Monday, 1 September 2014

Tens of thousands remain homeless in Gaza


One week after a ceasefire halting an Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, tens of thousands of Palestinians remain displaced, sheltered in United Nations schools and other facilities.

On Sunday, 58,071 people still lived in 36 UN schools across the coastal enclave, according to Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

With 15,670 housing units damaged, including 2,276 completely destroyed, and up to 500,000 Palestinians displaced over the 51-day onslaught, the number staying with extended families, in temporary rentals and at government and informal shelters is probably higher.

An estimated 108,000 Palestinians will need long-term solutions because their homes were too severely damaged to inhabit or destroyed altogether, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

The crisis is compounded by the fact that there was already a deficit of 71,000 housing units for Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million residents even prior to the Israeli attack, UN OCHA estimates.

And with reconstruction yet to begin, and likely to prove difficult due to ongoing Israeli restrictions on the importation of building materials, displaced Palestinians face uncertain futures. more

$1 billion campaign to support Gaza Strip launched from Turkey


The Popular International Committee to Support the Gaza Strip launched a campaign yesterday to raise $1 billion for the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip; $100 million is set to support shelter and emergency relief services in the enclave.

The committee, which held its first forum in Istanbul, announced the formation of the Popular International Committee to Support the Gaza Strip.

The participants called for the activation of relief campaigns and convoys to break the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and to continue organising international activities to support Gaza, demanding Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories come to an end.

They stressed on the need to take all legal measures before local and international courts wherever possible to prosecute Israeli officials for their crimes against civilians in the Gaza Strip and urged the Palestinian unity government to assume its responsibilities towards the Gaza Strip and its citizens without discrimination or distinction and to lifting the Israeli blockade as well as the establishment of the port and the airport.

They also called on Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing to allow the transfer of aid and construction materials as well as humanitarian convoys to meet the Palestinians' needs and facilitate the exit of wounded individuals.

The two day forum, which was attended by 250 participants from 35 countries representing more than 70 foundations, was sponsored by Qatar Charity. more

Report: Netanyahu says will not send delegation to Cairo talks


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not plan to send a delegation for negotiations in Cairo as stipulated by the ceasefire agreement that ended seven weeks of fighting in Gaza, Israeli media reported Monday.

Channel 10 said in a TV report that Netanyahu told his cabinet in a closed session that he would not send as agreed a delegation to Egypt for further talks regarding a seaport and airport in Gaza, the release of Palestinian prisoners, the demilitarization of Gaza factions, and the delivery of bodies of Israeli soldiers presumed held by Hamas, among other unresolved issues.

Netanyahu spoke proudly to his cabinet about the Gaza offensive, saying Hamas had not achieved any of its demands, according to the report.

Qais Abd al-Karim, member of the Palestinian negotiation team to be sent to Cairo, told Ma'an that any Israeli step that shows a lack of commitment to the ceasefire's terms would render the ceasefire null and void.

Abd al-Karim said the Palestinian delegation is awaiting the Egyptian invitation for negotiations and that it is committed to the terms of the ceasefire agreement. more

9-year-old child dies from wounds sustained in Gaza war


A nine-year-old boy died in Gaza on Monday from wounds sustained during Israel's recent offensive on the besieged enclave, medics said.

Ziad al-Rifi was injured on Aug. 21 in an Israeli airstrike near his family home in Gaza City which killed Tariq al-Rifi, 35, his sons Omar and Muhammad, and seven-year-old Abdullah Tariq al-Rifi. more

Video: Precious Water - the story of a water truck driver in Gaza


Ziyaad Mohamed Hamed is a water truck driver in Gaza, who operates under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions to provide people with vital supplies of drinking water.

Since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza on 7 July 2014, codenamed "Protective Edge", the water and wastewater infrastructure in Gaza has been heavily affected by Israeli airstrikes and shelling. As a result services have been cut or severely disrupted, affecting the entire population in Gaza.

Up to 25 per cent of Gaza’s population were displaced. The 1.8 million people in Gaza, living in homes and shelters have extremely restricted access to water and sanitation. All displaced people need support in water, sanitation and hygiene. Water tankering trucks provide people in different areas and shelters across Gaza Strip with water. more

Israeli forces shoot, critically injure Jerusalem teen


A Palestinian teenager was critically wounded late Sunday after an Israeli soldier shot him in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet, relatives said.

Muhammad Abd Al-Majid Sunuqrut, 16, from Wadi al-Joz suffered a fractured skull after being shot, his father said.

The teenager was speaking on his mobile phone while walking to a nearby mosque for late evening prayers when he was hit, in what his father said was an unprovoked attack.

He underwent emergency surgery at Hadassah Medical Center to stop bleeding on his brain and to remove bone fragments caused by the impact of the bullet.

The teen is currently unconscious in an intensive care unit and is said to be in a critical condition. more

Palestinian Authority to pay Hamas employees in Gaza


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority will pay Hamas civil servants in Gaza on Wednesday, ending a months-long salary crisis following the announcement of a unity government.

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq said an agreement was reached between Hamas and PA officials on Sunday.

A row over pay erupted between the two Palestinian factions in June when the PA's Gaza-based staff received their wages but their Hamas counterparts went empty-handed.

Speaking about a ceasefire deal in Gaza, Abu Marzouq said that political decisions need to be made before reconstruction can take place, noting that an international conference to raise funds for Gaza will be held in Cairo in September.

The unity government will be in charge of the reconstruction process, he added. more