BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:00 P.M.) – The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip is quickly coming to a boiling point.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the 11th of August expressed their “deep concerns” for the intensifying conditions in the humanitarian crisis and when we look at the situation it’s really not hard to see why they are concerned.
The situation in Gaza:
Right now, the current situation in the Gaza strip is perhaps the worst it has ever been. If you are a 9 year old child in Gaza, you have lived through three separate wars, with each war delivering a different horror, ranging from illegally dropped white phosphorous, to the targeting of Gaza’s sewerage system and other essential facilities like Gaza’s only power plant.
Over 80% of Gazan’s currently rely upon international food aid to live, 96% of their the water is completely undrinkable, the unemployment rate in Gaza is 46%, over 60% amongst the youth and all these problems are being exacerbated by the recent ongoing (4 month) crisis.
Roughly eighty percent of Gazan’s currently receive only 2 hours (per day) of electricity due to the recent power crisis. The lack of electricity means that most of Gaza’s hospital facilities are rendered un-operational, with half of Gaza’s hospitals completely closing down.
Gazan’s are robbed of the right to self determination via agricultural means and cannot store fish that they catch (from the areas they are restricted to fishing within) due to lack of refrigeration means. Fishermen will often be targeted within Israel’s imposed zones and will be killed for no reason other than the Israelis felt like shooting.
Gaza is also deprived by Israel of the electricity necessary to pump sewerage properly, which results in sewage running into the streets, this has spiked an increase in disease. In Israel, Ashkelon beach has even been deemed un-swimmable as a result of their own policies – employed to strangle the population of Gaza – pouring over into their backyard.
Feel like leaving Gaza for medical reasons or study? Good luck! The only two exits are extremely hard to pass through with the Erez (Gaza-Israel crossing) racking up a 84% decline rate this year and the Rafah crossing (Egypt-Gaza crossing) is perhaps even harder to pass through, as the crossing opens randomly for short periods of time which are often unpredictable.
Ever since the Oslo accords Israel has officially (by international law) had the requirement to take care of the humanitarian situation (until Gaza gets self determination) and operate justly along the armistice lines which encompass Gaza (established in the early 1950’s).
The Israeli regime ignore international law with their illegally imposed siege and as they enter the eleventh year of the siege (as of June this year), they are now rolling out a two year “underground wall” building plan which will cage Gaza from under the ground. This move makes it evident that Israel do not want to end the siege any time soon (against international consensus).
This is just a brief outline of Gaza’s current condition for it’s two million plus inhabitants (most of whom are refugees), there are of course a plethora of other issues not noted above.
Hamas and their choices:
Since Mahmoud Abbas (President of the PA) set out on his mission to seize control of Gaza, the situation has only gotten worse and the pressure is really mounting on Hamas to act.
Mahmoud Abbas pleaded with Israel to shut down the power supply to Gaza and refused to pay Israeli companies to deliver Gaza it’s diesel fuel supply, on top of this the PA decided to slash the salaries of their members in Gaza by up to 70% sending many families below the poverty line.
The elected government in Gaza (Hamas) have also been backed into a corner as of late with the recent Gulf conflict between Qatar and neighboring countries. As a result of the tensions, Doha has been pressured extensively by Saudi Arabia to halt their funding and cut relations with Hamas.
Turkey, which provided Gaza with a donation of diesel fuel earlier this year (in February), seem to be very active in verbally advocating for the end to al-Aqsa tensions, but not so active in it’s aiding of the people of Gaza recently.
Hamas themselves can’t be regarded as angels in all of this of course, refusing to use donated oil trucks from Egypt due to political tensions and refusing much needed aid from Iran.
According to a leaked source (supposedly from within Hamas), it is being alleged that Hamas are considering giving up civilian control of Gaza and assuming military control of the strip alone in order to create a power vacuum, they would in this case hand control of the crossings to the likes of Islamic Jihad and other Islamist groups and this would be used as plan to keep the PA’s hands off of power in Gaza.
This plan – although denied by Hamas to be the case – could be one of many ways this could all escalate into a fourth military confrontation with the Israeli regime. If something similar to this plan was to be implemented, a war would be very possible.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is currently loosing favor in Israel and is loosing its following to far right parties. Netanyahu – who is currently under investigation for fraud – also knows that Israeli public opinion will skyrocket in his favor in the event of a conflict.
Despite a war being in their interests in terms of public opinion, the current state of Gaza is exactly how the Israeli regime wants it, in chaos with a crippling government and humanitarian catastrophe. So what happens next all depends upon which cards Hamas play.
All in all it seems as if the people of Gaza continue to bleed as the greed of politicians further ruin their lives. Israel wants rid of the Palestinians in Gaza and instead of uniting under one cause for the betterment of the people, Palestinian political parties play into the hands of their enemies by making the lives of the people in Gaza completely unbearable and devoid of any glimpse of hope.