Friday, November 22, 2013

  • Friday, November 22, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
From AFP:
The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated one year after a truce that ended fighting between Israel and the Hamas rulers of the Palestinian enclave, UN officials said Thursday.

"After 12 months the initial hopes for a significant improvement on the ground have not been realized," said James Rawley, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories.

"In fact I am sorry to report that the situation for Gaza's 1.7 million people is worse than it was before the hostilities a year ago" between November 14 and 21, he said.

Speaking at a news conference marking the anniversary, Rawley said the fuel and energy crisis was a primary cause of the situation.

Robert Turner, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, noted the impact of the demolition of smuggling tunnels under the border since Egypt's army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3.

"The closures of the tunnels has led to a near total collapse of private sector constructions, as it compounded the constraints due to the pre-existing ban on construction materials from Israel for the private sector," said the UNRWA chief.

The two officials deplored Israel's decision to ban the import of building materials – including to international agencies – from October 13, following the discovery of a tunnel that Hamas fighters dug to use for attacks.

Oxfam said Gazans were still "trapped under the Israeli blockade and largely cut off from the outside world" despite the ceasefire meant to allow the movement of people and goods in and out of the enclave.

"Exports allowed out of Gaza have dropped by half since 2012 and Palestinian fishermen and farmers continue to be prevented from accessing the most productive areas," it said.
In the past few months, Egypt has severely curtailed the movement of people and goods through Rafah. Egypt has nearly stopped smuggling through the tunnels especially of fuel and construction materials.

Israel started increasing the amount of construction materials into Gaza as a result of Egypt's crackdown, but then Hamas decided to use these materials to build tunnels meant to kidnap Israelis (a war crime.) As a result, Israel decided that it makes no sense to give Hamas materials that can be used to perform terror attacks. Israel still allows construction materials to enter Gaza for specific approved NGO projects, just as it did before.

Hamas has also chosen not to spend its cash on fuel, and is holding Gazans hostage to their negotiations with the PA to get cheaper fuel. Israel is willing to sell whatever fuel is needed.

During the year, Israel has worked closely with Gaza farmers to turn the export industry from one dependent on seasonal products like strawberries into a much more lucrative, year-round export industry of spices. Obviously, the price of spices per kilo is orders of magnitude higher than tomatoes. In October 2013, five truckloads of spices were exported, as opposed to zero in October 2012. That very well might explain why the number of trucks of exports have decreased, assuming it is true - the real question is how much those exports are worth.

But the only party that gets "deplored" by the UN and Oxfam is - Israel. They don't have a bad word to say about the Hamas terror tunnels, nothing negative about Hamas' cynical use of its own people as pawns to pressure others to give it cheap energy, nothing at all to say about Egypt's closing Rafah, and nothing bad to say about Egypt protecting its security by enforcing restrictions on movement to Gaza.

These NGOs swear up and down that they aren't biased against Israel, but their own words prove their one-sided view, day in and day out.

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