[News] Why is Mahmoud Abbas letting children die in Gaza?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 14 13:55:50 EDT 2017


  Why is Mahmoud Abbas letting children die in Gaza?

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 13 
July 2017


The deeply unpopular <http://www.pcpsr.org/en/node/676> Palestinian 
Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is helping Israeli occupation authorities 
inflict horrendous suffering on people in the blockaded Gaza Strip, as 
part of a cruel and cynical political game 

It is a campaign that in recent weeks has led to the deaths of more than 
a dozen Palestinians denied medical treatment outside Gaza – the most 
recent, a little girl called Yara Ismail Bakhit.

Israel and Abbas are doing this with the complicity of a so-called 
international community that remains silent about the unfolding catastrophe.

Closely allied with Israel, Abbas has long defined collaboration with 
its occupation forces as a “sacred” duty 

This collaboration has included encouraging Israel, from the very start 
to tighten its blockade of Gaza.

The decade-long siege has brought the 2 million residents caged into the 
territory to perhaps their most dire crisis in a period that has 
included successive military assaults that have killed thousands of people.

On Thursday, Gaza’s only power plant shut down 
<http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/1.801187> after 
emergency fuel supplies ran out.

The territory is now dependent on just 70 megawatts of power supplied 
from Israel, a fraction of the 500 megawatts it needs each day.

A “power watch” feature <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.800735> in 
the Tel Aviv newspaper /Haaretz/ shows that Gaza City received just 
three hours of electricity on Wednesday, while some areas received four 

But with the power supply now below the all-time low 
it reached earlier this week, most residents face long stretches without 
any power at all amid the sweltering summer heat.

    With only 2-3 hrs electricity per every 24 hrs & hight heat &
    humidity, many #Gaza <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash>
    families taking 2sleeping in the open on their rooftops.

    — J. Shawa جاسم الشوا (@shawajason) July 12, 2017

    This is so publicity plea, but please pray for #Gaza
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash> because we are being
    subjected to overwhelming multi layered intentional darkness.

    — Omar Ghraieb🇵🇸 (@Omar_Gaza) July 13, 2017

    Its getting to a point where you can't shower as much as you want,
    no cold drinking water, you can't even go to the bathroom much.
    #Gaza <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash>

    — Omar Ghraieb🇵🇸 (@Omar_Gaza) July 13, 2017

    Another endless dark night. No electricity, no water, #Israel
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Israel?src=hash> drones buzzing loud,
    dying batteries & #internet
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/internet?src=hash> might drop any
    second. #Gaza <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash>

    — Omar Ghraieb🇵🇸 (@Omar_Gaza) July 13, 2017

On top of the darkness and the heat, many in Gaza face a cut off of any 
contact with the outside world: the PA telecom company Paltel said 
<http://gisha.org/updates/7977> that internet and telephone services to 
thousands of customers in Gaza have been severed as generators fail.

    Unheeded warnings

On Wednesday, UN human rights officials emphasized 
that the latest power cuts “have deepened the humanitarian crisis with 
hospitals in precarious conditions, water shortages growing and 
untreated sewage being dumped into the Mediterranean.”

Their warnings will likely go unheeded, just like so many in recent 
months, including from the International Committee of the Red Cross that 
in May that Gaza was on the brink of “systemic collapse.”

For months, health facilities across the territory have been in crisis 
and Gaza City’s main hospital has slashed vital surgeries 
because there isn’t enough power to run life support systems.

As treatment plants fail, the territory is swimming in sewage 

    I just wish the world saw us as "humans" or even animals with
    rights. We just don't matter. The world watches #Gaza
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash> blackout in silence.

    — Omar Ghraieb🇵🇸 (@Omar_Gaza) July 13, 2017

Yet the European Union, which never rests from trumpeting its alleged 
commitment to “human rights,” has maintained a determined silence 
which can only be interpreted as full support for the measures 
inflicting such suffering on Gaza.

Instead, the EU’s embassy in Tel Aviv as well as a top UN official, 
touted Abbas’ authority for collaborating with Israel to increase the 
electricity supply to Jenin, a town in the northern occupied West Bank.

    Congratulations for signing first commercial agreement between the
    #Israel <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Israel?src=hash> and #Palestine
    <https://twitter.com/hashtag/Palestine?src=hash> Authority
    increasing electricity supply to #Jenin
    pic.twitter.com/wYtubqu8wD <https://t.co/wYtubqu8wD>

    — Nickolay E. MLADENOV (@nmladenov) July 10, 2017

The timing of the announcement, along with a grotesque ribbon-cutting 
ceremony <https://twitter.com/steinitz_yuval/status/884333181167644674> 
in which PA officials appeared alongside Israeli military officers, 
looked calculated to rub salt into the wounds of people in Gaza.

Finally, on Thursday, after months of ignoring Gaza, the EU, as part of 
the so-called Quartet <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/quartet>, 
issued a vague statement 
of “concern” that said nothing about Israel’s responsibilities.

    Israel’s responsibility

The UN experts emphasized that while Israel’s power cuts were nominally 
implemented at the request of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, 
Israel remains legally responsible.

Previously, senior UN officials have attempted to play down Israel’s 
shifting the blame to an internal dispute between the Abbas-run PA in 
Ramallah, and Hamas authorities that control the interior of Gaza.

In April, the PA told Israel it would no longer pay the full bill for 
electricity Israel supplies to Gaza, as part of Abbas’ campaign to oust 
by inflicting additional hardship on the population in Gaza.

Over the last month, Israel has sharply reduced the power it supplies to 
Gaza – the territory’s main source of electricity.

“Israel, as the occupier controlling the entry and exit of goods and 
people, bore the primary responsibility for the deterioration of the 
situation,” the UN human rights experts said on Wednesday, according to 
a UN press release 

Human rights groups previously affirmed that it is illegal 
for Israel, as the occupying power, to cut the electricity to Gaza no 
matter what Abbas says.

Despite the Israeli cabinet’s decision to accept the Palestinian 
Authority’s “cruel plan to further reduce the power supply to Gaza,” 
B’Tselem said last month 
<http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20170613_gaza_electricity>, the 
situation in Gaza “is the result of Israel’s handiwork, achieved by its 
decade-long implementation of a brutal policy.”

    Killing babies

Three-year-old Yara Ismail Bakhit, who suffered from a heart condition, 
died because she was denied a medical transfer out of Gaza.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, 
said on Thursday <http://www.alquds.com/articles/1499938750258968600/> 
that the toddler, from the southern town of Khan Younis, is the 16th 
person to die in recent weeks because they weren’t able to secure a 
medical transfer.

Palestinian media have circulated these pictures of Yara:

    الطفلة يارا إسماعيل بخيت (3 أعوام) توفيت اليوم نتيجة أزمة التحويلات
    الطبية في غزة، وهي "الضحية الـ16 على مقصلة التحويلات" وفق وزارة
    الصحة pic.twitter.com/C9akovT7u0 <https://t.co/C9akovT7u0>

    — وكالة صفا (@SafaPs) July 13, 2017

Yara’s death is another sacrifice to Abbas’ campaign against the 
population in Gaza; it came about due to the delays his health ministry 
is imposing on requests for medical transfers to Israeli or West Bank 
treatment facilities.

The Ramallah health ministry must approve such requests before Israel 
does because it pays for any treatment provided in Israeli or West Bank 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has documented a steady decline 
in medical referrals since April – when Abbas’ renewed onslaught against 
the population in Gaza began.

PCHR said on Monday <http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=9231> that the PA health 
ministry had failed to approve or renew referrals for “hundreds of 
patients suffering from serious and chronic diseases without displaying 
the reasons behind this decision.”

According to PCHR, the number of referrals dropped from almost 2,200 in 
March to about 1,700 in April and fell below 1,500 in May. In June, the 
PA approved just 500.

As of early June, medical authorities in Gaza had approved some 2,500 
patients “suffering from serious diseases that have no treatment in 
Gaza” for treatment outside the territory. But a month and a half later, 
the Ramallah authorities had only approved 400.

PCHR said it was “shocked” that West Bank hospitals have begun refusing 
to see patients from Gaza because there is no guarantor of payment.

Meanwhile, Abbas’ health ministry has also cut the budget for medicines 
for Gaza <http://maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777988>, leading to an 
acute crisis that is putting the lives of hundreds of people, including 
children with cystic fibrosis and cancer patients, in grave danger 

PCHR said: “Denying patients their right to receive medical treatment 
abroad, in view of the absence of a proper alternative in Gaza, is a 
clear violation of the right to health ensured in the Palestinian Basic 
Law” – in effect the Palestinian Authority’s constitution.

PCHR calls on world governments to put pressure on Israel “in its 
capacity as an occupying power” to guarantee the rights of people in 
Gaza under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It also “calls upon the international community to pressurize the 
Palestinian Authority not to undermine the basic rights of Palestinians 
residing in the Gaza Strip” and to respect its obligations under 
international law to the Palestinian people it allegedly serves.

The problem is that the Palestinian Authority and its leader are tools 
in the hands of the so-called international community against the 
Palestinians and their cause.

Their role is to help Israel occupy and pacify the Palestinian 
population, even at the price of the lives of children in Gaza.

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