Gaza is full of tragedies.
We have crippling electricity shortages affecting hospitals and civilians, daily bombings by the Israeli army, targeting of civilians and police stations and the enforced starvation of 1.5 million people by Israel closing off all borders and not allowing in aid, medicines or food.
Within 74 hours of George Bush’s “peace tour” Israel has killed 37 people and wounded more than 90.
One bomb hit a wedding party close to the ministry of the interior in Gaza City. One woman was killed and 47 others were injured – mostly children who were playing in the street.
The wounded were evacuated to the Al-Shifa hospital, but it was hard to find enough beds and blankets for them.
Last Friday, Israel closed the border with the Gaza Strip to all traffic in what officials say is a response to “cross-border rocket fire”. It prevented humanitarian supplies from getting in.
The decision came after militants fired more than 110 rockets at southern Israel in the last three days – two Israelis were wounded in the attacks.
In contrast, 19 Palestinians were killed on Wednesday of last week alone, during an air strike on the eastern part of Gaza City.
Among the dead were a 13 year old boy, his father and uncle. Another attack killed Maryam Al-Rahel and her son as they travelled on a donkey cart. Their bodies, like so many others, were scattered everywhere.
Israeli spokesman Shlomo Dror said, “It’s unacceptable that people in [the Israeli city of] Sderot are living in fear and people in the Gaza Strip are living life as usual.”
What does he consider “life as usual”? If he means it is normal that 37 civilians should be killed in four days, an entire population should be on the verge of starvation and shiver through winter without electricity, that hospitals are forced to shut down or operate below capability and without medicines, food and blankets then yes – we are living life as usual.
Mohammed Omer is a Palestinian journalist based in the Gaza Strip. His full report can be found at » www.arabist.net/arabawy