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Gaza Running Out Of Food, Water, Medical Supplies

By Countercurrents.org

19 November, 2012

Day 6 of Israel’s Gaza aggression has witnessed further escalation of Israeli attacks on civilians in Gaza with number of deaths mounting, hospitals facing shortage of basic supplies and increased suffering of the Gaza residents. In all, 1,350 targets in Gaza have been struck by Israel since the aggression began. The following reports from mainstream media including Haaretz, a media from Israel, and their live blogs expose a lot of facts:

Families in Gaza are running out of food and water, with most trapped in their homes, enduring power cuts of up to 18 hours a day, said the Save the Children [1].

Medical facilities in Gaza have "severe shortages" of basic supplies such as gauze, antiseptic and IV fluids - if they have not yet already run out of them, said the World Health Organisation [2].

The WHO's Tony Laurance told the BBC hospitals in Gaza were "just about coping" but it would not take much for them to be overwhelmed.

Tony Laurance told: " [Hospitals in Gaza are] in severe shortage of drugs and disposables - cotton wool, gauze, anti-septic, you know, IV fluids and so on. More than half of those kind of items were out of stock before all this began. And that's our worry: You can't just stop everything in a health system and just deal with the casualties."

Wyre Davies BBC Middle East correspondent reported:

We've been down to the main hospital in Gaza a number of times and the emergency wards were full. Every minute medical staff was bringing in new victims of Israeli strikes. The longer this goes one, the more likely they are to run out of materials.

Wyre, however, added:

Today Israel opened one of the main goods crossings into Gaza to allow in several truck loads of medical supplies and other emergency equipment. Supplies in Gaza's hospitals will become critical in the event of a wider conflict.

Paul Danahar BBC Middle East bureau chief reported from Gaza [3]:

"Suddenly hospitals busting with activity. Two children have been brought in, one covered in blood and his brother hysterical"

Paul tweeted:

Half of the casualties arriving at Shifa hospital in #Gaza in last half an hour have been children injured in #Israeli air strikes. The injured arriving at Shifa hospital in Gaza are from an air attack north of Gaza city. Three dead - one woman, two children. Ten injured.

An AP/Guardian, UK, report [4] datelined Gaza City said:

The Palestinian civilian death toll mounted on November 19, 2012 as Israeli aircraft struck densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip in its campaign to quell militant rocket fire menacing nearly half of Israel's population.

Overnight, an airstrike leveled two houses belonging to a single family, killing two children and two adults and injuring 42 people, said Gaza heath official Ashraf al-Kidra. Rescue workers were frantically searching for 12 to 15 people under the rubble.

Shortly after, Israeli aircraft bombarded the remains of the former national security compound in Gaza City. Al-Kidra said flying shrapnel killed one child and wounded others living nearby.

A missile strike on a pickup truck killed three members of the radical Islamic Jihad group, said security officials from the Hamas militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. They spoke anonymously as they were not authorized to talk to journalists.

In all, 84 Palestinians, half of them civilians, have been killed in the five-day onslaught and 720 have been wounded. Three Israeli civilians have died from Palestinian rocket fire and dozens have been wounded.

Israel's decision to step up targeted attacks on leaders in Gaza on Sunday marked a new and risky phase of the operation, given the likelihood of civilian casualties in the crowded territory of 1.6 million Palestinians. The rising civilian toll was likely to intensify pressure on Israel to end the fighting.

International efforts to wrest a cease-fire from the two sides has picked up steam despite the escalated hostilities. The two sides have put forth widely divergent demands, but the failure to end the fighting could touch off an Israeli ground invasion, for which thousands of soldiers, backed by tanks and armored vehicles, have already been mobilized and dispatched to Gaza's border.

Assaulted media

After attacking a media centre used by foreign journalists and pro-Hamas media outlets, Israel appears to have taken over the frequencies of the radio stations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. A message was broadcast in Arabic warning people to stay away from Hamas. It said the IDF [Israeli Defense Force] was "moving toward the second phase of its operation" [5]

Kevin Maguire Daily Mirror associate editor tweeted: Is Israel hitting a block used by intl. media, incl Sky, a bid to stop world seeing what it does in Gaza?

The Foreign Press Association has put out this statement regarding today's attacks on two media centers in Gaza. It references UN Security Council Resolution 1738, which "condemns attacks against journalists in conflict situations".

Mahir Zeynalov, Turkish journalist tweeted: Two Turkish journalists and their driver were wounded in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza this morning.

Paul Danahar BBC Middle East bureau chief said: The IDF has told BBC it knew foreign media were in at least one of the buildings in Gaza when it was hit.

Jenan Moussa, Al Aan TV, tweeted: Bottom line. #Israel knew journalists were in the two buildings they hit in #Gaza and they still hit them. Worrying.

Israel Defense Force tweeted: The sites that we targeted overnight were all positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of months.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Barack Obama last night, according to his party's website. It reported that he thanked the US preseident for America's financial support for Israel's Iron Dome defense system, which has intercepted around third of the rockets fired by Hamas over the last five days.

Martin Horwood Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson told the BBC: "It is a very difficult when you have Hamas on the one side who have clearly not been containing these appalling rocket attacks on the civilian population of Israel - and in a sense are looking as though they're undermining the attempts by the more moderate Palestinian faction, Fatah, who are trying to pursue a diplomatic path through the United Nations at the moment - but on the other side perhaps you have hawks in Israel, who are really not helping the peace process by not over-reacting to this very serious situation."
Iranian lawmakers deny supplying Fajr-5 rockets to Hamas, according to a report on Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam TV network.

In a Haaretz piece, journalists Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Israel is not seeking to topple Hamas, just to rein it in

Israeli navy begins shelling

Jon Donnison BBC News, reported:

In the early hours, the Israeli navy began shelling Gaza from the sea. Artillery fire is generally less accurate than airstrikes. Israel says it was targeting underground rocket launching sites and Hamas training areas.

Noah Browning, Reuters, tweeted: Doctors: 4-yr old girl & uncle sitting on beach killed by #Israel naval shelling
The AFP news agency described the scene at the beachfront Shati refugee camp in Gaza city, where a 13 year-old girl and another man were killed earlier: "Shattered glass littered the floor by a large pool of blood, as women screamed and wept hysterically. A nearby minibus was peppered with holes, its windows all blown out by the blast."

Richard Faulk UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights has said in the op-ed on Al Jazeera's website: Aside from the grievances of each party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "one side is militarily omnipotent and the other side crouches helplessly in fear.

Latipah from Gaza informed in an email: Enormous explosions and continuous bombings have been on-going for the longest I've ever witnessed since the attacks started in Gaza on Wednesday. The warplanes have become indscriminate; shelling houses, TV offices, motobikes, empty lands, even poultry farms, everywhere

John from Great Cacapon, USA, emailed: Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods... and, surprise, surprise - they turn hostile.

IDF says 40 smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Rafah bombed overnight; Gaza stadium used for launching rockets also attacked; 95 Palestinians killed since beginning of operation, nearly 1/3 of them uninvolved. (Gili Cohen) [6]

According to IDF statistics, Israel has attacked over 1,350 targets since the beginning of the current offensive.

PLO official Nabil Shaath tells Palestinian news agency Ma'an negotiations in Cairo have made progress, but that an Israel-Hamas cease-fire "is not likely to take effect in the coming days because Israel is trying to impose its own stipulations ignoring the demands of Hamas and other Palestinian factions." According to Ma'an, Shaath said that Israel initially requested that Hamas hand over all weapons - a request that Hamas refused. Shaath said Hamas said it would agree to stop targeting civilians if there was a truce. He also said that Turkey and Qatar are very active in Egypt-brokered negotiations.

Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports that Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah leader in prison in Israel, has called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Gaza Strip to show "steadfastness and resistance." Bargouti also urged Palestinians to protest against Israeli strikes on Gaza, and denounced "brutal Israeli aggression" in a statement, according to Ma'an's report. Barghouti also reportedly said that Arab countries, particularly Egypt and Jordan, should rethink their relationships with Israel.

Ramzi Hamad, one of the heads of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, says that Hamas and Israel have agreed on 90% of the terms of a cease-fire agreement, according to Al Jazeera. One of the heads of Fatah, Nabil Shaath, who is currently in Cairo, said talks on a cease-fire have entered an advanced stage.


[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20389384

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20386759

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20383756

[4] Ibrahim Barzak, “Palestinian civilian toll climbs in Gaza”, Nov. 19, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10536184

[5] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20383756

[6] Haaretz, Nov. 19, 2012: Live Blog http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/live-blog-day-6-of-israel-s-gaza-offensive-1.478922




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