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Gaza Closure Choking Palestinians

July 1, 2012

Saturday, February 4. 2006
Gaza closure choking Palestinians

By Laila El-Haddad in Gaza

Friday 03 February 2006, 0:33 Makka Time, 21:33 GMT

The continued closure of Gaza’s commercial lifeline is causing a humanitarian and economic crisis in the Gaza Strip, UN, Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations say.

The crossing, known as Karni or al-Muntar, is Gaza’s only commercial outlet to the outside world. Israeli forces unilaterally shut down the crossing on 14 January based on “intelligence alerts of impending attacks”, according to the Israeli Army.

The closure comes despite an agreement brokered by Condoleeza Rice, the US Secretary of State, late last year that said the passage would operate continuously, especially during the harvest season. According to the UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the closure is costing Palestinians up to $500,000 a day.

Dairy products, baby formula, sugar, rice are amongst items dwindling on the supermarket shelves in Gaza.

In addition, 90 containers of humanitarian supplies, including food and aid, belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), are stuck at Israeli ports, says the group.

Supplies blocked

The UN agency says there is also a shortage of construction materials and medicines including vital children’s vaccinations.

“The Palestinian Ministry of Health is running short on medical supplies and has to rely on emergency stocks. Drugs for anaesthetic use are in particular short supply,” said the report.

Gaza’s main hospital is also facing a shortage of a solution used for hundreds of kidney dialysis patients. The Gaza-based Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights and Israel’s Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) issued a statement jointly condemning the “tightening of the siege” imposed on the Gaza by Israeli occupation forces.

“Since the recent tightening of the closure by closing Karni Crossing, the Gaza Strip’s residents’ humanitarian predicament progressively increases from day to day; many basic foods have been consumed and are no longer available in the local market in the Gaza Strip, in addition to a drastic increase of prices of the remaining quantities of these basic goods,” said the statement.

Israeli forces say they suspected Palestinian groups were digging a tunnel under the crossing. No such tunnel has been found, as the closure nears the end of its third week, Palestinian security sources say.

Friends of Al Aqsa is a voluntary organisation concerned with the defence of
Al Aqsa Haram Sharif and the protection of Palestinian Human Rights.
P.O. Box 5127, Leicester. LE2 0WU. England.
Tel 077 11 823 524
Fax ++ 44 [116] 253 7575


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