Gaza under siege again, despite Israeli pledge

Israel went back on a pledge to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip Nov. 13, turning away critical UN deliveries of fuel and food at the borders for the seventh consecutive day. Gaza was plunged into darkness as the territory’s only power plant shut down for lack of fuel. Just before dark, Palestinans went into the streets in a frantic search for candles and bread. As night fell, sirens sounded across the Gaza Strip in protest of the closure.

Earlier in the day, 20 European consuls who planned to visit Gaza were turned away at the Erez border crossing. Aid workers were also denied entry to the Strip, and medical patients were prevented from entering Israel for treatment. John Ging, the director of UN operations in Gaza, warned of an impending “humanitarian disaster” if Israel continues to bar food and other supplies from the territory.

On Nov. 12, Israel had pledged to allow minimum shipments of fuel and 33 truckloads of food into Gaza. However, the trucks were turned away the following afternoon. Eight of the trucks contained sesame oil, milk and canned meats earmarked for UNRWA, the UN’s relief agency responsible for feeding 750,000 Palestinians in Gaza. (Ma’an News Agency, Nov. 13)

An Israeli military aircraft fired a missile at gunmen in the Gaza Strip early Nov. 14, wounding two of them, after a rocket and a mortar were fired at Israel. One woman was injured in the rocket attack on Sha’ar Hanegev kibbutz in the Negev. Rockets also landed near Ashkelon on the coast.

The Abu Ali Mustafa, an-Nasser and al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket strikes. The brigades are the armed wings of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and Hamas, respectively. (Ma’an News Agency, Reuters, J.Post, Nov. 14)

See our last posts on Palestine and Gaza.