Extent of Gaza’s Devastation and Israel’s Siege
First, there’s this from the NY Times, “Gaza Cost Far Exceeds Estimate, Official Says“:
Hundreds of thousands more Gazans have been displaced than the United Nations thought was possible in an emergency, a Unicef official said.
. . . with 350,000 people so far displaced from a six-week-old conflict — seven times the 50,000 foreseen in its contingency plan, the top Unicef official for the crowded Palestinian enclave said Wednesday.
The official, Pernille Ironside, also said that if the severe Israeli trade constraints on Gaza were not relaxed, a preliminary analysis showed it could take 18 years to rebuild destroyed housing, furthering the prospect that young Gazans would reach adulthood in deprivation, anger and despair. . . .
We at Partners for Progressive Israel are trying to learn more about the nature of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. We know it’s not a complete siege or else people would be dying of hunger in huge numbers. What it does, however, is to severely limit the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza.
Israel has a legitimate security interest in monitoring and limiting what goes into Gaza, but we need to know more. For example, has Hamas used the cement and other building materials, reluctantly allowed in, to build its complex of attack tunnels, rather than civilian housing and public infrastructure?
We received a reply from Tania Hary, now the deputy director of Gisha, “an Israeli not-for-profit organization, founded in 2005, whose goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents. Gisha promotes rights guaranteed by international and Israeli law.”
Ms. Hary was among the impressive young Israelis we have met on our annual Israel Symposiums who work for human rights NGOs there. This is her response to our request for information:
Gisha has been offering responses to some of the questions you ask via our blog. You can find posts on these topics here: