“From a recent phone conversation with a family in Gaza I learned that families are now afraid to leave the buildings for fear of the fall-out from the phosphorus. Also I was told that the air in the buildings is becoming difficult to breathe. As the Israeli army advances farther into residential neighborhoods in the cities, the option of taking refuge anywhere that is safe becomes less and less of a possibility for civilians.”
J L Lewis, an American missionary worker in Palestine
Download the article White phosphorus and its use in Gaza from link above.
Hospital Bombing, Shelling
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) have just had confirmation from our hospital emergency aid coordinators that both Al Wafa Hospital, in the eastern part of Gaza City, and Al Fata (also known as Al Wiaim) Hospital, in Tal El Hawa, west of Gaza City, have both been bombed by the Israeli military.
Al Wafa hospital is the only rehabilitation hospital in all of Gaza.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that Al Quds Hospital has suffered a direct hit. Both Al Quds hospital and the European Hospital have been surrounded by Israeli troops and are reportedly being hit with white phosphorus.
The UN has warned that security for medical personnel and access to medical facilities continues to be of major concern. Attacks on medical personnel and ambulances have hampered the ability to assist the injured. According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), since 27 December 2008, 13 medical personnel have been killed and 22 medical personnel have been injured while on duty; 15 ambulances have been damaged and seven ambulances have been destroyed; and twelve health facilities have been damaged through direct or indirect shelling. For more information visit www.map-uk.org
On Friday, 16 January, a convoy organized by Physicians for Human Rights n Israel will leave Tel Aviv and Taybeh for Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinians and attempt to bring in food and medical supplies
House demolitions are on the increase
After the first week of Israelis attack on Gaza, OCHA estimated that 3600 houses had been demolished. Therefore with the continuing strikes, ICAHD is now quoting 25,000 Palestinian houses demolished since 1967.
Meanwhile in the West Bank, the Occupation continues with the expansion of settlements, construction of the light railway connecting settlements along with more settler-only roads, the Separation Wall erected over further miles, more trees uprooted, more house demolitions, closures and a collapsing economy.
Spirit of Humanity Turns Back
Posted this morning, 15 Jan, at www.freegaza.org is the press release about the latest boat sailing from Cyprus to Gaza. One paragraph reads:
At roughly 3am UST (1am GMT), in international waters 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY and began recklessly cutting in front of the slow-moving civilian craft. The Israeli warships radioed the SPIRIT, demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and “shoot.” When asked if the Israeli navy was acknowledging that they intended to commit a war crime by deliberately firing on unarmed civilians, the warships replied that they were prepared to use “any means” to stop the ship.