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Perspective: Gaza rockets versus Israeli Air Strike Updated

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Gaza Electricity Crisis Week 2

How I spend my time: reading Crime and Punishment by candle light.

How I spend my time: reading Crime and Punishment by candle light.


The fuel shortage here in Gaza continues to worsen and today I received only 4 1/2 hours of electricity. Hospitals & operation rooms, blood banks even laboratories could stop working because due to the fuel shortages. According to the Ministry of Heath “This will ultimately deprive 476 kidney failure patients in Gaza from medical treatment and brings to halt the operation of 113 hospital incubators, 45 operations rooms and caesarean birth rooms…”

It is very difficult to even get a taxi now so university students taking exams next week will have to find alternative ways to get to school.PA is reportedly in negotiations with Egypt to end the crisis and there is fuel from Qatar just waiting to be allowed in- but an agreement on HOW it will cross the border has stopped it thus far. In the years prior, Hamas refused to allow fuel to be shipped in via the crossings with Israel but they had relaxed this rule over the past 1.5 years.

In my house we had begun to rely on electric appliances in order to cook food to save precious cooking fuel. Now with the 12-16 hour blackouts we are forced to use the cooking gas instead. I am worried what will happen when it runs out because cooking gas is almost as hard to find as fuel for cars now. I fear it is going to be a long hard winter for us in Gaza much worse than in the previous years.

Israeli Embassy of Shame

Not so long ago the Israeli Embassy in US embarrassed itself by creating a fake LinkedIn profile for newly elected Iranian President Rouhani. My jaw dropped when I read about it. Not only is it immensely juvenile but it also borders on libel. According to Mondoweiss the fake account proclaims President Rouhani as a “nuclear proliferation expert.” The Embassy also made a scathing tweet from their Twitter account which states President Rouhani is an “expert salesman who is bullish on nuclear proliferation.”
It seems today they were at it again. They posted a photo of Iranians protesting the anniversary of the US coup in Tehran by burning flags with the caption “Imagine them with a bomb”. I am offended and disgusted at the bigotry and hypocrisy of the post. Embassy of ISrael bogotryI understand the political unrest between the two countries but this is more than out of line. Embassies are supposed to be a shining example of the country they represent. What does it say about Israel if their embassy is openly hostile and bigoted? Further, what does it say about Israeli government if they allow this to happen?

How I Stay Connected When The Electricity Is Off In Gaza

Car batteries attached to converter unit

Car batteries attached to converter unit

I have been asked many times how I stay connected and post when the electricity is off in Gaza. Right now we are facing 12 hour blackouts and with Israeli aggression it is important we continue to blog and tweet so our voices are heard.
I have a converter powered by a car battery and one battery reserved as a back up. I can run one light bulb, my router, and lap top for about 8 hours before I need to recharge it. The cost for this unit is 700 shekels ($200 USD) and the batteries cost another 700 shekels which might not seem like much but in Gaza even that amount is out of reach for a majority of families. We also have a gas fueled generator but as fuel is scarce we never use it. Many people have converted their gas generators to work on cooking gas instead but this is hard on the engine and the environment. Gaza has had to adapt to the fuel and electricity shortages and this has ushered in an innovative phase and we have used the challenges as an opportunity to be inventive and resourceful.

Front Panel

Front Panel

Small amount of light from one light bulb -you can barely see my cat on the sofa

Small amount of light from one light bulb -you can barely see my cat on the sofa


DCIM100MEDIA

Gaza Under Attack: October 31-November 01, 2013

Last night Israel began a new operation in Gaza and according to IOF it was in response to the tunnel they uncovered leading to Israel in early October. The attacks were concentrated in Khan Younis area and consisted of mostly tank and helicopter shelling but from the Navy and drones as well.
small map Gaza
According to Hamas, 4 Qassam members (armed wing of Hamas) were killed while it is reported 5 Israeli soldiers were injured. All night Israeli drones hovered in the air threatening to attack and many of us lay awake in bed wondering if we would see the sun rise. This attack was small in comparison to last year but worrisome none-the-less.I dread the night coming again for fear it will bring another round. Israeli army prefers to attack us in the dead of night and it is almost sunset. I will update this as well as my twitter feed if we are attacked again. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Electricity and Fuel Situation in Gaza

Gaza's electricity generator powered by fuel-photo courtesy Ma'an News Agency

Gaza’s electricity generator powered by fuel-photo courtesy Ma’an News Agency


The electricity generator for all of Gaza shut down at 6am this morning because it ran out of fuel. Unfortunately this isn’t the 1st time it has happened and will probably not be the last. Right now we are existing on the few megawatts purchased by the PA from Egypt and Israel that will provide us with approximately 4 to 6 hours of electricity each day.Normally we receive 8 hours of electricity then have rolling blackouts of 8 hours.
This is not merely about houses being in the dark-the generator shut-down disrupts municipal services as well. Local water pumping stations will be unable to function and provide us with water. We will have to rely on reserve water tanks that hold only a few hundred liters for each home. Once the reserve tanks are out it will be nearly impossible to refill them until regular electricity supply is restored. I am not sure how long this situation will last but is time to find a better way to ensure we have fuel, electricity and water.

Waiting for cooking fuel- photo courtesy of Shehab news Agency

Waiting for cooking fuel- photo courtesy of Shehab news Agency


Also cooking fuel is still scarce. Some people are resorting to burning paper and what wood they can find in order to cook food so they can eat. It is just beginning to be cooler weather in Gaza so this situation is bound to get worse unless an alternative can be found.

All this after a night of aggression by Israeli army. I wonder how much more we can take?

Gaza Wedding Procession

Short clip of a Gaza wedding procession from tonight. Enjoy

Apartheid roads: Restricted Roads in West Bank

The following charts outline the road restrictions in place by Israel on Palestinians in the West Bank. Can you imagine not being able to use a road simply because you are Palestinian?

Roads Palestinians are prohibited from using in the West Bank

Roads Palestinians are prohibited from using in the West Bank

Roads in West Bank with partial prohibitions for Palestinians

Roads in West Bank with partial prohibitions for Palestinians

Hebron roads with restrictions for Palestinians

Hebron roads with restrictions for Palestinians

Graphs all courtesy of B’Tselem

Drawing Circles In The Gaza Sky: An Israeli Air Force Hobby

Often we are given the *pleasure* of viewing Israeli Terror Air Force jet trails loop and curve across our sky. Today was one of those days. I wonder how many US $$$’s are spent on fuel to power the jets to take the *soldiers* on their creative drawing class trips?

Keep in mind Israel controls Gaza airspace and no commercial air traffic is allowed into Gaza airspace. Also, Gaza does not have a single plane, helicopter or drone so the only jet trails we see are from Israeli jets..the very same jets that bomb us.
oct 24 gaza 7

Sheikh Radwan Area of Gaza

Sheikh Radwan Area of Gaza

AL Jundi Street facing east in Gaza

AL Jundi Street facing east in Gaza

Jet trail stretched from south to north

Jet trail stretched from south to north

Restriction of Movement=Restriction of Trade

The following article is from B’Tselem can be found HERE

Checkpoints

In February 2013, there were 98 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank.

58 are internal checkpoints, which are situated well within the West Bank. These checkpoints include 17 in Area H2 in Hebron, where Israeli settlement enclaves are found. Thirty-four of the internal checkpoints are regularly staffed.

40 of the fixed checkpoints are the last inspection point before entering Israel, although most are located a few kilometers east of the Green Line, or just outside the entrance to Jerusalem. All these checkpoints are staffed regularly, and are closed when not staffed. Some have been completely or partially privatized, and several are staffed by armed civilian guards employed by private security companies under supervision of the Crossing Directorate of the Ministry of Defense.

At some of the checkpoints, Israel prohibits crossing for private Palestinian vehicles, apart from those with special permits, and in principle allows crossing only for public transportation and commercial vehicles.

In addition, the army erects hundreds of surprise flying checkpoints along West Bank roads. During the month of May 2012, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) counted some 256 flying checkpoints compared with c. 340 in March 2012. Between January 2011 and September 2011, OCHA counted a monthly average of c. 495 flying checkpoints. During 2009-2010, the monthly average for flying checkpoints was 351, and from September 2008 to March 2009, the monthly average was 65.
Physical obstructions

In addition, Israel has blocked the access roads to some of the main traffic arteries in the West Bank by means of hundreds of physical obstructions, such as dirt piles, concrete blocks, iron gates, and trenches. The number of obstructions fluctuates often, depending on political and security circumstances. During 2012, OCHA counted an average of 445 physical obstructions a month, compared to an average of c. 434 obstructions during the period May through December 2011 and an average of 519 during 2010.

The obstructions prevent the crossing of vehicles even in emergencies. In addition, they restrict the movement of many pedestrians who have trouble bypassing them: the elderly, sick persons, pregnant women, and small children.
Forbidden roads

Another restriction is forbidding Palestinians to use certain roads. In February 2013, there were 67 kilometers of roads in the West Bank that Israel classified for the sole, or almost sole, use of Israelis, primarily of settlers. Israel also prohibits Palestinians from even crossing some of these roads with vehicles, thereby restricting their access to nearby roads that they are ostensibly not prohibited from using. In these cases, Palestinians travelers have to get out of the vehicle, cross the road on foot, and find an alternative mode of transportation on the other side.

The forbidden-roads policy is not laid out in the military legislation or in any official document, except for the prohibition on travel on Route 443, a road that connects the Tel Aviv area with North Jerusalem, which was prescribed in a military order five years after the prohibition was instituted and was partially removed following a ruling by the High Court of Justice. Another road, which runs from the Beit ‘Awwa junction to the Negohot settlement, was reopened following a High Court ruling given in October 2009. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office informed B’Tselem that the prohibitions on Palestinian travel are based on “verbal orders” given to soldiers. This mode of operation adds a dimension of uncertainty and makes it difficult to critique the policy and test its validity in court.

The Separation Barrier

In addition to the above restrictions, the Separation Barrier, which was built mostly inside the West Bank, impairs Palestinian movement. As of February 2012, there were 35 checkpoints (included in the checkpoint data above) along the Barrier. In addition, OCHA counted, through the end of 2011, 60 agricultural gates intended to enable Palestinian farmers who live on one side and have farmland on the other side of the Barrier to get to their land. Crossing at these checkpoints and gates is conditioned on a special permit and by prior coordination with the Civil Administration. In recent years, Israel has reduced the number of permanent permits enabling access to land and communities situated on the western side of the Barrier and has limited the permits it issued to short, fixed periods.

The severe restrictions on persons wanting to cross the checkpoints and gates varies from one checkpoint and gate to another and from one time to another, but at almost all the regularly staffed checkpoints and gates of the Barrier, a person crossing on foot has to show an identity card or crossing permit and is checked in accordance with the procedures for crossing at the specific crossing. Often, soldiers check vehicles and the passengers’ items.

Unlawful policy causes collective punishment

One of the declared objectives of Israel’s policy restricting Palestinian movement is to protect the settlers. In light of the illegality of the settlements, the restrictions pile one illegal action on top of another: sweeping, disproportionate impairment of freedom of movement of an entire population to realize and perpetuate a policy that is illegal from the start. However, even if the restrictions were intended to prevent attacks inside Israel, and not in settlements, the policy would be illegal given its sweeping and disproportionate nature, which makes it prohibited collective punishment.Furthermore, Israel’s policy is based on the assumption that every Palestinian is a security threat, thus justifying restrictions on the person’s freedom of movement. This racist assumption brings with it the sweeping violation of human rights of an entire population based on national origin. As such, the policy flagrantly breaches international law.