PressTV discusses the human cost of Israel’s collective punishment
“The 92nd patient [in the last three weeks] died today as an outcome of this siege. One of our patients, a child, 9-years old suffering from cancer, died today while trying to cross the border at the Erez Checkpoint for treatment in the West Bank.” Mona El-Farra, doctor and human rights advocate, speaking to PressTV’s Middle East Today on February 2nd, 2008.
Life in the Gaza Strip has never been easy, but in recent weeks the situation has worsened with a stepped up blockade by Israel.
The situation is so bad, the New York based Human Rights Watch issued a statement describing Gaza as the “largest prison on the face of the Earth” with Gaza residents being imprisoned and traumatized in their own land.
United Nations agencies operating in the Gaza have warned of a humanitarian crisis and have appealed for a relaxation in the siege to allow desperately needed supplies to be delivered, in particular to hospitals and schools.
The United States, meanwhile, maintained its unreserved and unquestioning support of Israel by vetoing a non-binding United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Israeli siege of Gaza. This brings to more than 60 the number of times the United States has blocked a resolution critical of Israel.
Since 1990, the United States has cast more Security Council vetoes than any other permanent member, many of them favoring Israel, its long-time ally.
PressTV’s Middle East Today program gave viewers a personal glimpse into the life of Gaza residents during an interview with El-Farra whose blog, From Gaza with Love, gives a first-hand and moving account of daily life in the Gaza Strip, declared a “hostile territory” by Israel.
“Long live Mr. Bush and Israel for this big blessing of electricity in Gaza,” wrote El-Farra on her blog recently.
She made her entry during one of the few opportunities allowed because of the chronic fuel shortage in the Gaza Strip, a result of the Israeli siege on the territory.
“On the other hand,” El-Farra told PressTV, “I was glad that the electricity was back because I don’t have regular power in my flat, as don’t most of the people of the Gaza Strip, so the problem of electricity is still there. And of course all the petrol stations in Gaza are closed, they don’t have enough fuel.”
El-Farra was speaking as thousands of Gaza residents were taking advantage of a breach of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt to buy essential supplies.
“People are still going to the Egyptian border for supplies and necessities,” she said, “The border was open, but the people didn’t have enough cash. NGOs and other organizations are working hard to help the people, but it is not enough. And then the Israelis announced they would not allow a fuel shipment into Gaza, adding to the problems of the people. The generators in the hospitals and operating rooms do not have enough fuel. “
So the life in Gaza at the moment is unbearable, El-Farra continued, but we are living here and we have to continue to help our people.
On her blog, El-Farra describes the daily horror of living under what many still describe as Israeli occupation, despite the fact that Israel officially withdrew from the territory three years ago.
“The [Israeli] settlers are out, but we are still occupied,” El-Farra explained, “It is a new version of occupation where the occupying forces control us from the outside. They control every aspect of our lives; the food we eat, the water we drink, the borders, the education, everything. That leads to an increasing number of children in Gaza who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, not only because of the closure, but because of the continuous Israeli military atrocities against us in Gaza. The number of children who suffer from PTSD is 61 percent, and this is according to the latest study from the Gaza Community Health Program.”