Given the current situation in the Gaza Strip I felt necessary to begin this blog with a post on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
According to a recent report by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA):
“Between July 7 and 16, Israel’s bombardment of Gaza killed 214 Palestinians (164 of whom were civilians) and injured 1,585 (including 435 children and 282 women). To date, 22,600 people have been displaced and are living in UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools, because their homes have been destroyed or damaged or their neighborhoods are unsafe. Since the start of the emergency, 79 schools and 23 health care facilities in Gaza have sustained damage, at least 25,000 children are estimated to be in need of specialized psychosocial support, and 900,000 people are currently without water supply.”
As noted by Pia Wanek of the Middle East Institute, a DC based think-tank:
“To fully understand the significance of these numbers, one must remember that these losses occur within a protracted humanitarian crisis that has intensified since Israel imposed an illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2007.” (The Israeli blockade, sanctioned by the United States and implemented with the help of the Hosni Mubarak regime in Egypt, was primarily a response to the 2006 Palestinian elections that brought to power Hamas).
Last Wednesday 16th US President Barack Obama publicly commented on the crisis:
“[…] we continue to support diplomatic efforts to end the violence between Israel and Hamas. As I’ve said repeatedly, Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorize the Israeli people. There is no country on Earth that can be expected to live under a daily barrage of rockets. And I’m proud that the Iron Dome system that Americans helped Israel develop and fund has saved many Israeli lives. But over the past two weeks, we’ve all been heartbroken by the violence, especially the death and injury of so many innocent civilians in Gaza.
I am left wondering if President Obama had been provided with the UN OCHA report or if he had read Wanek’s article before making his comments on the crisis in Gaza…