you could describe it, given the conditions in which the population are living."

Holmes added that "cluster munitions are being used", and that it was "a fair presumption" that most of the civilians killed were women and children.
Last night Amy Goodman hosted a debate between UN's Christopher Gunness and Meagan Buren of the Israel Project. You can read the transcript. Here is a portion about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza:
Despite Israeli statements, fears of a humanitarian crisis are growing. The United Nations Food Program has reportedly suspended operations in northern Gaza, where nearly 250,000 people are without electricity. Reports indicate nearly 70 percent of the one-and-a-half million residents of Gaza are now without water. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the rising casualties and running on fuel-powered generators, even as fuel supplies threaten to run out.

I’m joined now by Christopher Gunness, the spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA. He’s on the line with us from Gaza.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Can you describe the situation there, Christopher Gunness?

CHRISTOPHER GUNNESS: It’s absolutely horrifying. The people of Gaza are terrorized. They’re traumatized. And they are trapped.

On the humanitarian front, a million people across the Strip are without electricity, because we’ve been unable to get fuel in, though we did get some fuel in today to the main power plant that’s been shut down since Sunday. At least a quarter of a million people, probably more, are without running water. Our food distribution centers have, all but two of them, managed to keep going, and all but five of our eighteen health clinics have opened.

But when I hear Israeli politicians—excuse me—say that there is no humanitarian crisis, there are plenty of supplies in Gaza, Israel’s obligations as an occupying power do not end when they dump a handful of trucks on the edges of the fence that they’ve built around Gaza. We have to have a humanitarian strategic breathing space around certain facilities so that we can get goods in at the sufficient quantities, namely the Nahal Oz crossing point for industrial-level fuel. And if we can’t get that in, then these one million people without electricity will continue to be without electricity. And we need to get in grain, wheat grain, at the main conveyor belt at the Karni crossing, an industrial-sized crossing. Without that, our food stocks will run out in the next forty-eight hours, and people, particularly those cut-off communities around the fighting in northern Gaza, face the serious threat of hunger.

There is a humanitarian crisis, and it ill-behooves Israeli politicians simply to say there is no shortage of anything in Gaza. There is a shortage of wheat, and there is a shortage of fuel, and that means that people are facing a humanitarian crisis.

This is not war. This is not two equal sides fighting it out. This is not "Oh they are always fighting in the Middle East." This is an assault. There is no comparison between homemade rockets and the massive firepower and invasion of the Israeli military. A million people without water. This response by Israel is pure vengeance. Israel has gone crazy.

We need a ceasefire now.

This is from Starhawk:

Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip are being carried out with F16 fighter jets, Apache helicopters, and naval gunboats all given to Israel by the United States with our tax dollars.

From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F16's and more than $100 million worth of helicopter spare parts for its fleet of Apaches. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel and signed a contract to transfer an addition $1.9 billion worth of littoral combat ships to the Israeli navy. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and "bunker buster" missiles.

Make no mistake about it-Israel's war on the Gaza Strip would not be possible without the jets, helicopters, ships, missiles, and fuel provided by the United States.
We are responsible.

We need a ceasefire now. Hit the streets. Bang pots and pans. Do what it takes to demand the end of the Israeli attack.

Get informed.

End the Occupation

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