Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > Uncategorised > Israel-Palestine: Escalation in the Gaza Strip and Israel

Israel-Palestine: Escalation in the Gaza Strip and Israel

Gaza slaughter: Israel’s war crimes and US hypocrisy

Tuesday 9 August 2022, by siawi3

Source:  un.org>

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-
Occupied Palestinian Territory


Escalation in the Gaza Strip and Israel

Flash Update #1

as of 18:00, 6 August 2022

KEY POINTS

On 5 August, Israeli airstrikes were conducted in multiple locations in Gaza, including Gaza city, Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis. Subsequently, several rockets were fired from multiple locations across Gaza towards Israel. Exchanges of fire continued throughout 6 August.

According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, as of 6 August at 15:30, at least 15 Palestinians had been killed, including a 5-year-old girl, and about 125 injured. The UN has so far verified 14 of these casualties.
The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) shut down at noon on 6 August due to lack of fuel, causing rolling power cuts exceeding 20 hours per day. This places at severe risk the continuation of basic essential services.
The Israeli authorities have kept their border crossings with Gaza closed since 2 August, citing security concerns. As a result, people have not been allowed in and out, medical cases have been unable to exit and essential commodities, including food and fuel, have not entered.
Due to the limited availability of fuel, aggravated by the closure of Gaza’s crossings since 2 August, the general electricity supply in Gaza is already limited and expected to stop in the next days. This will seriously impact economic and social rights, including the supply of clean water, hygiene and healthcare. The right to health is already severely compromised due to longstanding shortages and the heavily restricted movement in and out of Gaza, including for patients who have been unable to travel for care outside of Gaza.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator issued a statement calling on all sides for an immediate de-escalation and halt to the violence, to avoid destructive ramifications, particularly for civilians.

Palestinians queuing in front of a bakery in Gaza, 5 August 2022. Photo by OCHA


Situation overview

On 2 August, Israeli forces arrested a senior operative of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Jenin, West Bank. Subsequently, the PIJ warned in a statement that it would “respond to any aggression.” Later that day, the Israeli authorities imposed a complete closure of crossings with Gaza, preventing movement of people and essential commodities in and out, citing security concerns.

On 5 August at 16:00, Israeli forces conducted a targeted airstrike against a senior PIJ official, Taysir Al –Ja’bari, who was reportedly killed in the attack. Several Israeli airstrikes followed during the evening in multiple locations, including in Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis, as part of an operation codenamed “Breaking Dawn”.

At about 21:00 on 5 August, several short- and long-term rockets were fired from multiple locations in Gaza towards Israel. Exchanges of fire continued throughout the day.

Airstrikes in the Gaza Strip resulted in death, injuries and the destruction of a number of residential buildings and rocket fire launched from Gaza resulted in the damage to one home in Israel, injured one person, two military and caused limited damage to property. According to the MoH in Gaza, as of 6 August at 15:30, 15 Palestinians had been killed, including a 5-year-old girl, and about 125 have been injured. According to Israeli media, two Israeli soldiers and one person have reportedly been wounded in southern Israel.

The humanitarian community is preparing for an eventual activation of the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan for the scale-up of the humanitarian response should the situation further deteriorate, and significant displacement occur. UNRWA has not yet opened any Designated Emergency Shelters (DES) for the displaced. Non-food items (NFIs) and ready-to-eat food Items are transferred across Gaza to be ready for distribution inside the DES in case of further displacement.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS & RESPONSE

Protection

The UN has verified 14 fatalities so far. The Gaza MoH has reported an additional fatality, not yet verified by the UN. Of them, at least two have been determined as civilians, including a 5-year-old girl. The injured reported by the Gaza MoH include at least 23 children and 13 women.

Protection Cluster partners are monitoring and documenting possible violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as well as the number of fatalities.

The Mine Action Area of Responsibility (AoR) has started implementing their Emergency Risk Education plan. The messages are to focus on preparedness and protection during the emergency, including safety tips while evacuating and seeking safety, and to be delivered through different mediums, including radio and social media.

The Child Protection AoR is assessing the impact of the escalating conflict on vulnerable groups, especially children, and foresees the need for expanded, structured and specialized child protection, mental health, and psychosocial support services. Remote counseling for children and their families including psychological first aid is being reactivated, including a hotline.

Shelter

Forty families are known to be displaced since 5 August in host communities, including 30 families that we in the tower building in Gaza city that sustained damage due to an airstrike. The Ministry of Public Works and Housing confirmed that some 650 housing units have been partially damaged, of which 29 are unhabitable, 11 are totally destroyed, while the others sustained minor damage. Efforts are ongoing with Ministry of Social Development to assist those affected.

The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) indicated that a number of electricity lines are being fixed after sustaining some damage.

Health

Medical and diagnostic devices are in some cases not functional due to the long-standing restrictions in bringing some supplies into the Gaza strip. Additionally, there are concerns regarding shortages of fuel for ambulances and for generators in hospitals.

Trauma care supplies are in place, but there is a chronic shortage of essential drugs in Gaza. According to the MoH, there is a shortage of 40 per cent in medications, 32 per cent in medical supplies, and 60 per cent in laboratory consumables.

UNRWA’s health centres were open normally on 6 August and received patients with no disruption.

The number of ambulances by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has increased from 11 to 23. PRCS has also increased the number of beds in Al Quds hospital and are ready to support Ash Shifaa hospital by receiving overflow cases in operating theatres in PRCS hospitals.

WHO has pre-positioned supplies in main hospitals and has previously provided training in mass casualty management.

Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

No damage to water or sanitation infrastructure has been reported. Nevertheless, the announced power supply reduction plan in the Gaza Strip, due to lack of fuel, is anticipated to significantly interrupt the delivery of WASH services, including the reduction of water supply from the water wells and desalination plants, in addition to the reduction of the quality of the output of the wastewater treatment.

The replenishment of chemicals for the treatment of water in the desalination plant could be undermined because of lack of access and the entry of supplies to the Gaza Strip. Thus, WASH services providers will not be able to operate the WASH facilities with the required capacities if access constraints continue. Additionally, chemical stocks for the desalination plant need immediate replenishment.

Due to security concerns, the three main wastewater treatment facilities are being operated remotely.

If the electricity supply stops, the wastewater treatment plants will shut down, resulting in 100,000 cubic metres of raw wastewater being discharged to the sea every day.

Food security

UNRWA’s food distribution centres were open normally on 6 August and received beneficiaries with no disruption. UNRWA’s current wheat stocks will only sustain a limited segment of the population for one week and a half.

Animal fodder and production is at risk due to the closure of the Israeli goods crossing. The overall capacity of fodder stockpiles in Gaza is no more than seven days. Most fodder traders have not been able to import fodders during the last week. The continued closure of the crossing will lead to a significant damage in this sector and severe lack of white meat in Gaza.
Education

As schools are closed on summer vacation until 28 August, no direct impact on schooling has been observed. At least five higher education institutions in the Gaza Strip have suspended operations until further notice. Reports indicate that at least one higher education institution was damaged in a bombardment that hit nearby.

Read the full report on OCHA

°°°

Source: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/08/09/hlvn-a09.html?pk_campaign=newsletter&pk_kwd=wsws

Perspective
Gaza slaughter: Israel’s war crimes and US hypocrisy

Patrick Martin

August 9, 22 - 5 hours ago

Over the past three days, relentless Israeli airstrikes killed at least 45 Palestinians, including 16 children, and caused extensive devastation.

At least 400 were wounded, many severely, and the handful of barely functioning hospitals and clinics were overwhelmed. Some 2.3 million Palestinians live in Gaza, confined by Israeli and Egyptian military cordons and fences. Hundreds of powerful bombs and missiles have rained down on a territory comprising only 141 square miles—exactly equal in area to the city of Detroit.

The most heavily bombed neighborhoods, where Israeli officials claimed leaders of the Islamic Jihad were the targets, were scenes of apocalyptic destruction, with apartment buildings transformed into craters and body parts strewn about. An Al-Jazeera montage of the faces of 12 martyred children, supplied by the Palestinian Health Ministry—shown here—was circulated throughout the Arab world, producing widespread outrage.

If it were Ukrainian children who suffered the same fate, there is no doubt that the American corporate media, the faithful servant of the CIA and State Department, would be providing saturation coverage. There would be endless hours devoted to mourning the loss of innocent lives and branding those responsible for their deaths as murderers and war criminals. No such terms will be used for Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and other top Israeli military and intelligence officials.
Sixteen children aged 18 and under were killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza over the past three days. Twelve are pictured here; the three without photos, all siblings, died in the Al-Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza. The 16th child died in the hospital late Monday of wounds received earlier, and has not yet been named.

The New York Times, which has spearheaded the media’s campaign over supposed Russian atrocities in the Ukraine war, began its report on the temporary halt in the Gaza bombardment this way: “A cease-fire ending three days of fierce cross-border fighting between Israel and a Palestinian militant group in Gaza appeared to be holding on Monday, and life on both sides of the lines began to return to normal.”

The supposed “fierce cross-border fighting” was a completely one-sided affair, with the Israeli military, the most powerful in the Middle East, armed to the teeth by US imperialism, dropping bombs and missiles on a defenseless population. Meanwhile, militants of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fired off hundreds of rudimentary home-made rockets, nearly all of them landing harmlessly or shot down by Israeli’s antimissile system.

As to the “return to normal,” for the people of Gaza, this means unbearable poverty, a 50 percent unemployment rate and a smashed infrastructure, in what is routinely described by observers as the largest open-air prison camp on the planet. Electricity is available only 11 hours a day even when the Gaza power plant is running, but it was shut down, not because of the bombing, but because Israel and Egypt halted the delivery of fuel supplies required to keep it running.

The Biden administration issued a brief statement welcoming the ceasefire, expressing appreciation for the role of Egypt, Qatar, Jordan and other reactionary Arab dictatorships and monarchies for their role in the diplomacy that brought a temporary end to the violence, while condemning Islamic Jihad for “indiscriminate rocket attacks.” Biden reaffirmed his “long-standing and unwavering” support for Israel, adding, “I commend Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his government’s steady leadership throughout the crisis.”

There is no doubt that the onslaught against Gaza was discussed and approved during Biden’s visit to Israel July 13-15, just three weeks before the well-prepared attack began. The Pentagon will now rush to resupply the munitions expended by the Israel Defense Force during the bombing campaign.

The rocket exchanges with PIJ were deliberately provoked by Israel’s arrest and detention of the senior leader of the group on the West Bank, Bassam al-Saadi, on August 1 in the city of Jenin. This was part of a systematic campaign of Israeli military violence in Jenin which has killed at least 30 Palestinians and wounded hundreds since the beginning of this year.

The timing of the attack seemed calculated to benefit Prime Minister Lapid, who heads a caretaker coalition regime headed into a November 1 general election. A Times of Israel headline declared: “With elections looming, Lapid’s Gaza gamble seems to have paid off” and cited the former television broadcaster’s need to burnish his military credentials before a contest where the main opposition comes from the right-wing militarist Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud Party coalition was ousted just last year.

Israeli press reports suggest that the main shift in policy since the fall of Netanyahu has been a decision to concentrate on the destruction of Islamic Jihad, the smaller of the two Islamist groups in Gaza, noting that Lapid had not mentioned Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, in his public statements on the Israeli military attack. On Saturday night, General Oded Basyuk, the head of the Israeli Defense Forces Operations Unit, told reporters that the IDF had successfully killed “the entire senior security echelon of Islamic Jihad’s military wing in Gaza.”

The response of the Arab rulers to the three-day bombardment of Gaza provided example of their cynical treachery and betrayal of the interests of the Palestinian people and the Arab masses as a whole. Most of the Gulf sheikdoms followed the lead of Saudi Arabia, whose media denounced Islamic Jihad as a tool of Iran and suggested that PIJ had provoked the conflict in conjunction with the resumption of nuclear energy talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group (the five full members of the UN Security Council plus Germany). These talks resumed in Vienna on August 4.

This allegation turns the world upside down. It is far more likely that the Israeli regime, not Islamic Jihad, timed the conflict to disrupt the nuclear talks because it stridently opposes any deal that would ease sanctions on Iran.

The bloodstained Egyptian military regime brokered the ceasefire, while maintaining its iron grip on Gaza’s western border, which it has largely closed since Hamas came to power in the territory in 2007.

The Gaza bloodbath also demonstrates the impotent and bankruptcy of the Palestinian bourgeois nationalists of every stripe, whether the Islamist variety, like Hamas, or the secular Fatah group which controls the Palestinian Authority and acts as Israel’s appointed prison guard on the West Bank. It is noteworthy that while the US and Israel still nominally treat Hamas as a “terrorist group,” Egypt, Qatar and the UN mediators “dealt with the Hamas leaders as if they were the legitimate and sole rulers of the Gaza Strip,” as the Jerusalem Post observed.

The situation in Gaza remains fraught. The Israeli military has called up 25,000 reserves and has no plans to demobilize them, while an Islamic Jihad leader said that if Israel did not release two imprisoned PIJ leaders, including Bassam al-Saadi, by the weekend—as was apparently promised to Egypt—the conflict would be resumed.

There is no way out of the intractable and bloody conflicts in the Middle East through any of the reactionary nationalist regimes or through maneuvers with the United Nations and the European imperialist powers, let alone through “peace” talks brokered by Washington, the center of world reaction and militarism. The only road forward is through an international movement of the working class and oppressed masses throughout the region, which unite Arab, Israeli, Turkish and Kurdish workers on the basis of a socialist and anti-imperialist program.