The long-awaited rains came full force.
Dehydrated Gaza was suddenly awash. And while farmers are overjoyed –they can finally plant their crops; their water wells and cisterns were destroyed during the Israeli massacre of Gaza; they must plant before the end of the month or there will be no point [we got a call right away to accompany farmers close to the border fence]–the rains brought disaster to families in flooded areas of Gaza.
In the low-lying Wadi Gaza region, between Gaza City and Khan Younis, the combination of sudden and great rains with Israel’s opening of dam floodgates caused a surge of water which swept through the villages in the Wadi area.
Civil Defense today said that at least 100 families were displaced by the flooding, living in a school. One year ago, Israel’s war displaced 10s of thousands, forced them into overcrowded and unfurnished schools.
Many in Gaza are expecting the next Israeli assault, any day, any time.
Logic says Israel wouldn’t attack now. “It’s too soon,” some outside voices say. “There’s too much scrutiny of Israel right now.”
But does that really matter? Is there really significant scrutiny, pressure, expectations of Israel to abide international law? Did the UN resolutions ever achieve anything? Wasn’t the world horrified after Jenin, Lebanon, and the list of other Israeli massacres?
Most here feel not.
*Red Crescent office in the Ezbet Abed Rabbo district, shelled by white phosphorous and shot up significantly with tank gunfire during Israel’s massacre of Gaza [photo taken 18 January, immediately following cessation of the full-out invasion]
In the Dawar Zimmo Red Crescent office in the Ezbet Abed Rabbo district — only now (one year later) just beginning to plaster poor quality Egyptian cement over the gaping wounds of Israeli shelling on the building –the medics offer tea. Then they remember there’s no gas, they can’t heat the water.
“Israel was allowing 100 tons of gas/week in before,” Marwan says. “Now it’s down to 20 or 30 tons, at best. And this goes first to the hotels and resaurants. Ordinary folks can’t get their hands on gas. And if they do, it’s too expensive.”
The Gaza union of gas station owners says that Gaza needs 6,000 tons of gas per month in winter for the 1.5 million population.
Oxfam reports a decrease in gas transfers: from 2,500 tons/month in September, to 697 tons as of 23 November.
OCHA reported the gas shipped into Gaza in one week in December was just 43% of Gaza’s needs.
As of January, Israel has stopped using the Nahal Oz terminal to transfer gas. Nahal Oz is equipped to transfer fuel and gas. The Kerem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) reportedly has just 1/4 of Nahal Oz’s transfer abilities, and no storage capacity.
Marwan, with his sardonic humour, replies to my question: sure there’s going to be another Israeli attack. Inshallah. At least then afterwards we’ll have gas and electricity in Gaza again.
He’s defiant and strong like any Palestinian, but at the same time points out that every day under this siege people are dying slow deaths.
“Stab by stab, wall by wall, we are dying. It would be better to die all at once than slowly like this,” he says.
“It’s better in the (occupied) West Bank,” he goes on. “Sure, there are the military checkpoints, roadblocks, lock-downs (“curfews”) and all that goes with occupation. But at least people can move around, have the chance to leave. Maybe they have to wait 3 or 4 hours at a checkpoint. But we’ve been waiting for freedom to move out of Gaza for four years.”
But he is no quitter, he continues his work, and when Israel gives reason he will be among the first in the ambulances to rescue the injured.