Tag Archives: IDF

Fesyen Askar Israel yang terbaru

http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2009/03/21/israeli-army-t-shirts-mock-gaza-killings-terrorist-fashion-2009/

Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques – IDF fashion 2009
By Uri Blau

[…]

Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques – these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription “Better use Durex,” next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter’s T-shirt from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, “1 shot, 2 kills.” A “graduation” shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, “No matter how it begins, we’ll put an end to it.”

There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!” A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies – such as “confirming the kill” (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim’s head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants.

In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit’s commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, “We won’t chill ’til we confirm the kill” were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn’t exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.

The slogan “Let every Arab mother know that her son’s fate is in my hands!” had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit’s shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.

“It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town,” he explains. “The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him.”

[…]

Many controversial shirts have been ordered by graduates of snipers courses, which bring together soldiers from various units. In 2006, soldiers from the “Carmon Team” course for elite-unit marksmen printed a shirt with a drawing of a knife-wielding Palestinian in the crosshairs of a gun sight, and the slogan, “You’ve got to run fast, run fast, run fast, before it’s all over.” Below is a drawing of Arab women weeping over a grave and the words: “And afterward they cry, and afterward they cry.” [The inscriptions are riffs on a popular song.] Another sniper’s shirt also features an Arab man in the crosshairs, and the announcement, “Everything is with the best of intentions.”

[…]

What is the idea behind the shirt from July 2007, which has an image of a child with the slogan “Smaller – harder!”?

“It’s a kid, so you’ve got a little more of a problem, morally, and also the target is smaller.”

Do your superiors approve the shirts before printing?

“Yes, although one time they rejected some shirt that was too extreme. I don’t remember what was on it.”

[…]

A T-shirt printed at the request of an IDF soldier in the sniper unit reading '1 shot 2 kills.'

A T-shirt printed at the request of an IDF soldier in the sniper unit reading ‘1 shot 2 kills.’

A shirt printed up just this week for soldiers of the Lavi battalion, who spent three years in the West Bank, reads: “We came, we saw, we destroyed!” – alongside images of weapons, an angry soldier and a Palestinian village with a ruined mosque in the center.

 

A shirt printed after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza for Battalion 890 of the Paratroops depicts a King Kong-like soldier in a city under attack. The slogan is unambiguous: “If you believe it can be fixed, then believe it can be destroyed!”

Y., a soldier/yeshiva student, designed the shirt. “You take whoever [in the unit] knows how to draw and then you give it to the commanders before printing,” he explained.

What is the soldier holding in his hand?

Y. “A mosque. Before I drew the shirt I had some misgivings, because I wanted it to be like King Kong, but not too monstrous. The one holding the mosque – I wanted him to have a more normal-looking face, so it wouldn’t look like an anti-Semitic cartoon. Some of the people who saw it told me, ‘Is that what you’ve got to show for the IDF? That it destroys homes?’ I can understand people who look at this from outside and see it that way, but I was in Gaza and they kept emphasizing that the object of the operation was to wreak destruction on the infrastructure, so that the price the Palestinians and the leadership pay will make them realize that it isn’t worth it for them to go on shooting. So that’s the idea of ‘we’re coming to destroy’ in the drawing.”

According to Y., most of these shirts are worn strictly in an army context, not in civilian life. “And within the army people look at it differently,” he added. “I don’t think I would walk down the street in this shirt, because it would draw fire. Even at my yeshiva I don’t think people would like it.”

Y. also came up with a design for the shirt his unit printed at the end of basic training. It shows a clenched fist shattering the symbol of the Paratroops Corps.

Where does the fist come from?

“It’s reminiscent of [Rabbi Meir] Kahane’s symbol. I borrowed it from an emblem for something in Russia, but basically it’s supposed to look like Kahane’s symbol, the one from ‘Kahane Was Right’ – it’s a sort of joke. Our company commander is kind of gung-ho.”

[…]

What’s the idea behind “Only God forgives”?

The soldier: “It’s just a saying.”

No one had a problem with the fact that a mosque gets blown up in the picture?

“I don’t see what you’re getting at. I don’t like the way you’re going with this. Don’t take this somewhere you’re not supposed to, as though we hate Arabs.”

After Operation Cast Lead, soldiers from that battalion printed a T-shirt depicting a vulture sexually penetrating Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, accompanied by a particularly graphic slogan. S., a soldier in the platoon that ordered the shirt, said the idea came from a similar shirt, printed after the Second Lebanon War, that featured Hassan Nasrallah instead of Haniyeh.

[…]

Shlomo Tzipori, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves and a lawyer specializing in martial law, said the army does bring soldiers up on charges for offenses that occur outside the base and during their free time. According to Tzipori, slogans that constitute an “insult to the army or to those in uniform” are grounds for court-martial, on charges of “shameful conduct” or “disciplinary infraction,” which are general clauses in judicial martial law.

Sociologist Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, of Bar-Ilan University, author of “Identities in Uniform: Masculinities and Femininities in the Israeli Military,” said that the phenomenon is “part of a radicalization process the entire country is undergoing, and the soldiers are at its forefront. I think that ever since the second intifada there has been a continual shift to the right. The pullout from Gaza and its outcome – the calm that never arrived – led to a further shift rightward.

[…]

Levy: “I’m familiar with things of this sort going back 40, 50 years, and each time they take a different form. Psychologically speaking, this is one of the ways in which soldiers project their anger, frustration and violence. It is a certain expression of things, which I call ‘below the belt.'”

Do you think this a good way to vent anger?

Levy: “It’s safe. But there are also things here that deviate from the norm, and you could say that whoever is creating these things has reached some level of normality. He gives expression to the fact that what is considered abnormal today might no longer be so tomorrow.”

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American citizen critically injured after being shot in the head by Israeli forces in Ni’lin




For Immediate Release


13th Friday 2009, Ni’lin Village: An American citizen has been critically injured in the village of Ni’lin after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister.


Tristan Anderson from California USA, 37 years old, has been taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Anderson is unconscious and has been bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in his forehead where he was struck by the canister.



Tristan was shot by the new tear-gas canisters that can be shot up to 500m. I ran over as I saw someone had been shot, while the Israeli forces continued to fire tear-gas at us. When an ambulance came, the Israeli soldiers refused to allow the ambulance through the checkpoint just outside the village. After 5 minutes of arguing with the soldiers, the ambulance passed.
– Teah Lunqvist (Sweden) – International Solidarity Movement


The Israeli army began using to use a high velocity tear gas canister in December 2008. The black canister, labeled in Hebrew as “40mm bullet special/long range,” can shoot over 400 meters. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and has caused numerous injuries, including a Palestinian male whose leg was broken in January 2009.


Please Contact:
Adam Taylor (English), ISM Media Office +972 8503948
Sasha Solanas (English), ISM Media Office – +972 549032981
Woody Berch (English), at Tel Hashomer hospital +972 548053082


Tristan Anderson

Tristan Anderson


Tristan Anderson was shot as Israeli forces attacked a demonstration against the construction of the annexation wall through the village of Ni’lin’s land. Another resident from Ni’lin was shot in the leg with live ammunition.


Four Ni’lin residents have been killed during demonstrations against the confiscation of their land.


Ahmed Mousa (10) was shot in the forehead with live ammunition on 29th July 2008.  The following day, Yousef Amira (17) was shot twice with rubber-coated steel bullets, leaving him brain dead.  He died a week later on 4 August 2008. Arafat Rateb Khawaje (22), was the third Ni’lin resident to be killed by Israeli forces.  He was shot in the back with live ammunition on 28 December 2008.  That same day, Mohammed Khawaje (20), was shot in the head with live ammunition, leaving him brain dead.  He died three days in a Ramallah hospital.


Residents in the village of Ni’lin have been demonstrating against the construction of the Apartheid Wall, deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Ni’lin will lose approximately 2500 dunums of agricultural land when the construction of the Wall is completed. Ni’lin was 57,000 dunums in 1948, reduced to 33,000 dunums in 1967, currently is 10,000 dunums and will be 7,500 dunums after the construction of the Wall.

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Iran says ship full of humanitarian supplies turned away by Israel Navy off coast of Gaza

LET HUMANITARIAN SUPPLIES TO GAZA

By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent

The Israel Navy on Tuesday turned away an Iranian ship that was attempting to dock in Gaza in order to deliver humanitarian supplies to the residents of the coastal territory, Iranian radio reported.

Iran radio said that the ship departed from Iran 13 days ago carrying 200 tons of food and medical supplies.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman said they had received no report of such an incident.

 
 

On Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said an Iranian ship had passed through the Suez Canal. On Tuesday, Iran radio aired an interview with Ahmed Nabad, said to be the ship’s captain, who said the ship had neared the coast of Gaza but “the Zionist regime is blocking its entry.”

When Nabad was asked if there is another route by which the ship could reach Gaza, he said the only other option was to dock in Egypt and deliver the supplies by way of the Rafah crossing.

Nabad added that senior officials in Teheran have contacted Egyptian officials to ask them for permission to deliver the aid by way of Egyptian territory.

 

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Israeli reservists enter war

tank-people

ASHKELON, Israel – Thousands of Israeli reservists began moving into the Gaza Strip on Monday, signaling that Israel may be ready to escalate its campaign and enter a new and more punishing phase of its 2-week-old war against Palestinian militants.

The military announced earlier that it had begun sending reserve units into Gaza to assist thousands of ground forces already in the Hamas-ruled territory. The deployment of the soldiers, many in their late twenties and thirties, was the strongest sign so far that Israel was prepared to intensify its war against Hamas.

The army has called up thousands of reserves troops for its Gaza campaign, meant to halt eight years of rocket fire on southern Israel.

“Israel is a small country and (in) all of our battles and all the wars we’ve had in the past reserve soldiers are called up,” Capt. Doron Spilmann, a spokesman for the Israeli military, told Associated Press Television News. “It’s standard that they then begin to work hand in hand along with our permanent standing force in the air, on the ground and at sea.”

Defense officials say about 5,000 reservists entered Gaza and thousands of others have been drafted.

Reservists in Gaza have been taking over areas cleared out by the regular troops, allowing those forces to push forward toward new targets, defense officials said on condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified operational strategy.

Israeli President Shimon Peres met with hundreds of reservists at a staging area in southern Israel as they prepared to enter Gaza.

“I don’t think that Israel has ever had an army better trained, organized and sophisticated than you,” he said. “I came in the name of the nation to say to you a deep thank you for your achievements so far and to wish you luck during battle.”

The group he met with were a mixed bunch, some apparently in their early 30s, at least one with a gray ponytail and beard. They were wearing crisp olive battledress, obviously freshly issued, and had M-16 assault rifles slung across their shoulders.

Asked if they knew what they were getting into and the possible price some might have to pay, one soldier one said he lost a good friend in combat during his compulsory military service 18 years ago and named his son after him.

“I know exactly what the price may be. I left three children at home, one a month-old baby girl, and I came here fully motivated to do whatever needs to be done, with full knowledge of the cost,” he said. The reservist was not identified in line with military guidelines.

Reservists interviewed said they were concerned over the rate of Palestinian civilian casualties. About half of the roughly 910 Palestinians killed since Israel launched its offensive on Dec. 27 are thought to be civilians.

A soldier who identified himself only as being from the town of Sderot, the militants’ favorite target, said the Gazans were his neighbors.

“We’ve been living with them for a long time and in my opinion 80 percent of the residents there don’t want these things,” he said. “The problem is the 20 percent in Hamas who control them.”

 

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Situation Report on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip No.8

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

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Date: 11 Jan 2009

10 – 11 January 2009

The following information is based on reports from member states, the UN Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory, humanitarian partners and authorities involved in the humanitarian response.1. General Overview

1. As the Israeli military operation in Gaza entered its third week, the ICRC described the situation of Palestinian civilians as, “increasingly precarious”.

2. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH), the number of Palestinian casualties has increased to 884 fatalities, including a high number of civilians (at least 93 women, 275 children and 12 medical personnel). At least 3,860 Palestinians have been injured (413 are considered critically injured), including at least 1,333 children and 597 women as of 11 January.

3. The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reported that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have been making limited incursions of heavy armour approximately one kilometre deep into Gaza, near densely populated areas. Following media reports in recent days, the Palestinian Red Cross (PRCS) updated on 10 January that it, “is deeply concerned over the use of the Israeli army of certain weapons that [have] not been used before in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)”. Israeli authorities have denied the use of any phosphorous ammunition.

4. On 9 January, Magen David Adom reported that a “barrage” of rockets struck Israel from Palestine in the afternoon. It was noted that the, “rockets are hitting areas where ten percent of Israel’s people live,” and that for the “first time since fighting began in the Gaza Strip 13 days ago, rockets also hit northern Israel.” As at 1500 hrs (1300 hrs GMT) on 11 January, UNSCO reported that 31 rockets had been fired from Palestine into Israel between 10-11 January. On 11 January, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that since 27 December there have been over four Israeli fatalities and over 220 injured.

5. Following “credible assurances that the security of UN personnel, installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected”, including undertakings of improved liaison and more effective internal coordination within the Israeli armed forces, UNRWA announced on 10 January that it would lift restrictions on staff movements (which had been announced on 8 January due to lack of security). The truck company responsible for transferring goods from crossing points in Gaza has also resumed work after one staff was killed and two injured by gunfire.

6. On 11 January, the Israeli Prime Minister said that Israel is, “getting close to achieving the goals it set for itself…” Following a meeting between the Palestinian and Egyptian Presidents in Cairo on 10 January, the Palestinian President noted that the Egyptian ceasefire initiative would be an “implementation mechanism for [Security Council] resolution 1860 and the goal remains an immediate ceasefire”.

7. During the week of 12 January, the UN Secretary General will travel to the Middle East region and meet with leaders in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Jordan to discuss the situation in the oPt and to advocate for the expedited implementation of Security Council Resolution 1860, which calls for a ceasefire and humanitarian access in Gaza.

8. On 10 January, the Heads of FAO, WFP and representative of other UN Agencies met with the First Lady of Egypt in her capacity as the President of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. Participants expressed their grave concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the oPt and, “condemned the grave and systematic human rights violations and the indiscriminate use of force against the Palestinian civilian population…” Participants also called for the prompt and full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1860.

2.1 Coordination and Humanitarian Response

Gaza Crossings

9. Kerem Shalom crossing was open on 11 January, a total of 93.5 truckloads, including 55.5 for humanitarian aid agencies (including food, medical supplies and shelter materials), were allowed entry into Gaza. Palestinian truck-drivers who had threatened to strike after one was killed and two injured by gunfire at Kerem Shalom have resumed operations. New procedures have been established at the crossing as of 11 January, which prevent trucks from crossing into Gaza unless Palestinian trucks are available and ready to load cargo at the Palestinian side of the crossing. On 10 January, crossings were closed for the Jewish Sabbath.

10. Rafah crossing was open on 11 January: 18 medical cases were evacuated and nine trucks with medical and food supplies crossed into Gaza. According to the WHO, since 27 December, 189 patients have been transferred through Rafah crossing as of 10 January.

11. The Nahal Oz fuel pipeline was closed 11 January.

2.1. Protection

12. On 10 January, there was a unilateral suspension of military activity by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) between 1300-1600 hrs (1100-1400 hrs GMT) for the fourth consecutive day. On 11 January, the lull in military activities was held between 1100-1400 hrs (0900- 1200 hrs GMT). This change in time reportedly caused some confusion among civilians and aid agencies. UNRWA was coordinating the movement of a 52-vehcile convoy for the delivery of goods to humanitarian actors on 11 January.

13. Several international NGOs have stated that the daily three-hour lull is insufficient to deliver humanitarian aid and for civilians to access necessary supplies. In particular, continued insecurity is constraining the delivery of lifesaving medical supplies and the distribution of food. Furthermore, the lull has been criticised because it does not coincide with other Israeli security controls. The Israeli army checkpoints on the two main roads running through the Gaza Strip are only open twice daily for half an hour (10-1030 hrs and 1600-1630 hrs), which does not correspond to the planned lull.

14. On 10 January, the ICRC reported that the PRCS had stated that, “rescue operations are often aborted because of the lack of access. They are also becoming more and more dangerous, and [aid workers] are getting more and more scared,” to carry out activities.

2.2. Food

15. UNRWA distributed food through distribution sites and specifically to “hardship” cases on 10 January. Seven of ten food distribution centres were also restocked. WFP also distributed food on 9 and 10 January (including 4,489 tonnes of food parcels; 3,150 kilos of bread; and 1,180 metric tonnes of high-energy biscuits) in collaboration with CHF. On 11 January, WFP launched Operation Lifeline Gaza, a global appeal to increase food distribution to Gaza.

16. WFP has food stocks sufficient to feed almost 360,000 people for the next three weeks, but the heavy fighting has limited the possibility of wide-scale distributions. Many truck drivers and fork lift truck operators have been unwilling to work due to the insecurity and the civilian population is often too frightened to go to food distribution points.

2.3. Health

17. Hospitals remain under intense pressure due to the high number of wounded in need of treatment. The PRCS reported that, “hospital operating rooms are overflowing, and running out of essential medicines. Hospitals and other medical facilities are also understaffed and [unable] to respond to the load of injuries.”

18. According to WHO and the ICRC, the main challenge in the health sector is a lack of freedom of movement: those affected by fighting cannot be accessed by medical staff; distribution of medicines and equipment to hospitals is constrained; there are restrictions on the referral of patients out of Gaza for treatment; and some medical staff cannot access to hospitals.

19. Since the outbreak of hostilities on 27 December, the regular health system has almost ceased to function. The Palestinian MoH reports that about 70 percent of chronic patients regularly attending primary health care centres have had to interrupt their treatment due to the security situation, which raises serious health concerns.

2.4. Water and Sanitation

20. According to the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), Gaza’s water utility, approximately 500,000 people are without running water and another 500,000 people receive running water only intermittently. Water tanks, pumps and generators for repair of current infrastructure are ready for deployment but have not been accessed due to insecurity, or have not been allowed into Gaza by the Israeli authorities. Fifty UNICEF emergency family water kits (enough for 500 families) were distributed on 9 January through PRCS. On 11 January, UNICEF was also distributing bottled water to 4,000-6,000 people.

21. The CMWU issued a press release on 10 January in which it announced its inability to maintain its water and waste water services due to considerable damage caused to the networks, insecurity preventing the repair of damage and an inability to access needed spare parts. Due to damage of the waste-water treatment and sewage lines, collection ponds are at risk of breaking down, which would likely cause serious humanitarian, health and environmental consequences to people living in the area. On 10 January, UNRWA delivered 25,000 litres of fuel to the CMWU for the operation of water and waste-water facilities. An additional 4,000 litres of fuel were delivered to the Khan Yunis and Rafah municipalities for solid waste collection.

2.5. Shelter and Non-Food Items

22. According to Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, the total number of displaced persons within Gaza, including those staying with host families and those in shelters, is estimated to be 80-90,000 people, including an estimated 50,000 children.

23. As of 11 January, UNRWA was operating 31 shelters providing refuge to 25,696 people. Some shelters have become overcrowded, sheltering over 1,700 people; however, insecurity has prevented the opening of new shelters.

2.6. Infrastructure, Fuel and Electricity

24. Following repair to the damaged electrical line west of Netzarim as well as parts of the local network, the Gaza Power Plant resumed partial functionality on 10 January, producing 30MW out of a total capacity of 80MW. Gaza City is now receiving 55MW (12 hours a day); however, because of localized damage, only 30 percent of Gaza City is receiving electricity.

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3.0 International Assistance and Priority needs

3.1. Funding

25. The Humanitarian Country Team has re-visited projects proposed for the 2009 CAP (which appealed for over USD 462 million) to ensure that the projects, activities and priorities remained relevant to the ongoing emergency. At this stage, the budget of the CAP has been increased by over USD 67 million for a total appeal of over USD 529 million, and is subject to further changes. This includes the UNRWA Flash appeal for over USD 34 million (for additional food, cash assistance, shelter and fuel); an increase in the capacity of the Humanitarian Emergency Response Fund (HRF) (to quickly fund unpredicted emergency responses), and funding for WFP (for additional food and to cover costs of the newly-established logistics cluster which it is leading).

26. There is an immediate need for USD 95.6 million to respond to the current needs in Gaza. Priority sectors include: protection; shelter; food aid and food security; water and sanitation; agriculture; cash for work/assistance; education; health; and coordination and support services.

27. In total, as of 11 January, donors have already committed or pledged approximately USD 48 million (in funding or in-kind contributions) for projects in the Consolidated Appeal and approximately USD 41 million to projects outside of the appeal (http://ocha.unog.ch/fts/pageloader.aspx?page=emerg-emergencyDetails&appealID=834). This information was compiled by OCHA, based on the information provided by donors and appealing organisations.

3.2. Priority Needs

28. Protection: Compliance with international humanitarian law is essential to enhance security for civilians within Gaza, allow civilians freedom of movement to reach lifesaving services, and for humanitarian actors to distribute assistance.

29. Access: A sustained re-opening of all crossings into Gaza is required to meet assistance needs. Improved humanitarian access to Gaza is also required for humanitarian staff, particularly for NGO staff. Increased security and improved access within Gaza is essential for civilians to reach lifesaving services, and for humanitarian actors to distribute assistance.

30. Electricity & Fuel: Much of the population of Gaza continues to live without electricity. Hospitals require fuel to run generators on which they rely; water and sanitation facilities require fuel to operate; and households and bakeries require cooking gas.

31. Wheat grain: Wheat grain is urgently needed for local bakeries and for humanitarian food distributions. The Karni Crossing conveyor belt is the only mechanism which can facilitate the import of the amount of grain required in the Strip at this time, and is currently closed.

32. Cash: Cash has still not entered the Gaza Strip and is urgently needed, including for the Palestinian authority to pay civil servants, for the UNRWA cash distribution program to some 94,000 dependent beneficiaries, as well as its “cash for work” program, salaries for staff and payments to suppliers. The Palestinian Monetary Authority requested approval from Israel for a cash transfer of NIS 243 million (USD 62.9 million) and USD 16 million from Palestinian banks in the West Bank to their branches in Gaza.

33. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet website at http://reliefweb.int. A copy of the Field Update from the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt can be found at:

http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_gaza_humanitarian_situation_report_2009_01_08_english.pdf

4.0 Contacts

OCHA Geneva – Humanitarian Affairs Officer
Mr. Peter Neussl, Tel: +41 (0) 22 917 1511, Email: neussl@un.org

OCHA New York – Desk Officer
Mr. Aurelien Buffler, Tel: +1 347 515 4801, Email: buffler@un.org

OCHA Geneva – Press Contact
Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Tel: +41 (0) 22 917 2653, Email: byrs@un.org

OCHA New York – Press Contact
Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Tel: +1 917 367 2549, Email: bunker@un.org

OCHA Office in the occupied Palestinian territory
Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, Tel: +972-2-582-996/ 5853, Email: Lazzarini@un.org
Ms. Allegra Pacheco, Tel: +972-2-582-996/ 5853, Email: Pacheco6@un.org

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Israeli reservists sent into Gaza

doa-sebelum-ke-gaza
 Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, said his troops were close to meeting their objectives in Gaza, but stopped short of giving a timeline for ending the conflict.

The move to send in the reservists comes after Israel called up tens of thousands of its reserve force – soldiers who had performed their mandatory military service but were no longer on active duty – following the launch of its military assault on Gaza on December 27.

FIERCE FIGHTING

Major Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, told Al Jazeera that “a few reserve units have entered Gaza to participate in the operation” but would not say how many soldiers were involved.

“We are not talking about a massive amount of forces, rather a limited one,” Leibovich said.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from the Israel-Gaza border, said the move appeared to be in preparation for the so-called third stage of Israel’s offensive: moving troops into the towns and cities of Gaza to fight door-to-door.

The deployment came amid some of the most intense fighting since the ground offensive began on January 3, with Palestinian fighters putting up stiff resistance to the Israeli advance into Gaza City.
 
Medical sources said that dozens of Palestinian fighters were killed in clashes on Sunday, taking the total number of Palestinian deaths since Israel began its war to 890, about a quarter of them children.

Almost 4,000 Palestinians have also been wounded since the beginning of the offensive.

Thirteen Israelis have been killed since the military offensive began, including three civilians hit by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

Israel has confirmed sending thousands of army reservists into Gaza, raising concerns that a deadly “third stage” of its offensive – targeting urban centres – could soon begin.

And as the offensive entered its 17th day on Monday, Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad reported from the Israel-Gaza border that Israeli air craft had kept up a sustained bombardment all night and a huge explosion was witnessed over the northeastern part of strip.

 

‘Getting close’

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza City, said that Israeli manoeuvres had raised speculation that a full attack on targets in the city was being planned.

Tanks were positioned on the edge of the city to the north and east, while a column of tanks to the south advanced only to later pull back.

And as its troops pushed farther into the north, air raids in the south were pummelling the Rafah area near the border with Egypt, where there are believed to be a series of underground tunnels.

Olmert told an Israeli cabinet meeting on Sunday that “Israel is getting close to achieving the goals it set for itself”.

He told ministers that Israel had “dealt Hamas an unprecedented blow… It will never be the same Hamas”, according to Oved Yehezkel, the Israeli cabinet secretary.

But the Israeli military onslaught has, so far, failed to achieve the stated aim of stopping Palestinian fighters from firing rockets into southern Israel.

About 20 rockets were fired across the border on Sunday, but failed to cause any casualties.

Israel says this is far fewer rockets than were being fired daily before it started its Gaza offensive.

‘Third stage’ debate

The Israeli cabinet meeting had been expected to include discussion of a possible “third stage” of the offensive in which the military would enter Gaza’s urban areas.

However, several Israeli officials suggested that the offensive could be drawing to a close after last week’s UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

“The decision of the security council doesn’t give us much leeway,” Matan Vilnai, the deputy defence minister, told public radio.
  
“Thus it would seem that we are close to ending the ground operation and ending the operation altogether.”

Giroa Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser, told Al Jazeera that there was a debate within the Israeli government and security establishment about what the goals of the operation should be at this stage.

“The main question is how to conclude and accomplish the missions,” he said.
 
“As far as I can understand one of the reasons the military option might be expanded is in order to give an Israeli solution to the situation.”

Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli official, was expected to travel to Cairo in the coming days to discuss a plan to end the fighting after Hamas officials met Egyptian officials on Sunday.

Source:  Al Jazeera

 

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Humanitarian desperation in Gaza

“The only talk must be of ceasefires and peace, and the safety and rights of ordinary people must be the urgent top priority.”

By Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International

Two days ago an Oxfam employee living in Gaza risked a desperate drive from his house to find some fresh food for his four young children. There is no fruit or meat and little milk in Gaza now, but he found a few expensive vegetables. And then, because of ongoing bombing and bullet fire, he had to drive around and around the streets near his house, because a parked car is a sitting target until, in the briefest of lulls, he could dash into his home to his terrified family.

Oxfam has had to suspend much of its work within Gaza including one of its largest programs – assisting 65,000 people – for security reasons, though a number of Oxfam partners continue to carry out essential work against impossible odds. UN food aid, relied on by 80% of the Gazan population of 1.5 million, has been severely disrupted for the last week because of the bombing.

Gaza’s civilian population has already borne the brunt of an increasingly severe blockade for the last 18 months, impeding access to a wide range of goods and supplies and making it hard for people to move freely in and out of Gaza. It has been a form of collective punishment illegal under international humanitarian law yet tolerated by the international community.

Now with the ground incursion on the back of a week-long bombing campaign a critical humanitarian situation has become a desperate one. One local Oxfam staff member in Gaza describes power blackouts, people trapped in their homes by the violence – cold, with windows open so they are not blown in by bombs, children screaming in the night.

Lack of fuel is one of the major problems, shutting the Gaza power plant and leaving many people without power for most of the day. Bombing has also damaged power lines and energy-generating infrastructure. Without fuel and power, pumps for wells and water sanitation will increasingly go out of action. Hospitals overwhelmed by casualties are desperately working with back-up generators – if they crash (through overuse or when fuel stocks finally end), desperation will become devastation.

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It is way past time for both Israel and Hamas to renounce violence and to respect the rights of ordinary people. The vulnerable civilians of Gaza, including thousands of children, urgently need an immediate and permanent ceasefire strictly implemented by both sides.

EU and other politicians talk of possible ‘humanitarian pauses’- to a clear negative response so far from the Israeli side. Any pause in hostilities must be welcome; its rejection is gravely disappointing. But a brief cessation of hostilities on its own cannot relieve the increasingly critical situation for ordinary people in Gaza.

They are mostly dependent on regular food aid and are reeling from a week of bombing. They cannot be supplied adequately with cooking fuel or food stocks in a ‘pause’ from attacks of a day or two. Nor can overwhelmed hospitals create more bed space, or give proper treatment to the injured, in the before more dead and injured arrive at their doors. Nor can children go back to school for two days only to then cower frightened at home, nor can the serious work begin of tackling the psychological damage that many civilians suffer in war.

A ceasefire must be combined with a lifting of the blockade so Gazan civilians have access to a wide range of supplies, not just the restricted food, medicines and basic goods that were being allowed through before the bombing started. Humanitarian workers need to be able to work freely in the Gaza Strip without risking their own lives.

Much greater pressure needs to be put on both Israel and Hamas. International players, especially the UN, but also the EU, League of Arab States and others should be engaged in rapid and urgent shuttle diplomacy in the region, engaging intensively to get both to a short run ceasefire and to serious longer term peace talks.

We need an immediate UN security council resolution condemning both the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli government and indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas. It should demand an immediate, comprehensive and permanent truce and an end to the blockade, allowing access for humanitarian and commercial goods, and for people too.

There must be no business as usual in international politics in the Middle East until Gazans have a chance to eat, drink and move around with some degree of normalcy, not cower in their homes wondering if and how they will survive. The only talk must be of ceasefires and peace, and the safety and rights of ordinary people must be the urgent top priority.

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Filed under Bencana Manusia, Gaza, Humanitarian