This is puzzling to say the least… luckily we can count on the BBC to put us right…
One of Egypt’s responses to the attack by militants in the Sinai peninsula has been a threat to shut down the huge network of smuggling tunnels that cross into the Palestinian territory. Gaza and West Bank correspondent Jon Donnison considers to what extent Gaza is still dependant on the tunnels, and what impact their closure might have.
Also, a letter to the editor slipped under the radar in todays VG:
WHERE ARE YOU, MADS GILBERT?
Verdens Gang 2012 08 20 p 26
Birger Paulsen, Not Online
Letter to the editor, asking why pal-activist Mads Gilbert is so conspicuously absent when it comes to aiding Syrians.
THIS IS (ALSO) GAZA
Ny Tid, issue of August 16th 2012 p 17-23
Ahmad al Kabariti
This article is on the economic status of the Gaza strip at present, dealing with the myths of poverty and misery, describing the booming constructions industry, and the construction of luxury hotels along the seafront, also the ostentatious lifestyle of the privileged and the degree to which luxury articles, cars in particular, are available to the Gazans- if they can pay. These cars are often having Libyan license plates, having been sold by Libyan refugees in Egypt, later on to be smuggled through the tunnels to Gaza. Prices of vehicles range between 10 000- 100 000 USD. Yet, still 3/4ths of the population are dependent on handouts from the UNRWA.
This article is illustrated with photos of the more luxurious hotels- reminiscent of Spanish tourist resorts.
THE CHILDREN PAY THE PRICE
Ny Tid, issue of August 16th, p 24-25
Ahmed al Kabariti, Not Online
The Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip hits the smallest ones hardest. The Palestinian Human Rights Center will now map the influence on children of the blockade
Dream. “I hope I can play with my friends in a garden full of threes and slides”, says Ammar al Masri. The skinny then years old is living in the middle of Rafah city; in the south of the Gaza strip.
“I dream of having such toys in front of my home. I have seen it once, in a film from Australia”, he tells.
Since the house of Ammar and his parents was razed by Israeli bulldozers in 2002, they have lived in a building erected by the UN. The 7 refugee camps in Gaza does not have sufficient infrastructure to serve all residents. Local political analysts state it is as much a result of the blockade as of corruption.
“We have nowhere to play here. Heaps of refuse are everywhere; the garbage trucks does not have sufficient gas to collect all this”, says Ammar.
In a pharmacy in the Nusserat refugee camp 33 years old Reham Zinada attempts to negotiate on the price of a box containing infant milk for children with protein allergies.
“I asked for infant milk in the health department outlet; they told me they were sold out. I don’t have enough money to buy it in the pharmacy, my seven months old child is undernourished”, she says.
Seven months old Sami is not alone. According to a report by the Ministry of Heath, hundreds of children are in the same situation.
“One reason for him being sick is that we do not have any incite; we cannot afford to buy food. My husband is a fisherman. He lost his brother in the war while they were out fishing”, she tells.
In today’s Gaza, closed borders have led to 1.59 million Palestinians being confined in 365 square kilometers. They are ever more vulnerable concerning poverty, disease and starvation, according to the Palestinian bureau of statistics.. This figure includes 819 000 children, subject to the consequences of the blockade.
In 1999, the PA attempted to lower the death rates of Palestinian children in their first year of life from 21 per thousand to15. They also attempted to reduce mortality among children throughout heir first 28 days of life. In spite of billions from overseas to support these efforts, little progress has been seen. The children of Gaza are still suffering under a health crisis, a crisis complicated by the conflicts throughout the last years of conflict; reinforced by five years of blockade. The Gaza health authorities are gathering information and developing strategies without much contact with their nation’s professionals,. The blockade extends to all aspects of life. Also the supplies of water and food, as well as problems with contaminated drinking water, as a result of the many black outs. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, (PCHR) is now working on a report mapping children afflicted by the blockade.
Many dead. In early 2012 a fuel crisis cause black outs 12- 18 hours daily. This had great significance to the public health, specifically the children, as water was contaminated and the waste water system disturbed. Samira is 38 years old, lamenting her son Naser who died in the 2009 Gaza war, only four years old.
“Why cannot he come back”, she asks. “Was this his fault? Did he threaten the security of Tel Aviv”?
Throughout this war 114 children died, 500 were wounded.
Before the blockade is raised, the children of Gaza will be without access to basic needs to survive. International aid is of some help, but will never reach the levels needed.