Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Humanitarian Crisis?

Continuing the theme of a “humanitarian crisis” from the blog of a few days ago, it is already sickening to hear these constant claims from Hamas of the problems and shortages in the Gaza Strip. At every opportunity the Western media is being taken for a ride by the problems of Hamas’s own makings. Their complaints are getting sufficient attention from organizations such as Amnesty International, Terje Larsson, the BBC ad nauseum.

The facts on the ground are actually rather different. Of course the Palestinians in the Strip have got a problem but they are being used and exploited for the aims and objectives of Hamas.

The crossings into the Gaza Strip are always open UNLESS there is terrorist activity in thearea and day by day, tonnes of foods, produce, fuel, and heating oil are being transported into the Strip. Palestinian traders report stock levels of the order of 4000 tonnes, so just where is the problem?

Passage into Israel is also available for genuine hardship personal cases but we have to be cautious, our fingers have been burnt many times by terrorists abusing these border controls.

Der Spiegel in Germany,1518,540689,00.html reports the story of Iman Shafii, 32, who finally became pregnant after fertility treatment. After two of the four small embryos died, the two remaining embryos became increasingly fragile. "You have to go to Israel," the doctor told her. She reached Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon just in time, giving birth on Feb. 25, by Caesarean section, to a girl, Bayan, and a boy, Faisal. Today is the first day she is permitted to hold her babies in her arms. As the tears well up in her eyes, Shafii says, "If the children had stayed in Gaza, they would not have survived."

Ironically, in Ashkelon, Shafii is encountering, for the first time, victims of the acts of terror committed by her own people. One of them is nine-year-old Yossi. A steel frame holds his left shoulder together after it was fractured by shrapnel from a rocket that landed in Sderot. "The people in Sderot are suffering just as we are in Gaza," she says.

In Beit Lahia in Gaza, her husband, Ashraf Shafii, describes how masked men repeatedly set up their rocket launchers under the cover of houses. "They shoot at Israeli civilians, which is completely unacceptable," says Shafii. "And they put us Palestinian civilians in grave danger, because the Israelis shoot back."

The Times of the UK also report on witnessing an eight-day-old Mohammed Amin El-Taian being carried across the Erez crossing to Israel by a doctor from the Gazan Ministry of Health and handed to his counterpart from Magen David Adom (MDA), the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross. Mohammed - crippled by a chest infection, and heart and gastric problems - was then transferred along with his mother to the Dana Children's Hospital in Tel Aviv, where he was to get the emergency treatment needed to save his life. MDA says that around five patients a week are transferred into Israel for treatment.

Yonni Yogadovsky, of the Israeli MDA, said, "This is an established procedure and people from the hospitals [in Gaza] and Hamas know about it. We are neighbors and it happens that we don't like each other very much. But when it comes to emergencies that save human lives, this is beyond political disputes."

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