- Human RightsPalestine
- January 22, 2008
- 11 minutes read
Israel is Effecting Holocaust in Gaza
Palestinians and human rights organizations operating in the Occupied Palestinian territories have accused Israel of effecting a real holocaust against Gaza Strip’s estimated 1.5 million inhabitants following a decision by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to completely sever fuel and electricity supplies to the coastal territory.
Israel, which in 2005 withdrew its occupation troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, retained tight control of all Gaza’s border-crossings, reducing the small crowded territory to a huge detention camp.
Israel drastically stepped up its collective punishment of Gazans following Hamas’s takeover of the Strip in June 2006. The Israeli army, which exerts overwhelming influence on the Israeli political establishment, has also been carrying out nearly daily incursions and attacks inside Gaza resulting in the death and maiming of hundreds of Palestinians in recent weeks. It is widely believed that the vast bulk of the casualties are innocent civilians.
On Sunday, 20 January, more than 90% of Gazans spent the night in total darkness as Israel decided to halt vital fuel supplies, ostensibly to coerce the masses to rise up against Hamas which refuses to lend legitimacy to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The nearly total shutdown of power plants is already causing catastrophic effects and paralyzing vital services all over the Gaza Strip.
Hospital sources reported many deaths caused by the stoppage of electricity supplies.
“Electricity-powered medical machines such as incubators, dialysis and artificial breathing machines as well as many other vital life-saving medical equipment are no longer functioning. This means certain death for patients,” said Omar al-Shawwa, a paramedic at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Al-Shifa hospital is the largest hospital in Gaza and it has been operating on an emergency footing for two years as the delivery of vital medical supplies continued to be restricted by the Israel.
“It is true the Jews are not sending our children to the ovens, but they are killing us using other means,” said a visibly depressed al Shawwa. “Maybe the Europeans and the Americans won’t believe it, but the truth is that the Jews are effecting a real holocaust against our people.”
TV cameras showed hair-raising scenes of dying Palestinian children whose survival depends on certain electricity-powered medical machines. In northern Gaza, a paralyzed child was fluctuating between life and death as members of his family alternately sought to keep him breathing using a manually-operated rubber pump.
Meanwhile, Palestinian and UN officials in Gaza have warned of an impending disaster affecting all walks of life in Gaza.
Hasan Abu Ramadan, a Palestinian economist, said the present humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip would be deepened by the ongoing Israeli blockade on fuel and food supplies. He warned that the Gaza Strip could go from a situation of deep poverty to all out famine, disease and malnutrition.
Abu Ramadan noted that more than 80% of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants were surviving with the help of food aid from international organizations such as URWA.
Another urgent warning was issued by John King, Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza.
Speaking during an impromptu press conference in Gaza Sunday night, King urged the international community to intervene immediately to prevent an imminent humanitarian disaster from occurring.
King pointed out that innocent civilians were paying a heavy price as a result of the current conflict, saying that bakeries were stopping making bread and that hospitals were cold as electricity generators stopped due to fuel shortages.
“Medicine is not available, paper is not available, cement to build graves is not available, even coffins for the dead are not available. There is also a serious food shortage, and the prices of available food are very high.”
King said that everyone in Gaza now had a problem that was exacerbating as time passed. He argued that it was shameful that some circles, an obvious allusion to Israel and its allies, were making arguments about the situation in Gaza.
“I can’t describe in words what is happening in Gaza.”
Meanwhile, extreme right-wing circles in Israel have called on the Israeli government to annihilate Gazans.
In Jewish settlements in and around the West Bank town of Hebron, Jewish settlers were seen dancing in an apparent expression of joy over the tragedy in Gaza, with some of them of them shouting in Hebrew “death to the Arabs” and “Arabs to the Gas chambers.”
Earlier, settlers wielding automatic rifles attacked Palestinians and vandalized their property in Hebron in full view of Israeli occupation soldiers who looked on passively. At least 11 Palestinians were reported injured, with most of them suffering cuts and bruises and other minor injuries.
Since the beginning of 2008, the Israeli occupation army murdered as many as 40 Palestinians and injured hundreds, with many suffering permanent disabilities.
The often pornographic bloodshed prompted UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, John Dugard, to castigate Israel’s indiscriminate killing of Palestinians.
Dugard said Israel ought to have foreseen the loss of life and injury to many civilians when it targeted the Ministry of Interior building in Gaza earlier a few days ago.
The wanton killings, said Dugard, “raises very serious questions about Israel’s respect for international law and its commitments to the peace process.”
He added that Israeli atrocities violated the strict prohibitions on collective punishment contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention.
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