In the midst of Egypt's struggles, Gaza is again forgotten.
The events in Egypt led first to speculation that the Rafah crossing might be closed, which became a certainty today.
Ma'an News reports that the border (the only crossing not directly controlled by the Zionists, indirectly, yes) was closed due to "security unrest" in the Sinai peninsula.
Press TV reports that "Some 800 Palestinian people normally leave for Egypt and beyond through the Rafah crossing, the only passageway leading to the rest of the world for most Gazans."
So Palestinians in Gaza are not only under a seven-year long blockade (and over a decade of continually tightening closures), but are once again locked in (and out, for those who happened to be outside of the Strip) the very tiny, very overcrowded Gaza Strip, with no concept of when their jailing gate will be re-opened.
"The hardest thing in Gaza, we have to wait for everything. Every moment we are waiting, must be patient, without patience you don't stand a chance.
"You have to wait for the power to come back on. Have to wait for the border to open. Have to wait to receive your salary." (If you have work, which 34 percent of Gaza's population don't.)
"You have to wait for a shared taxi because there's a serious gas shortage now. Every possible thing, you have to wait and wait and wait for."
The few things he listed are only but a few of the daily frustrations, things which drive you crazy, suffocate and depress you, every single day.
But then there is the gas and fuel crisis, the shattered economy, the patients waiting for operations and medications...
The Palestinian Information Center reports that "Gaza's fuel crisis will lead to an imminent humanitarian and environmental disaster, as it has started to cripple the vital sectors in the Gaza Strip." And, that "190 water wells supplying 1.7-million citizens and four sewage treatment stations will stop working," meaning more shit will be pumped into Gaza's sea. (That's my wording, and it's really the only way to put it. Last time I checked, sewage was being pumped into the sea at a rate of 90-million litres/day. With a growing population and growing power outages, I can only imagine the number higher now.)
The article also mentions the impact of the fuel crisis on waste collection, which even without the fuel shortage is already in its own crisis.
Palestinian fishers wait for the Zionist navy to stop shooting on them, stop abducting them. Wait futilely for any government or supposedly powerful body (when does the UN use its power? When NATO and the West wish it so...Libya) to actually intervene and stop the Zionist piracy in Palestinian waters.
In a recent demo against the siege, "Abu Zakariya Baker, an official in the Agricultural Work Committee" said that "There has been a dramatic increase in the number of arrests and attacks against fishermen since Israel's assault on Gaza last November," and that last year alone "Over 50 fishermen have been arrested and eleven fishing boats destroyed," Ma'an reports.
A few weeks ago, Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur re Palestine, condemned (again) the continued Israeli-led blockade and collective puishment of Gaza.
The usual stats:
- over 80 per cent of Gaza's 1.7 million dependent on food aid (which in itself is shockingly inadequate, comprising only flour, oil, sugar and maybe lentils...no fruit or vegetables, no wonder anaemia and malnutrition are rampant.)
- over 90 per cent of Gaza's water is undrinkable (95 per cent, according to WHO).
- power outages of 12 or more hours daily
- fishers and farmers harassed, shot at by the Israeli army
- severe restrictions on exports (read: virtually no exports at all)
- denial of exit to patients seeking treatment in hospitals outside of Gaza
And now reports of Egyptian bulldozers destroying Gaza's tunnels, the tunnels which have largely prevented Gaza from completely imploding. Middle East Monitor reports thatyesterday the bulldozers, accompanied by military vehicles, began the destruction.
It isn't surprising that, according to Al Monitor, suicides are on the rise in Gaza.
That said, if those outside of Palestine were subject to even a fraction of the miseries imposed on Gaza, suicides would be a lot higher. Palestinians are among the most resilient people I've met.
And with all the new and old developments continuing quietly, the quiet killing of a population, Israeli bulldozers continue to ravage border land in Gaza, and Occupied Palestine reports the 204th Israeli violation of the Nov 2012 ceasefire.
I love the sabr (cacti) in Gaza, but come on, enough thorns already. Palestinians have uspoored (been patient; cactus and patience are said the same way) enough.
Photo: Emad Badwan