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Situation in Gaza Worst in 40 Years

March 06, 2008 02:16 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
British humanitarian agencies have released a report saying Gaza's inhabitants face the worst crisis since the 1967 Six-Day War.

30-Second Summary

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According to the report, 1.1 million people in Gaza, equivalent to three-quarters of the population, receive UN food aid. From June to September 2007, monthly household incomes fell by 22 percent.

“The UN appeal for humanitarian aid in 2008 is $462m, more than twice the 2006 appeal and the third largest UN request after Sudan and Congo,” reports the BBC.

The report largely attributes the deteriorating situation to the Israeli blockade. Gaza’s isolation began last June, after Hamas, the organization bent on stamping out the state of Israel, routed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah forces and took control of the area.

In January, Israel further fortified the blockade, limiting the flow of goods into Gaza in retaliation for rocket attacks into Israel.

Violence has escalated recently, as Israeli forces have met Hamas’ continued rocket fire with raids on Hamas in Gaza.

Israel claims the information in the humanitarian report is exaggerated, and defends its use of the blockade in curbing rocket attacks and other terrorist activity.

Opponents to the blockade argue that the suffering caused by Gaza’s isolation only fosters more anti-Israel hostility among Hamas and the Palestinian people.

The United States has recently urged Israel to ease the blockade. “Washington's shifting position on the blockade could make it difficult for Israel to maintain a cordon that is increasingly unpopular in Europe and the Arab world,” Reuters reports.

Headline Links: Humanitarian report indicates desperate situation in Gaza

Background: A surge in violence and America’s response to the blockade

Opinion & Analysis: Dealing with the violence

‘Israel Should Stop Harvesting Hatred—for Its Own Sake’
Israel’s reaction justified
A peace movement is necessary
‘Israel's Only Outlet Is to Rescue the Annapolis Process’

Historical Context: the Six-Day War

The Six-Day War, 1967
The prologue to the Six-Day War was Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s decision to send troops into the Sinai, the isthmus of land joining Egypt to Israel, and to set up a naval blockade around the Red Sea port town of Eilat. In June 1967, Israel acted preemptively to counter the strike it alleged was being planned by its neighbors.

The Israeli military crushed the armed forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, destroying most of the Egyptian air force before it had time to scramble one plane. Israel pushed its borders outwards occupying territory in the Sinai, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Reference: The report

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