Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Humanitarian Situation in Gaza

by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Israel is making a major effort to maintain the fabric of civilian life in Gaza, despite the situation of current hostilities.

1. Israel is making a major effort to maintain the fabric of civilian life in Gaza, despite the situation of current hostilities. The IDF today (18 Nov) opened the Kerem Shalom crossing for movement of food, medicine and other goods from Israel despite the ongoing rocket attacks on the Israeli population and previous attacks on the crossing.

The Kerem Shalom crossing opened on Tuesday morning (20 Nov) to allow the transfer of 120 trucks of humanitarian aid. However, when it was targeted by rocket fire from Gaza, the IDF was forced to close the crossing to ensure the safety of all those working at the crossing and passing through it. Only 24 trucks of humanitarian aid managed to make it through the crossings prior to the rocket strikes.
Trucks waiting at Kerem Shalom crossing (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

2. The Erez crossing was open today (18 Nov), as on every other day of Operation Pillar of Defense. Seventy foreign journalists entered Gaza today by way of Erez, 26 Gazans entered Israel for medical treatment, and 23 foreign nationals, representing NGOs who until now had been prevented by Hamas from leaving the Gaza Strip, departed.

Food and Housing Security

1. Gaza is not experiencing food scarcity. Israel is not blocking entrance of goods into Gaza, except for weaponry and dual-use materials. Construction materials can be imported to Gaza under the supervision of international organizations.

2. Israel is continuing the yearly supply of five million cubic meters (1,320,860,250 gallons) of water to Gaza, despite the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns.

3. UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) reports (17 Nov 2012) that despite some displacement of families due to hostilities, "there hasn't been any need to provide emergency humanitarian assistance or to open UNRWA facilities as emergency shelters."

Medical Care

1. Between January-October 2012, approximately 14,500 patients and their accompanying chaperones entered Israel from Gaza for medical treatment. 99% of the medical requests by Palestinian residents of Gaza were approved by Israel.

2. The World Health Organization has reported a ten-day slowdown in referral process for Gaza patients due to disagreements between the Ramallah and Gaza Health Ministries.

3. Gaza hospitals are currently operating at 80% capacity (17 Nov), slightly higher than routine periods.

4. Israel is not blocking entrance of medical supplies into Gaza. Requests submitted by the international community are answered within 24-72 hours of submission, almost always positively, and Israel has opened the Kerem Shalom passage for transit of medical materials and other goods, despite the danger to personnel at the crossing.

5. At present, there is a shortage of some medical supplies in Gaza due to disagreements between Hamas and the PA, and budgetary difficulties of the Palestinian Authority.

6. UNRWA reports that all of its 21 health centers are open and functioning. Of UNRWA's 12,000 staff members in Gaza, only one person has sustained injuries in the hostilities, and those are minor.


1. Israel is supplying 125 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip from the power station in Ashkelon despite the rocket attacks on Israel's population, and on Ashkelon itself.

2. Gaza continues to suffer from power outages due to a deliberate policy of Hamas, which opposes import of fuel from Israel. As a result, the Gaza power station is operating at 20% capacity.

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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