Israel ignores UN Security Council resolution

UNITED NATIONS (IPS) - International aid organizations, including the United Nations humanitarian agency in Palestine, are calling for the immediate implementation of the Security Council resolution passed late Thursday demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. “The Council must ensure that the words in the resolution must quickly translate into meaningful change,” said Nicole Widdersheim of Oxfam International. 

Threat of epidemics in Gaza

RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IRIN) - The total halt to vaccinations in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began on 27 December could result in epidemics, a risk increased by Gaza’s high population density and dire living conditions, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on 8 January. Some 1.5 million Palestinians live in the 365-square kilometer coastal Strip. 

Tens of thousands flee Rafah

TEL AVIV (IRIN) - Independent confirmation of the situation in Gaza, particularly in Rafah on the border with Egypt, is difficult as Israel’s ban on journalists entering the Strip remains in place. Telephone lines are overloaded and affected by power cuts. Rafah residents told IRIN by phone that tens of thousands had fled heavy Israeli bombardments, with some seeking refuge at United Nations institutions or at homes of friends and relatives in areas further from the border but still in the south. 

Egypt closes Gaza border to aid

CAIRO (IPS) - Egyptian authorities have almost fully sealed the border with Gaza, preventing delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid. “The government has expressly forbidden the entry of aid convoys laden with food into the Gaza Strip,” Emmad al-Din Moustafa, member of the Popular Committee for Aiding Gaza told IPS. “The continued border closure — like the Israeli assault itself — constitutes a crime against humanity.” 

Claiming impartiality, Europe leans towards Israel

BRUSSELS (IPS) - In carefully crafted official statements, diplomats have portrayed the European Union as something of an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet even though almost all of the people killed over the past fortnight have been Palestinians, some top-ranking leaders in the 27-country bloc have tacitly offered their support for Israel’s bombing and invasion of Gaza. 

Gaza short of food

GAZA CITY/RAMALLAH, Occupied Palestinian Territory (IRIN) - Civilians are finding it increasingly difficult to find food in Gaza. Markets opened briefly in Gaza City on 5 January, but they had little to offer, according to residents. Queues for bread formed, with buyers limited to five shekels worth per person — about 35 flat breads — not enough for families with an average of six children. 

Czech EU presidency misses the mark on Gaza

In early December the European Parliament postponed a vote on the proposal by the EU Commission and Council for a draft recommendation to conclude a Protocol to the EU-Israel Association Agreement, including general principles governing the State of Israel’s participation in Community programs. This vote would have been an important step in the process of upgrading EU-Israel relations, requested by Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, during her hearing in the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs. Adri Nieuwhof and Daniel Machover comment. 

UN diplomats frustrated at Gaza impasse

UNITED NATIONS (IPS) - Disappointed with the Security Council’s inaction regarding the worsening situation in Gaza, diplomats from numerous nations of the global South are close to taking the case of Israeli aggression to the United Nations General Assembly. “It seems like they will wait for another day or two about what happens at the Security Council. If the Council does not take any action, they will be going to the General Assembly soon,” a diplomatic source told IPS on condition of anonymity. 

Israel invades Gaza, blocks ceasefire

RAMALLAH (IPS) - Israel launched a ground incursion into Gaza late Saturday night, ending a week of speculation whether a ground assault would follow a week’s intensive bombardment of Gaza from the air and coast. Simultaneously, Israeli officials in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction at a United States veto of a draft United Nations Security Council resolution, put together by Libya, which outlined a proposed ceasefire.