Meanwhile in Gaza…

With all eyes on the horrific and escalating Lebanon crisis, Gaza has been forgotten. But things aren’t looking too good there. From Reuters, July 17:

Aid agencies express concern about humanitarian crisis facing Gaza
Christian Aid, Oxfam International and Save the Children UK fear that escalating violence in Gaza will lead to a humanitarian crisis for over 1.3 million Palestinians.

Without electricity, following the military strike on Gaza’s sole power station, three key sewage treatments plants are now out of action and over one hundred municipal water wells can no longer operate normally.

The agencies warn of an increasing scarcity of clean water, an increase in water -borne diseases from untreated sewage, and of a health system under extreme stress without stable power supplies.

Action must be taken by both Israel and the Palestinians to stop this deteriorating situation and bring a peaceful end to the crisis. All parties, including the international community, have a responsibility to protect civilians from violence.

The Government of Israel must end its continuing destruction of civilian infrastructure, including electrical generators and water pipelines necessary for survival and immediately restore supplies of food, medicine, electricity, fuel and water as well as opening the Karni crossing for goods.

Palestinian armed groups must stop indiscriminate attacks on Israel that harm civilians, including firing Qassam rockets into Israel. The international community also has a duty under international law to ensure the protection of all civilians.

Adam Leach, regional director from Oxfam said: ‘Ordinary Palestinians are suffering from the destruction of bridges, water pipelines and electricity supplies – all things that civilians are entitled to and depend upon.

‘Hundreds of thousands of people are without a regular supply of water. Many of our vital water projects had already been interrupted because of prolonged Israeli restrictions stopping supplies entering Gaza. People’s basic rights are being denied – this does nothing to secure a just and lasting peace in the region.’

Mr Leach said: ‘The crisis comes as tens of thousands of families in Gaza and the West Bank are struggling to survive without an income because of the suspension of tax payments by the Government of Israel and aid by the international community to the Palestinian Authority.’

Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of Save the Children added: ‘In May, Save the Children warned of a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. Today we fear that the situation is sliding towards a humanitarian catastrophe.

From AP, July 17:

Other front: Gaza faces fresh raids

GAZA STRIP: Israel bombed the Palestinian Foreign Ministry building early Monday and troops clashed with militants in the northern part of the territory as the army pressed forward in its three-week offensive and search for a kidnapped soldier.

An Israeli soldier was killed and six others wounded in the West Bank city of Nablus when Palestinian militants detonated explosives against troops carrying out an arrest operation, the Israeli army said.

The huge blast from the second Israeli airstrike on the ministry in less than a week caused a wing of the building to collapse and damaged dozens of houses. Black smoke covered the area as police vehicles and ambulances raced in, sirens blaring.

Clouds of smoke rose from the already-damaged building after an Israeli plane dropped the bomb, which exploded shaking the entire area.

At least nine people in nearby houses were injured, rescue workers said. Some 50 apartments were severely damaged and shacks in a nearby shantytown collapsed, residents said.

See our last posts on Gaza and the Lebanon crisis.