Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The situation in Gaza has reached a crisis point

For over a year, Israel has blockaded Gaza and prevented the movement of people and basic goods and services in and out of the small Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean Sea.

On November 4th, the situation worsened when Israel tightened the blockade further, preventing food, fuel and humanitarian aid from entering the region...

The Status Today

* Unemployment is at 45%, the highest in the world according to a UN Report.

* United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), the main UN aid agency in Gaza, has announced that its supplies have run out. Approximately 80% of Gazans rely on the agency's resources for daily needs.

* 70% of Gaza is now without power.

* Diplomats are being denied entry. 20 European diplomats were prevented from entering Gaza on Nov. 14th with no explanation.

* Media are being denied access to Gaza. Foreign Press Association Chairman, Steven Gutnik describes it as "a serious violation of freedom of the press" and said "it is essential that journalists be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip since it is the foreign media that serves as the world's window into Gaza."

* UNRWA has described "unprecedented levels of hardship". It will have to suspend cash assistance to some 98,000 of the poorest people in Gaza due to the unavailability of shekel bank notes in Gaza banks. Mothers being turned away from UNRWA food centers without milk.

* Gaza has a population of 750,000 people and 56% are children.

More info:
Israel Spurns UN Plea to Ease Gaza Blockade, MSNBC, Nov. 19, 2008

Gazans Despair Over Blockade, BBC Nov. 20, 2008

Israel Bans Press in Gaza Strip, Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 26, 2008

Israeli Tanks Rumble into Gaza, Raze Farmland, USA Today, Nov. 18, 2008

What others are saying...

* Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has called for an end of the Gaza Blockade. Press Release, November 18, 2008.

* UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his "deep concern" over the situation in Gaza in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. He "strongly urged the Prime Minister to facilitate the freer movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies and of concerned UN personnel into Gaza" UN Deputy-General Spokesperson, Noon Briefing, November 19, 2008.

Contact your legislators in Congress to express your opposition to the blockade of Gaza.

Support the Free Gaza movement which is taking concrete steps to break the Gaza blockade. Donate to support the delivery of aid by boat and to demonstrate international opposition to the Israeli blockade.

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