Gaza official appeals to Israelis

Israel’s Ynet news is this afternoon publishing a commentary signed by Maher Najer, deputy director of Gaza’s water company. It is interesting that it was published — and that it was published here. The Gazan official is clearly trying, though he seems both exhausted and exasperated, to reach out to Israeli public opinion.

Here are large excerpts from his article:

“The Israeli government decided, according to reports, to use the supply of water and fuel and the transfer of goods as a legitimate tool for sanctions against Gaza’s civilian population, and in the same breath declared that it would ‘refrain from creating a humanitarian crisis’. However, limiting the supply of electricity and fuel would hurt first and foremost medical devices, refrigerated food, and other essential elements.

“The Israeli government’s decision to cut the supply of electricity and fuel would also hurt the water supply, because Gaza’s pumping stations, just like sanitation systems, are operated by electricity. However, there would be nothing new about this; Israel is already undermining Gaza’s water infrastructure, and the Strip is already seeing the emergence of a severe water crisis, whose implications could bring about a humanitarian and environmental disaster in Gaza and outside of it as a result of the pollution of sea water and beaches in Israel as well and the possible spread of disease.

“In recent months, Israel is not allowing the transfer of spare parts and equipments for Gaza’s water infrastructure. The stocks of spare parts are running out, and some pumps no longer have any spare parts at all. The absence of major infrastructure and equipment components would lead to the collapse of the water and sanitation systems, and such collapse would certainly cause floods and the leakage of sewage into the sea and drinking water.

“Israeli officials claim that when it comes to humanitarian issues, Gaza’s needs are addressed. The truth is far from it. Safe access to clean water is a basic humanitarian right, which is apparently absent in the minds of Israeli decision-makers. Polluted water and a lack of hygiene constitute the 10th leading cause of the death in the world.

“Most of the 1.5 million of men, women, and children who reside in the ‘hostile territory’ of Gaza do not plot any malicious acts against Israel and are not a party to the firing of Qassam rockets. Most of us aspire for normalcy and peaceful life with our neighbors, who would do well to remind their government that undermining the water supply can be just the same as playing with fire”.
The Gazan official’s commentary for Ynet news is posted here.

Palestinians report several Israeli attacks on Gaza –and more Qassam attacks on Israel

The two independent Palestinian news agencies, Ramattan and Ma’an, are both reporting an upsurge in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Ramattan is reporting that “Witnesses told RNA that Israeli bulldozers has destroyed on Monday the pipelines that provide Gaza with fuel at al-Montar (Karni) crossing, east of Gaza. The witnesses said that in Israeli bulldozer uprooted the network of the fuel tubes in the crossing”. The Ramattan report on the destruction of fuel pipelines at the Karni crossing from Israel to Gaza is here.

Ma’an has a report on multiple Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) attacks, with a number of casualties — including, so far, three Palestinian deaths and 11 injured, and one IDF death: “…Israeli forces invaded the Gaza Strip in several places Monday morning … Israeli forces killed one Palestinian fighter, twenty-two-year old Ahmad Abu Tahun, affiliated with Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades, near Sufa border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday morning. Israeli sources said two soldiers from the Golani Brigade were injured in a battle with Palestinian fighters south of Sufa crossing. The soldiers were evacuated to Soroka hospital in Beersheba. Ma’an later learned that one injured soldier died of his wounds.” Ma’an also reported IDF attacks with casualties in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza strip, including the death of one disabled Palestinian. And, Ma’an reported that “Earlier, two Al-Qassam Brigades fighters were injured while attempting to block an advancing Israeli unit in a village near the city of Khan Younis. The Al-Qassam Brigades said they lobbed an explosive device and seven mortar shells at the invading forces. Israeli forces also invaded the city of Dier Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, seizing five Palestinians over 24 hours…”

Ma’an additional reported that “Palestinian resistance groups struck Israeli targets in response to Israel’s renewed incursions. The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades said they launched a homemade projectile at the Israeli border town of Sderot, near the Gaza Strip. The An-Nasser Brigades also claimed to have fired two mortar shells at the Israeli military base at Kisufim”.
The Ma’an report on Monday’s attacks in Gaza is here.

Interestingly, a week ago, on Saturday 20 October — while the Israeli Defense Ministry was preparing plans for a phased program of escalating sanctions against Gaza if Qassam attacks continued — Maan reported that “Israeli forces completely demolished the main electricity transformer in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday evening. Local residents of northern Gaza reported spending Friday night completely immersed in darkness after the destruction of the transformer which supplies power to the area. Eyewitnesses stated that an Israeli tank launched a shell towards the transformer located near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun … The area of Beit Lahiya was also subjected to Israeli gunfire and has had a suspension of electricity”. The Ma’an report of a 20th October attack on the main electricity transformer in the northern Gaza strip is posted her.

Israel cuts Gaza fuel

Israel has apparently not yet implemented phased sanctions against Gaza in retaliation for Qassam rocket attacks against Israel… but fuel supplies to Gaza have reportedly been stopped.

The Israeli High Court of Justice will rule next week on petitions submitted by a number of Israeli human rights groups seeking to stop an Israeli cut-off of vitally needed supplies, such as the fuel on which the Gaza power plant operates since a June 2006 Israeli air strike destroyed all the plant’s generators.

But, the Israeli military has closed the Sufa crossing through which the fuel is delivered from Israel to Gaza. So, one way or another, the fuel is cut off.

A separate decision to cut-off direct Israeli suspension of electricity supplies to Gaza is still pending, according to Israeli officials.

See Israel starts phased Gaza sanctions here.

There is terror

… though it is not one-sided, but that will be elaborated in other posts, at other times.

Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel have been prevented in recent months, in fact in over a year. Qassam rockets are still being fired, still apparently mostly indiscriminately, by Palestinian militants from Gaza. Israelis going about their normal lives have been killed, as recently were some Israeli soldiers at a military training site near Gaza.

Condemnation and moral objections aside, these attacks are simply incomprehensible, even as expressions of objection and resistance to Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. [See “These Qassam attacks from Gaza are stupid and more” posted here.]

The most-read article in the Guardian newspaper’s website yesterday was: “Google Earth used to target Israel. Palestinian militants are using Google Earth to help plan their attacks on the Israeli military and other targets, the Guardian has learned”, which can be read in its entirety here.

While it has been assumed that the Palestinian militants were firing blindly — though perfecting their aim, as their technological prowess increased, with reports of the results of each strike — this report in the Guardian increases the psychological terror of the present situation, by suggesting that information freely available on the internet is helping to improve the planning of the attacks.

Continue reading There is terror