Gaza in your backyard

A.P photo of Israeli's watching the bombing of Gaza.

A.P photo of Israeli’s watching the bombing of Gaza.

Rather than just post the latest Situation Report (Sitrep) from Gaza through the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) I have decided to provide a very brief summary of the 9 page report. see full list of current worldwide reports in new window here

These reports are provided daily, but for me in Australia it always seems they are not up to date as we are so many hours ahead. The US is even further behind, something that always pleases me somewhat even if it doesn’t really have much relevance! In a strange way its very affirming, just confirming for me how much our psyche relies on many strange and irrelevant arbitrary measures.

On talking with a friend yesterday it struck us that the blunt hand of ‘local’ comparitives seemed to strike the chord people needed to take register the depth of meaning of what is going on in Gaza. This is something that may otherwise be ‘too much’ to consume in one go or just ‘too far’ from their reality. This is particularly necessary for people to engage empathically with the Palestinian situation. A simple example we took was to look at the area of Gaza and the number of people who live there and try to fathom what that means in terms of our knowledge of local population and geographical spread.

GAZA (from CIA World Factbook, notice they have already apparently accommodated recent deaths as it is a July 2014 estimate! -commendable site moderation guys !)

  • Total Area: 360 sq km
  • Population: 1,816,379 (July 2014 est.)

So just to show you (if you live elsewhere check for you nearest comparison city here ) compared to Sydney with a population of 4.576 million (2010) ……. Gaza imposed over SydneyGaza is often cited as one of the most heavily populated regions of the world (heavily disputed by Israeli hasbara) we look more closely at this as average data can mask significant variations within urban areas. (For example, London and Athens have similar population densities but the core densities in Athens are considerably higher than in London. The Athens suburbs however, are among the least dense in the world.)

Some local Aussie comparisons,

  • Sydney        2037 sq k’s        population density (PD) of 2000 (people/sq k)
  • Darwin        1200 sq k’s        PD 216 people/sq k
  • Gaza Strip      44 sq k’s         PD 16,500 people/sq k

That’s 8.5 people for every Sydneysider!

So now let’s look at the major populated areas in Gaza (3 weeks ago) and the identified  people who are now dead in each community.

 

Area Name/proximity

Confirmed Dead (MMIC) names

Population figures  2006

Gaza City/surrounds include Shaja’eeya

295

830,700

Khan Yunisinc Ref Camp Southern area

323

179,800

Gaza Beach

5

Rafah Egypt border south

112

71,000

Jabalia Ref Camp and Northern area

72

82,900

now ‘mostly deserted’

Beit HanounNorthern area

41

32,200

now mostly deserted

Beit Lahiya Nth border area with Israel

32

59,500

Deir al-Bala, Al Buriej Al Maghazi Tilbani and Nusseirat Central includes refugee camps

98

62,200

Deir al Bala only

No area listed

174

Total (includes 315 children)

1151 identified

1359 reported killed

Gaza Strip map 2013 http://smpalestine.com/2013/04/04/resource-map-of-gaza-strip/

Gaza Strip map 2013 http://smpalestine.com/2013/04/04/resource-map-of-gaza-strip/

Some areas are sites of extreme devastation- Beit Hanoun in the North, Khan Younis in the south and Shaja’eeya east of Gaza City towards the eastern frontier with Israel  were crowded urban neighborhoods less than three weeks ago. Now they have been literally emptied, residents dead or joining more than 160,000 internally displaced traumatised people including large numbers of women and children see more here

The situation in Gaza has been described by an overwhelmed and crying UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness when explaining how “the rights of Palestinians… are wholesale denied” see here .

    • Whole urban communities have been forceably evicted not ‘displaced’
    • More than 5000 homes have been flattened
    • !3,000 UNRWA staff work in the Gaza Strip, to provide medical and humanitarian aid and shelter to more than 200,000 homeless and traumatised Palestinians
    • 68 families have lost three or more family members in the same incident

In addition to this wholesale slaughter by Israel, environmental issues of extensive repeated and ongoing bombardment by Israel include desertification, salination of fresh water, sewage treatment issues and water-borne disease, soil degradation, depletion and contamination of underground water resources. Issues that can only bring further tragedy. There is no time to renew from the last barrage of what Israel disgustingly calls ‘moving the grass’ to ensure Palestinians remain focused on survival.

We must not forget the recent ‘news’ that Israel has determined a 3km buffer zone to ‘protect themselves from tunnels’. A reduction in Gaza land of what the UN say is 44%.

The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory. Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=544_1406734466#B2WIu8q0Shs7PzPd.99
The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the 3-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory.
Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=544_1406734466#B2WIu8q0Shs7PzPd.99

Oh yes and then there’s the sea blockade.

The Turkish humanitarian relief organisation (IHH) is currently organising a “Freedom Flotilla II” which will carry humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip See here

When Israel was declared in 1948 on 78% of Palestine, the Jewish state had depopulated (through massacres, expulsion orders, and fear tactics) over 400 villages and forced 726,000 Palestinians into the life of refugees. As Moshe Dayan (The murdering Israeli Militarist with the eye patch) put it, “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.” source here. The 1967 War saw them occupy all of Palestine.

Though many have seen this map sequence it is still not known to most people when they open there mouths about Israels right to exist as a state.

Though many have seen this map sequence it is still not known to most people when they open there mouths about Israels right to exist as a state.

The current Gaza invasion of Israel under the highly orchestrated and planned ‘Operation Protective Edge’ has merely overshadowed what has been occurring all along with the 8yr Gaza blockade. Similarly, it has overshadowed the Apartheid lives of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Israeli ‘sweeps’ of West Bank Palestinian homes  under the cowardly lie of searching for kidnapped boys they knew were dead was without morality and provocative.

A 72 hr ceasefire was called today and has already been broken not 3hrs in by Israel. They don’t want a united Hamas Fatah Palestinian Authority nor do they want peace –

They want Palestine.

Prominent Israeli's on Gaza

 

Next Post: Challenging the Israeli  ‘Hamas Rocket’  storyline?

 

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