Gaza Strip 24 November 2008
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You have reached an Electronic Intifada slide show. The Electronic Intifada (EI), found at electronicIntifada.net, publishes news, commentary, analysis, and reference materials about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from a Palestinian perspective.
Over the past few weeks, Israel has tightened its inhumane siege of the Gaza Strip’s 1.5 million residents. Ignoring international appeals, Israel closed all border crossings with Gaza thereby preventing basic supplies from entering the tiny coastal strip. This included industrial fuel for Gaza’s sole power plant leaving roughly one million people without power as well as food supplies for the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, despite the call by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to end the siege.
The recent power blackout has pervaded every Palestinian house. Several hospitals have been forced to suspended surgeries and medical treatment. Today, at Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest medical center, one of the generators stopped working leaving parts of the hospital without power. In addition, prices of alternative sources of fuel have increased dramatically and are unaffordable to most in the impoverished Strip.
Without power, Palestinian homes and farms do not have access to fresh water, forcing Gazans to travel long distances for potable water. Moreover, sewage water is not being treated and officials fear that it will leak into and contaminate groundwater wells, spreading disease across Gaza.
On Saturday, 22 November, I toured Gaza City and authenticated the bleak reality of people through my camera. The dark streets further demonstrating the physical and spiritual fatigue experienced by Palestinians, now enduring the 18th month of Israel’s siege while the world remains indifferent to their suffering.
Sameh A. HabeebÂ is a photojournalist, humanitarian andÂ peace
activistÂ based inÂ Gaza, Palestine. He writes for several news websites on a freelance basis.