JULY 2007



NEWS FROM GAZA STRIP:Shell-shocked in the Strip: Israeli Attacks and Border Closures Exacerbate Daily Suffering

At the Rafah border, in limbo and unable to make it home, Palestinians are suffering from another aspect of the Israeli government’s policy of imposed collective suffering through border closures, economic sanctions, air and land attacks, and extreme military control of Palestinian areas. These latest closures will achieve neither the peace nor security Israel professes to desire. Nonetheless, Israel continues the inhumane policy of denying Palestinians access to medical care, food, and supplies outside of Gaza, and continues to hold hostage the many Palestinians who have been waiting for over three weeks now to return home. At the Rafah border they wait, sleep, and live in the streets, most having allotted only money and food for a few days’ wait, at worst. Thus, weeks later, they’ve run out of money, and have no water for showering, nor food for their children. Today, a Palesinian woman, Taghreed Abeaed 31 years old died while she was waiting in very bad conditions at Rafah border. Taghreed is the mother of fice children was in trip to Egypt and now he body is not beling allowed into Gaza for buring!

"I haven’t been able to find water to bathe with for several weeks now," said 49 year old Umm Rami, stuck on the Egyptian side. She is trying to return home after having knee surgery, now unexpectedly stuck without water or medicine. "I have no idea where to go; I’m alone here with my young daughter, without anything—we’ve run out of everything we need: food, water, money. We are unwashed and stink, besides being hungry and exhausted."

Western Union and DHL have since last week been discontinued in the Strip by Israel, making it impossible for families to send money to those who are trapped at the crowded, service-less borders of Gaza.

New violence comes to Gaza in the form of new Israeli attacks, following previous recent Israeli strikes throughout the Strip. Israeli tanks and bulldozers rolled into Gaza City, into the southern town of Khan Younis, and into the north of Gaza in simultaneous incursions launched overnight, leaving many dead and wounded.

Dr. Mawia Hassanen at Al Shifa Hospital reported 13 deaths, including civilians and a 9 year old child, from the latest Israeli attacks, many of whom were unidentifiable due to the obliterating damage and burning from Israeli tanks’ shells. Another twenty Palestinians were wounded, including seven in critical condition.

Compounding the border and invasion suffering of Gazans, severe water shortages, as in Rafah refugee camp, are hitting people hard, particularly during the extremely hot summer months, when the need for water is greatest. Today marks the fourth day meager water supplies for drinking and cooking have had to be brought into Bader camp in Rafah.

Two days on, the Israeli air strikes ever-continue. Khan Younis eyewitnesses report the latest air strikes targeted Islamic Jihad members, with at least three rockets hitting a white Subaru, injuring passers-by in the street and killing three inside: Mohamed Al Raie, Raed Ghannam and his cousin Zeyad Ghannam.

As I write, yet another Israeli strike has targeted a car, killing a further three unidentified Palestinians and injuring many more. Saturday’s fatalities alone number 7, with uncounted civilian injuries.

With the Gaza Strip so isolated, and given the on-going attacks and bloodshed in Gaza, Gazans wait, fatigued and in fear of the next inevitable Israeli attacks to come.

To Ramiro Cibrian - Head of Delegation of the European Commission to the State of Israel

Dear Ramiro Cibrian

We get very worrying reports of the situation of some 6000 Palestinians, who are already days waiting at
the Rafah crossing, barred from returning home, exposed to the climate and deprived of water. Among
them are ill people returning from hospital treatment in Egypt. Already a mother of five children, the 31
years old Taghreed Abeaed, has died in these very terrible conditions (and even her body is not allowed
in for burial).

This border crossing having been monitored by EU functionaries we think that you can exert some
influence through your channels, and that you will use your leverage to end the humanitarian crisis there -
i.e. letting the monitors return.

Please, act before more people die

Adam Keller
Gush Shalom Spokesperson
0506-709603 / 03-5565804

cc to Luisa Morgantini (MEP)Humanitarian crisis at Rafa border crossing - what the EU could do