Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Nisan 5766 - April 4, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Gaza is Already in Trouble

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The residents of Gaza are under severe stress due to the aid cutoff and due to the decision of its own leaders not to allow goods to pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing while the Karni crossing is closed due to terror warnings. United Nations aid organizations claim that the Gaza Strip is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster that could be as bad as the one in Kosovo.

A report by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warns of a lack of basic food supplies due to the frequent closures of the Karni crossing. The report also said there has been a significant increase in the number of hungry people since financial aid has been halted. The report does not mention that Israel has offered repeatedly to let everything pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing as a temporary measure and that the Palestinians rejected it.

World Bank statistics show that 56 percent of Palestinians are now below the poverty line, compared to 22 percent in 2000. The Bank projects that 75 percent will be living in poverty within two years, but this is based on many assumptions.

An Israeli security official told Ha'aretz, "Israel is aware of the difficulties, and an effort is being made to find solutions without violating the decision not to be in contact with the Hamas government. The possibility of transferring funds via the office of the [Palestinian] presidency to the regional rulers who are directly subject to Abu Mazen is being examined.

"In such a situation," he continued, "a certain amount of contact will be maintained with the Palestinian security services by creating channels between the Israel Defense Forces and the national security. Israel is aware of the humanitarian problems and does not want such a crisis."

PA workers have not received their salaries this month, due to Israel withholding all payments to Hamas terrorists. The United Nations estimates that 37 percent of employed people in the Gaza Strip — more than 73,000 people — work for the PA.

According to the UNRWA report, some 850,000 fowl in Gaza are suspected of having contracted bird flu. The PA does not have the resources to deal properly with it, and donor nations have yet to transfer all the money needed to fight the virus.

A report released last month by Stratfor, a consulting agency, noted that it is places such as the Gaza Strip where the bird pandemic is most likely to mutate into a flu that affects humans.

The UN report also claims that if the Palestinian Authority loses its sources of income due to the boycott on donations and the checkpoints remain closed to Palestinian goods, the PA's gross national product is expected to go down by at least a quarter.


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