Thursday, 28 July 2011

Israeli airstrike destroyed decades-old agricultural water well in Gaza says Oxfam

GAZA, July 28, 2011, (WAFA)- A decades-old agricultural water well was destroyed in an Israeli military airstrike,  which also injured seven people, including four children, this week in Beit Hanoun, a town north of the Gaza Strip, said an Oxfam weekly report between July 17 and 23.

The airstrike happened on July 17 at around 3:00 am, and also damaged water tanks serving up to 60 people in the neighborhood.

The Emergency Water Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a coalition of 30 humanitarian organizations in the occupied Palestinian territory including Oxfam, has documented the destruction caused by the Israeli airstrike.

“This is not the first time this year that Israeli airstrikes hit water and sanitation infrastructure,” said Ghada Snunu, EWASH’s advocacy task force officer in Gaza. “Last March, the Khuza’a municipality warehouse was hit by an airstrike destroying a large quantity of essential water and sanitation materials and spare parts to the value of over US$60,000. In April, the Al-Mintar water reservoir in Al-Quba area of Gaza City was also hit in an airstrike, leaving 30,000 people in eastern Gaza city with no water for three days.”

“Israel as the occupying power has to ensure that the Palestinians have access to essential services as required by international law. What we keep witnessing is the opposite – civilian infrastructure, particular water-related facilities, are often hit during Israeli airstrikes depriving people of indispensable services,” Snunu added. more

10-truck African aid convoy to Gaza reaches Sudan for transfer by ship to Suez

Port Sudan, Sudan (CNN) -- A humanitarian land convoy heading to Gaza from South Africa reached Port Sudan, Sudan on the Red Sea Wednesday and is destined to become the first relief mission to Gaza from Africa.

"I was inspired last year by the convoys that went to Gaza from Europe, so we asked ourselves; why not from Africa?" said Sheikh Walid al-Saadi of the South African Relief Agency (SARA).

After eight months of preparation, the land convoy which consists of ten trucks, explained al-Saadi, departed Durban, South Africa on June 26 and has passed through seven countries thus far including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.

It is to unload its shipment of humanitarian aid in Port Sudan on ships that will head to Suez, Egypt where members of the convoy will receive their trucks after flying to Egypt from Sudan.

The convoy has received the support of several South African leaders including Bishop Desmond Tutu who said in a YouTube video message: "I want to congratulate SARA and wish them well. You are helping to do God's work; God bless you." more

Urgent Action Alert for Scottish Aid to Gaza Convoy stuck at Rafah - email Egypt's prime minister

(pic: a previous Scottish aid convoy to Gaza)

Urgent Alert for Scottish Aid to Gaza Convoy stuck @ Rafah

Military leaders in Cairo are obstructing entrance into Gaza at the Raffah crossing for three trucks carrying medical supplies along with two ambulances. Please show solidarity with the Gazan people by voicing your protest as soon as possible!

send your email to:

Dr. Essam Sharaf, Prime Minister, The Arab Republic of Egypt

Embassy, The Arab Republic of Egypt

European parliamentarians tour Gaza and meet with health minster

(pic: UK parliamentarian Tony Lloyd of the Labour Party is leading the delegation)

GAZA, (PIC)-- A high-profile delegation of parliamentarians from various European countries has met with Gaza Health Minister Bassem Na'im on a tour of the Gaza Strip.

Minister Na'im briefed the delegation headed by British Labor party chairman Tony Lloyd on the effects the Israeli political and economic blockade has had on the Strip's health sector.

According to the figures he presented, 163 essential medicines and 149 medical consumables have run out in the besieged enclave.

Na'im also brought up the ill effects the eight hour a day power outages have had on the hospitals' medical equipment, also blaming the Israeli siege over the situation.

During the meeting, British MP Tony Lloyd said he was shocked at what he saw and promised to deliver a message he received from a young Thalassemia patient to be dealt with on the international forums. The letter addressed the boy's suffering caused by the lack of treatment. more

Overnight attack vandalises UNRWA summer camp for children in Gaza

GAZA CITY - Ten men attacked and vandalised overnight a United Nations facility being used to stage summer camps for children in the Gaza Strip, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees, said the facility in northwest Gaza was attacked around midnight on Wednesday.

"The attackers damaged a large billboard, burnt a UN flag and torched part of the stage. None of the UN security personnel at the venue were harmed," Gunness said.

The attack came the day before children attending UNRWA summer camps will attempt to set a world record for the largest number of children flying kites at the site.

Gunness said the record attempt would go ahead despite the attack, and called on local authorities to investigate the vandalism.

"We condemn this attack, which is an attack on the children of Gaza as much as on the United Nations," he said.

"We call on the authorities in Gaza to investigate and bring those responsible to account. We will repair and rebuild the damaged infrastructure and go ahead with the event as planned today." more