Bearing Witness

Gaza in crisis: Israel turns away UN food convoy at border; blackouts as power plant shuts down

Israel went back on a pledge to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, turning away critical deliveries of fuel and food at the borders for the seventh consecutive day.

In reneging on its pledge, Israel blocked delivery of United Nations food aid intended for 750,000 Palestinians.

Gaza was plunged into darkness as the territory’s only power plant shut down at 6:00pm local time due to a lack of fuel. Just before dark, Palestinans went into the streets in a frantic search for candles and bread.

As night fell, sirens sounded accross the Gaza Strip in protest of the closure.

Earlier in the day, 20 European consuls who planned to visit Gaza were turned away at the Erez border crossing. Aid workers were also denied entry to the Strip and medical patients were prevented from entering Israel for treatment.

John Ging, the director of UN operations in Gaza, warned of an impending “humanitarian disaster” if Israel continues to bar food and other supplies from the territory.

“We cannot describe the situation in the Gaza Strip except as a terrible and terrifying one. There are 750,000 refugees who depend on what we offer them in food supplies. Israel is preventing us from distributing these supplies,” he told Ma’an.

Ging said UN food storehouses are nearly empty. He said the Israeli closure, in that it punishes civilians, is a violation of international law.

* This article was taken from the Maan News Agency.


November 13, 2008 - Posted by | Media | , ,

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