The TLV snapchat story is a perfect showcase of how, even a year on after the beginning of the assault on Gaza, Israelis still lead and live normal lives while being totally unaffected by the ongoing siege and occupation whatsoever, while fasting Palestinians in Gaza throughout Ramadan are having iftar besides the rubbles of their own homes and are still living in immense poverty due to the devastating effects of Israel’s mass-scale bombing campaign.

Gaza, one year on: 10 facts

A year has passed since the beginning of the assault on Gaza. In 51 days, over 2,200 Palestinians lost their lives and 11,200 were left injured. “Operation Protective Edge” was one of the most deadly attacks on Gaza and reduced entire neighbourhoods of the Strip to rubble. Today, the media spotlight has moved on, but Palestinian families are still living among the rubble of their destroyed houses, with little food, no electricity and no running water.

1.       Thousands of people are still homeless

  • 100,000 people whose houses were destroyed during the conflict are still without homes
  • Less than 1% of the construction materials required to rebuild houses has entered Gaza and at this rate, it will take decades to rebuild.

 2.       The children of Gaza are paying the highest price

  • More than 1,500 children lost one or both parents.
  • 1,000 out of the 3,000 children injured in the Gaza assault have life-long disabilities.
  • The vast majority of children suffer from severe emotional distress and trauma – the UN estimates that 373,000 children need psychological support.  

 3.       The health sector has been left shattered

  • 73 hospitals & healthcare facilities were damaged or destroyed during the assault.
  • 16 healthcare workers were killed, 83 ambulance drivers and volunteers were injured.
  • The total cost of the conflict to Gaza’s health care system is estimated at $50 million.
  • Medicines are at zero stock levels.
  • The destruction of Al-Wafa hospital has left Gaza with no rehabilitation centre and 1,000 disabled children without care.

 4.       Food insecurity is a major issue

  • Food insecurity was at 57% before the conflict. It now affects 73% of the population.
  • An estimated 80% of the population relies on humanitarian aid, mainly food assistance.
  • 10% of children under 5 in Gaza suffer from stunting or malnutrition.

 5.       Access to clean water is extremely difficult

  • 95% of the water is unfit for human consumption.
  • Lacking the money to buy bottled water, families often don’t drink for long periods.
  • At the beginning of 2014, only a quarter of Gazan households had access to running water every day, and only for a few hours at a time. The assault only made the situation worse, due to the severe damage to infrastructure.

 6.       Constant shortages of electricity

  • The only power plant was destroyed during last year’s assault and is now running at half capacity due to shortages in fuel with critical public service installations facing power cuts up to 18 hours per day.
  • Electricity deficit increased by almost 20%, reaching about 65%.

7.       Overwhelmed water supply and sewage systems

  • Theses electricity shortages, along with restrictions on the import of construction material, pumps and spare parts, have left Gaza’s water supply and sewage systems completely overwhelmed. 
  • Up to 90 million litres of partially-treated sewage are being discharged into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. 
  • Experts deem Gaza’s current waste disposal operations unhealthy, causing a serious threat to public health.

 8.       Unemployment is at its highest

  • Gaza’s unemployment rate is 43% overall and youth unemployment rate is 67%, one of the highest in the world.
  • 40,000 people employed in the agriculture and fishery sector have been affected

 9.       A destroyed economy

  • Thousands hectares of cropland, including agricultural infrastructure (i.e., greenhouses, irrigation systems, livestock shelters, and fishing boats) were destroyed during the attack.
  • 963 enterprises in the manufacturing sector were hit during the assault.
  • The 8 years blockade has completely destroyed the economy, having put severe restrictions in place preventing goods from leaving Gaza.

 10.   Academic achievement is dropping

  • 30% of education facilities sustained damage or were destroyed during the assault.
  • Traumatised children have weakness in memory and decreased concentration. They absorb less material, lack a desire to learn and also lack proper conditions to study.
  • University students struggle to cope with the loss of their peers and the lack of opportunities after graduation.

Please send a letter to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs today.

US only country to oppose UN holding Israel accountable for war crimes, yet again

July 6 2015

The US was the only country in the world to oppose a resolution calling for Israel to be held accountable for war crimes, at the 29th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), held from 15 June to 3 July 2015.

The US voted against “ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in” the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

41 nations voted for the measure, including Germany, France, Japan, Brazil, China, and more. Just five nations abstained—the most high-profile of which was India, which is presently run by a right-wing Hindu nationalist government that spends billions on Israeli weapons.

This vote came just weeks after the release of the UN Human Rights Council report on the 2014 Gaza war, which documents possible war crimes by Israel, including the deliberate targeting of besieged Palestinian civilians.

Israel and the US accused the UN of downplaying violations of international law by the Gazan armed resistance in its report. Scholar Norman Finkelstein, nevertheless, argued that the report was in fact biased in the interest of Israel, calling it “tepid” and “unserious,” accusing it of exhibiting “rank anti-Muslim bigotry.”

This is by no means the first time the US has flaunted its utter contempt for international law in the chambers of the UN. In fact, it did precisely the same less than a year before.

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In memory: The children of Gaza
On July 8, 2014, 7 members of the Kaware family were killed when a missile was fired at their building from an F-16 fighter jet.
Pictured: Hussein Kaware (13 years old), Mohammad Ali Kaware (12 years old), Abdullah Hamed Kaware (6 years old), Qasem Kaware (12 years old)
An Israeli airstrike leveled the building, and killed seven people, including five children, on the spot and injured 28 others.

Jaffa*

I want snapchat to do a snapchat of Gaza, show the other side of the coin. You’ll show what they’re doing in Tel Aviv (Jaffa), now show the other side of the coin.
Show Gaza
Show the kids without parents
Show the broken houses
Show the Palestinians blocked at the checkpoints
Show the abuse shown to the elderly
Show the bravery in the eyes of the children.
Thanks for showing the world what Israel has taken away from Palestinians. No matter what Israel takes, Palestine will never die.

'Hamas Aiding Islamic State (ISIS) in Egypt to Prepare for Next War with Israel' - One year since Operation Protective Edge, IDF official says Hamas using ISIS in Sinai to reopen arms smuggling tunnels - 7 July 2015

Israel has claimed that Hamas is aiding ISIS’s branch in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in order to free up arms-smuggling routes into Gaza, in preparation for its next war with Israel.
In an interview with Israel Radio, a senior IDF officer responsible for monitoring Israel’s southern borders with Gaza and Egypt claimed that, despite the ideological differences between them, a strategic alliance has been forged between Hamas in Gaza and ISIS’s “Sinai Province.”
“Why was it is so very important for them [Hamas] to develop the connection with Sinai Province? Because they need the raw materials that would enable the military build-up in Gaza,” the Israeli colonel said, according to Reuters.
“To carry out high-quality smuggling required a special operation,” he added, speaking on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, and on condition of anonymity.
Hamas is banking on the success of “Sinai Province” in driving the Egyptian military from parts of Sinai - particularly those bordering Gaza -  with the “objective of opening up a conduit” into Gaza, he said.
Under the rule of current President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, Egypt has taken a hard line against Hamas - the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood - systematically destroying its vast network of smuggling tunnels from Sinai into Gaza, and even imposing a “buffer zone” between Egypt and Gaza.
Together with Israel’s own limited blockade of the Hamas-ruled enclave, those measures have made it difficult for Hamas to rebuild its badly-damaged capabilities and infrastructure, in particular its stockpile of heavy weapons and advanced, medium- and long-range rockets.
Hamas for its part has repeatedly rejected claims by Israel that it is aiding ISIS, which is also gaining a foothold in Gaza itself. Israeli officials have accused Hamas of playing an active part in the recent deadly assault on Egyptian forces in Sinai which left some 100 people dead.
But Hamas leaders have in turn accused Israel of “sending ISIS” to overthrow Hamas’s rule in Gaza, following clashes between pro-ISIS elements and Hamas authorities.
But those clashes are notably local in nature, and have only involved Salafi-jihadist factions “inspired by” or loosely affiliated with ISIS - as opposed to “Sinai Province,” which is ISIS’s only official branch in the region.
Hamas official Sami Abu-Zuhri accused Israel of conducting “a systematic incitement campaign” via the claims.
“The Egyptian side understands that Hamas had no connection to what happened in Sinai and also realizes the efforts Hamas is making to to keep Gaza away from what happens there,” he said.
It would not be the first time Hamas has cooperated with a groups or states with whom it is at odds with ideologically. The Sunni Islamist terror group has for years received support from Shia Islamist Iran and its main proxy Hezbollah.
That assessment is also shared by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.
Speaking Tuesday, he drew a distinction between the local conflict between Hamas and ISIS sympathizers in Gaza, and cooperation between Hamas and “Sinai Province” in Egypt.
“Hamas is fighting ISIS in the Strip, but on the other side there is cooperation between Hamas elements from Gaza and ISIS in Sinai,” Yaalon stated.

A year after the war, Gaza grieves for its child casualties

At a school where six boys were killed during last summer’s Israeli offensive, the loss is an open wound. For other young Palestinians, the scars are psychological

July 6 2015

The walls of the office of Salim Abu Rous, headmaster of the Doha boys’ secondary school in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, are decorated with medals and trophies. He has photo albums of the boys in football teams and other clubs.

About 1,000 pupils attend his school, arriving in two shifts – so many that he struggles to remember the names of all the boys killed in last summer’s war.

“I remember Haitham Abdul Wahab,” he says finally, flicking through one of the picture albums to try to find him. “He was a good boy. He was well loved in the school. He was killed at his uncle’s house with his brother and mother.”

Six pupils from the Doha school were killed in the war, more than from any other school in Gaza. In total, more than 550 Palestinian children died during the conflict. Across Gaza, schools lost pupils and teachers, and thousands were injured.

Salim Abu Rous’s difficulty in remembering all the dead boys is understandable given some had not long transferred into his large school.

But there is another, grimmer, reason. “There were so many deaths in the last war,” he says – so many it was hard to process them. The consequence is that, on an institutional level at least, it appears as though the boys have been almost erased from the school’s memory.

But in their homes in neighbourhoods and villages across the Rafah area – which saw some of the heaviest attacks of the 50-day war – the anguish is still raw.

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