I wonder. what does one have to do to get people to act? Even protests, I suppose are a sort of action, they make those participating feel like they are doing something, but in reality they are really serving their own need to not feel so helpless. I include myself in this, of course. But what else can one do. In any case, it seems that protests are happening. Not here in Boise, of course, but at least in some places. I love that friends in Beirut are protesting at the Egyptian embassy. They had one yesterday and have another one planned for today. They are the only other country who can, at the very least, place a bandaid on the situation by opening the Rafah border and allowing people the freedom to exit and enter Gaza, to allow food, medicine, fuel inside Gaza. For those who are in Lebanon, here is information about the organizing:
The popular campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian people wishes to invite you to a direct action on Wednesday 23rd of January at 3:00pm in front of the Egyptian embassy.
We demand that the Egyptian government opens the Rafah crossing, and to stop their participation in the Israeli siege of the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip.
In addition, we reject the Egyptian government’s involvement in the Israeli arbitrary collective punishment of a people who choose to resist occupation.
الحملة الشعبية للتضامن مع الشعب الفلسطيني” تدعو إلى تحرك شعبي يوم الأربعاء 23/1/2008 ، الساعة الثالثة بعد الظهر أمام السفارة المصرية، لمطالبة السلطات المصرية بفتح معبر رفح، و عدم المشاركة في الحصار الإسرائيلي على الشعب الفلسطيني في قطاع غزة، و في سياسة العقاب الجماعي لشعب إختار المقاومة في زمن الحصار “.
Here in the U.S. people are protesting at Egyptian and Israeli embassies and also asking that people make phone calls to these various people with power of the lives of Gazans:
ACTION ALERT: END THE CLOSURE OF GAZA NOW!
Call (202-895-5400) or email (Embassy@egyptembdc.org) the Egyptian Embassy and demand that Egypt open the Rafah crossing
(1/22/08) Since Friday, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has escalated to previously unimaginable levels. Over the past five days, Gaza has been completely shut off from the rest of the world due to an Israeli – and Egyptian-enforced – closure of all border crossings. By Sunday, approximately 800,000 Gazans were left without electricity as Gaza’s only power plant ran out of fuel. Many of the hospitals and medical clinics were also left with dwindling medical supplies and little to no fuel to power generators. As a result, approximately 75 Palestinians have already died from the closure, and a number of patients in intensive care units have died as their emergency life support equipment cannot function without electricity. Many hospitals are forced to choose which equipment to keep running: dialysis machines, neonatal units, or heart and oxygen machines.
Furthermore, with no fuel or electricity for the water pumps and sewage treatment plants, most Gazans have now lost their running water, with several neighborhoods, including the large Zatoun neighborhood east of Gaza City, flooded with sewage.
The closure has resulted in a deliberate and collective punishment of the entire civilian population of Gaza (nearly 1.5 million Palestinians). Such collective punishment directly contravenes explicit provisions of the 4 th Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signing party.
John Ging, director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza said the civilian population was living in “abject misery” and had been stripped of their human dignity.
“People here in Gaza have been living in abject misery and hardship now for a long time,” Ging told Al-Jazeera. “On top of that they are living in darkness… You have to see how miserable the situation is. The civilian population is under occupation. It is collective punishment – they are victims.”
For its part, Egypt has willingly assisted Israel in the closure, preventing any Palestinian from leaving Gaza through the Rafah crossing. In particular, several ambulances carrying critically ill patients have been refused entry by Egyptian authorities. Faced with starvation and death, a group of Palestinian female protesters attempted to leave Gaza, only to be turned away by water cannons, gunfire, and baton-wielding Egyptian soldiers. At least 25 Palestinians have been injured by Egyptian soldiers enforcing Israel’s closure.
Though the media has reported that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to express opposition to the humanitarian crisis, Mubarak has followed these empty words with affirmative acts to enforce the closure. Egypt does have the power to alleviate Palestinian suffering by at least allowing entry of fuel, emergency medicine and medical supplies, and supplies needed by aid agencies to distribute food .
Call the Egyptian Embassy in Washington D.C. and demand that Egypt open the Rafah crossing, and cease enforcing the closure of Gaza now!
Embassy of Egypt
3521 International Ct. NW
Washington, DC 20008
TELEPHONE: (202) 895-5400 – or – (202) 966-6342 –or- (202) 667-3402
For example: “As an [Arab/Arab-American/Egyptian/Concerned American], I am concerned with the humanitarian crisis that is currently transpiring in Gaza. I am especially concerned with Egypt’s participation in the closure, and refusal to open the Rafah crossing as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are trapped in life-threatening conditions.”
Call the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. and demand an end to the closure of Gaza now!
Embassy of Israel
3514 International Dr., NW
Washington, DC 20008
TELEPHONE: (202) 364-5500
Anaheim, California: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m. 512 S. Brookhurst St. Between Orange Ave. & Broadway)
Washington DC: Friday, Jan. 25 (time tba), at the Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Dr. N.W.
San Francisco, California: Friday, Jan. 25, 4-6 p.m., Israeli Consulate, 456 Montgomery St. (near California)
New York, New York: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m. at the Israeli Embassy, 43rd St. and 2nd Ave.
Chicago, Illinois: Tues., Jan. 29, 5 pm at the Lakeshore Theater, 3175 North Broadway (at benefit for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Force).
Seattle Washington: Friday, January 25, 4 p.m., Westlake Park, 4th & Pine Sts.
There are also other protests in various forms. Who knows if any will make a difference, but I don’t really know how one can sit idly by and allow this holocaust to happen. Avaaz.org has a petition you can sign to protest the siege on Gaza. More donations can be made and support can be given to Al Awda as follows:
For Immediate Release
January 20, 2008
BREAK THE SILENCE ON GAZA!
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, calls on its chapters,
supporting organizations and individuals to organize to break the silence
about the ongoing Israeli war crimes being committed against Palestinians in
Gaza. Organize street actions and protests, community meetings and
delegations to religious leaders and educators. Call and write the media and
your congressional representatives.
People of the world watch in horror as the racist state of ‘Israel’, with
the support and encouragement of the US government, engages in a genocidal
project to eliminate the indigenous Arab people of Palestine.
The world community has denounced the government of ‘Israel’ for using its
military for the purpose of collectively punishing the civilian population
of the Gaza Strip, a clear war crime and violation of the 4th Geneva
Conventions. The only power plant in Gaza was shut down today leaving the
1.5 million inhabitants without electricity, water, or any functional
Palestinians continue to endure starvation, aerial bombings, US CIA
interventions, and Israeli army brutality. This murderous endeavor has
caused the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians and the already
fragile economy of Gaza has been decimated.
NO FOOD, NO WATER, NO BREAD!
We appeal to all people living in the US:
SPEAK OUT TO DEMAND ONCE AND FOR ALL AN END TO THE SIEGE OF GAZA
AND THE OCCUPATION OF ALL OF PALESTINE!
ORGANIZE STREET ACTIONS AND PROTESTS, CALL AND WRITE THE MEDIA AND
YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES.
ORGANIZE COMMUNITY MEETINGS AND DELEGATIONS TO RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND
DONATE TO HELP THE PEOPLE IN GAZA!
For information to contact your congressional representatives, go to
For writing to the media. Go to http://newslink.org for contact information.
To make a donation to help the people in the Gaza Strip go to
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and simply follow the instructions.
Please indicate that your donation is for the GAZA EMERGENCY FUND.
BREAK THE SILENCE ON GAZA!
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) is the largest
network of grassroots activists and students dedicated to Palestinian human
rights. We are a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable
501(c)(3) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of
the United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations to PRRC
are tax-deductible. To make a donation simply go to
http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and simply follow the instructions.
For an update from a friend of a friend who works for the World Health Organization:
Today Gaza has received 154 megawatt out of the needed 240 megawatt (the need in the winter time):
The local power plant produced 30 megawatt out of the 55 megawatt
the Israeli company provided Gaza with 107 out of the 120 megawatt that usually provides; and
The Egyptian provided the 17 megawatt that usually provides.
The Gaza power plant declared that the plant will stop functioning today by 4:00 pm as there is no fuel supply
Information collected from 6 MoH hospitals- 20 January- 2:00 pm on fuel availability show the following
Facility name Storage capacity Available amount
Kamal Edwan Hospital 9,500 liters 4,700 liters
Beit Hanun Hospital 8,100 liters 2,700 liters
Shifa Hospital 57,000 liters 15,000 liters
Paediatrics Hospital 10,000 liters 1,200 liters
Aqsa Martyrs Hospital 16,700 liters 7,400 liters
Gaza European Hospital 120,000 liters 12,000 liters
Total 221,300 43,000
Hospital generator consumption is at 40 -50 lit/hour. The available fuel will be depleted within few days as the daily electricity cuts is 12 hours.
Gaza European hospital in Khan Younis has declared the emergency status at the hospital. All the departments have stopped working except the intensive care unit and the operation room. The hospital is accepting only urgent cases.
Aqsa Martyrs hospital in the Mid zone will work for only 4 hours per day to decreased starting tomorrow.
Shifa hospital has three generators that feed three different parts. The fuel availability in one tank is 200 liters. The generator will stop functioning within hours. This generator feeds the laundry room, oxygen extractor, pharmacy and the oncology department.
The hospital will declare the emergency status by tomorrow due the continuous consumption of the available fuel.
2. Access of Patients/drugs’ shipments
Access of patients
The Israeli has informed the Palestinian liaison officer that urgent patient should be allowed to get out of Gaza ; however,
On Friday two patients attempted to cross and crossed
Saturday Erez crossing is closed
On Sunday: 43 patients with their 43 companions in addition to two urgent cases (transported by ambulances) with their two companions have been allowed to cross Erez
WHO had coordinated for 48 pallets to get into Gaza through Kerm Shalom on the 17 th of January. only 23 pallets were allowed to get in and the passage of other pallets were delayed till the 21 st of January.
ICRC had coordinated the passage of 48 pallets to come into Gaza today the 20 th of January, however, the shipment had denied access and delayed till Tuesday the 22 nd of January.
“Jews are effecting a holocaust in Gaza” From a friend of a friend in Israel-occupied Jerusalem
21 January, 2008
Palestinians and human rights organizations operating in the Occupied Palestinian territories have accused Israel of effecting a real holocaust against Gaza Strip’s estimated 1.5 million inhabitants following a decision by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to completely sever fuel and electricity supplies to the coastal territory.
Israel, which in 2005 withdrew its occupation troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, retained tight control of all Gaza’s border-crossings, reducing the small crowded territory to a huge detention camp.
Israel drastically stepped up its collective punishment of Gazans following Hamas’s takeover of the Strip in June 2006. The Israeli army, which exerts overwhelming influence on the Israeli political establishment, has also been carrying out nearly daily incursions and attacks inside Gaza resulting in the death and maiming of hundreds of Palestinians in recent weeks. It is widely believed that the vast bulk of the casualties are innocent civilians.
On Sunday, 20 January, more than 90% of Gazans spent the night in total darkness as Israel decided to halt vital fuel supplies, ostensibly to coerce the masses to rise up against Hamas which refuses to lend legitimacy to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The nearly total shutdown of power plants is already causing catastrophic effects and paralyzing vital services all over the Gaza Strip.
Hospital sources reported many deaths caused by the stoppage of electricity supplies.
“Electricity-powered medical machines such as incubators, dialysis and artificial breathing machines as well as many other vital life-saving medical equipment are no longer functioning. This means certain death for patients,” said Omar al-Shawwa, a paramedic at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Al-Shifa hospital is the largest hospital in Gaza and it has been operating on an emergency footing for two years as the delivery of vital medical supplies continued to be restricted by the Israel.
“It is true the Jews are not sending our children to the ovens, but they are killing us using other means,” said a visibly depressed al Shawwa. “Maybe the Europeans and the Americans won’t believe it, but the truth is that the Jews are effecting a real holocaust against our people.”
TV cameras showed hair-raising scenes of dying Palestinian children whose survival depends on certain electricity-powered medical machines. In northern Gaza, a paralyzed child was fluctuating between life and death as members of his family alternately sought to keep him breathing using a manually-operated rubber pump.
Meanwhile, Palestinian and UN officials in Gaza have warned of an impending disaster affecting all walks of life in Gaza.
Hasan Abu Ramadan, a Palestinian economist, said the present humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip would be deepened by the ongoing Israeli blockade on fuel and food supplies. He warned that the Gaza Strip could go from a situation of deep poverty to all out famine, disease and malnutrition.
Abu Ramadan noted that more than 80% of Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants were surviving with the help of food aid from international organizations such as URWA.
Another urgent warning was issued by John King, Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza.
Speaking during an impromptu press conference in Gaza Sunday night, King urged the international community to intervene immediately to prevent an imminent humanitarian disaster from occurring.
King pointed out that innocent civilians were paying a heavy price as a result of the current conflict, saying that bakeries were stopping making bread and that hospitals were cold as electricity generators stopped due to fuel shortages.
“Medicine is not available, paper is not available, cement to build graves is not available, even coffins for the dead are not available. There is also a serious food shortage, and the prices of available food are very high.”
King said that everyone in Gaza now had a problem that was exacerbating as time passed. He argued that it was shameful that some circles, an obvious allusion to Israel and its allies, were making arguments about the situation in Gaza.
“I can’t describe in words what is happening in Gaza.”
Meanwhile, extreme right-wing circles in Israel have called on the Israeli government to annihilate Gazans.
In Jewish settlements in and around the West Bank town of Hebron, Jewish settlers were seen dancing in an apparent expression of joy over the tragedy in Gaza, with some of them of them shouting in Hebrew “death to the Arabs” and “Arabs to the Gas chambers.”
Earlier, settlers wielding automatic rifles attacked Palestinians and vandalized their property in Hebron in full view of Israeli occupation soldiers who looked on passively. At least 11 Palestinians were reported injured, with most of them suffering cuts and bruises and other minor injuries.
Since the beginning of 2008, the Israeli occupation army murdered as many as 40 Palestinians and injured hundreds, with many suffering permanent disabilities.
The often pornographic bloodshed prompted UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, John Dugard, to castigate Israel’s indiscriminate killing of Palestinians.
Dugard said Israel ought to have foreseen the loss of life and injury to many civilians when it targeted the Ministry of Interior building in Gaza earlier a few days ago.
The wanton killings, said Dugard, “raises very serious questions about Israel’s respect for international law and its commitments to the peace process.”
He added that Israeli atrocities violated the strict prohibitions on collective punishment contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention.