Wednesday, 17 September 2014

90% of Gazans live below poverty line, 95% of water undrinkable

Head of the Popular Committee against the Siege Jamal Al-Khodari has described living conditions in the Gaza Strip as "disastrous" after the latest Israeli war.

In a briefed press release, Al-Khodari said that more than 90 per cent of Palestinians in Gaza live under the poverty line because of the sharp increase of unemployment rates.

"Displaced Gazans, who live in shelters, experience disastrous conditions," Al-Khodari said, "as they lost the basic needs of life after the collapse of almost all facilities of major services such as electricity, water and sanitation."

He noted that the humanitarian crises had increased after the latest Israeli war on the coastal enclave. "Individual income became below $2 per day," he said.

Al-Khodari said that around 95 per cent of Gaza's water is undrinkable and the sea water is polluted because 40 million litres of untreated sewage water is pouring into it every day. "This has catastrophic effects on the public health and the fishing industry as well," he said. more

Malta sinking killed hundreds fleeing Gaza

From Mondoweiss - Time – and the news – moves on. Quickly. So, with the war over, Gaza remains in the news but off the front pages. ISIS has now taken the lead.

Still every now and then an interesting reminder of the Gaza war surfaces. In this case, by drowning. At first it seemed that the boat deliberately sunk off the Malta coast last week was another case of human trafficking gone from bad to worse. Horrible but unrelated to Israel/Palestine. Now reports have it that 250-300 of as many as 500 drowned were refugees from Gaza. They were attempting to escape what is left of the prison walls in Gaza.

So says the EUobserver in a narrative that is a fitting continuation of Israel’s war on Gaza – without leaving out the world’s complicity in the war and its aftermath. As well, it is a story of corruption all around. Refugees trying to escape by sea can expect little else:
The Palestinian survivors told the International Organisation for Migration they paid a “travel office” in Gaza $2,000 each using money from grants to rebuild their homes.

Haaretz reports, citing one anonymous people smuggler, that some people pay up to $4,000. They enter Egypt through tunnels under the Rafah crossing point, where buses take them to safe houses in Egypt.

The sea crossing to Europe [from Damietta, Egypt] can take a week because they are forced to keep changing boats.

The smugglers bribe Egyptian officials. They also have agents in south Europe who help migrants get out of detention facilities. Some tell the Palestinians to claim they are Syrians fleeing the civil war.

The survivors told the IOM that their boat was deliberately rammed by smugglers in waters south of Malta on 11 September when the migrants refused to board a smaller vessel.

“After they hit our boat they waited to make sure that it had sunk completely before leaving. They were laughing”, one survivor said.

Some people floated in the sea for three days before bad weather set in. One survivor who made it to Crete was a two-year old girl.

Video: Activists assaulted, arrested for protesting Israeli theater in Amsterdam

From The Electronic Intifada - Eight activists were arrested after they disrupted a theater performance sponsored by the Israeli embassy in Amsterdam in protest of Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza Strip.

A ninth activist was arrested outside the theater as dozens more protested there.

As the video below shows, the protesters chanted “Free, free Palestine” and “Boycott, boycott Israel” before a one-woman show by Lia Koenig, the Polish-born “first lady of Israeli theater,” at the Theatre de Doelenzaal on 13 September.

The protesters were assaulted by other members of the audience. As one protester shouted, “This is not art, this is an occupation,” he was violently shoved and battered.

Koenig remained impassive throughout the protest, at one point sharing a laugh with Haim Divon, the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands.

Several members of the Dutch parliament were in the audience, according to the newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

Once the protest was over, Koenig began her performance, joking “I’m honored they came to see me.” She did not address Israel’s massacre of more than one in every thousand Palestinians in Gaza this summer, including more than five hundred children.

“The action was a source of inspiration for Lia,” the show’s organizer Erga Netz told NRC Handelsblad, confirming Koenig’s apparent indifference. “In the rest of her show she made several jokes about it. She did not seem very affected,” Netz added. more

Unpaid hospital cleaning workers strike in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Cleaning workers at hospitals in the Gaza Strip declared a 24-hour strike on Wednesday in protest of not being paid their salaries, a union official said.

Sami al-Amsi, president of the Federation of Palestine trade union, told Ma'an that the cleaning workers had not been paid their meager monthly salaries of around $200 for the past five months.

"Today we are staging a 24-hour strike, and we will give them the opportunity to meet our demands because we are not interested in aggravating the crisis in Gaza hospitals which already suffer from shortage in medicines and power supply," al-Amsi said.

Some 750 cleaning workers are participating in the strike, he said.

He said the union had contacted both Gaza's health ministry and the national consensus government to inquire about the salaries, but did not receive a response from either. more

Clashes as soldiers escort Israelis to Joseph's Tomb in Nablus

Hundreds of Israeli Jews visited Joseph's Tomb in Nablus in the occupied West Bank overnight under the guard of Israeli soldiers, locals told Ma'an.

Witnesses said more than 30 military vehicles escorted eight buses carrying Israelis.

Palestinian protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the military vehicles as they drove near Balata refugee camp and Askar camp, the sources said.

Israeli troops responded with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

Jewish groups frequently visit Joseph's Tomb under the protection of Israeli forces, who deploy heavily in the area and often get into clashes with youth from the neighboring Balata refugee camp during these visits.

Despite lying in an area under Palestinian authority deep in the West Bank, Israeli forces maintain control at the site and prohibit Muslims from praying there. more