A Christians for Zion team including senior citizens and young children from the UK have just come back from a visit to Sderot and Kfar Aza near Gaza were Israeli civilian communities are still facing the threat of a major attack from HAMAS. Those we spoke to did not at any time speak words of hatred towards their Arab neighbours, who before the intifada of 2000 they used to live along side in peace. These peace loving Israeli’s simply asked that we report the truth to the International community who they believe are blinded to the realities of the situation. We promised we would do that, so please read the following report;
Over 15,000 tons of food items such as baby formula, wheat, meat, dairy products and other perishables are transferred weekly to Gaza. Potato seeds, fertile eggs for reproduction, bees, their hives, and equipment for the flower industry are amongst these shipments.
During the first three months of this year 94,500 tons of supplies were transferred from Israel into Gaza in 3,676 trucks. During the week prior to our visit over 100 truckloads of animal food, 65 trucks of fruit and vegetables; 22 truckloads of sugar, 27 truckloads of meat, poultry and fish and 40 trucks of dairy products were transferred into Gaza with the help of the IDF. In addition to these regular transfers Israel ships in 11,000 heads of cattle along with other supplies to help the Muslim population of Gaza celebrate holidays such as Ramadan.
Israel maintains a corridor for the transfer of medical patients out of Gaza, and about 200 Arab medical staff members go through the crossings every month. Israel also helps coordinate the transfer of Jordanian doctors into Gaza. In 2009 alone, 10,544 patients and their companions left Gaza for medical treatment in Israel. The only difficulty to patients needing care in Israel is the documentation HAMAS needs to supply to Israel to allow the patients access and HAMAS often refuses to assist their own people by supplying that documentation.
In the first quarter of 2010, Israel shipped 152 trucks of medical supplies and equipment into Gaza. In a typical week in May this year 37 truckloads of hygiene products were shipped to Gaza through the crossings. In addition to these items a new CAT scan machine was sent in as we have previously reported. We met with people involved in medical care were told that if it were not for the fact that Israeli doctors, nurses and medical staff would be kidnapped and murdered by HAMAS, Israel would send in and establish all the medical care needed in Gaza. Other equipment shipped to Gaza recently includes heart-monitors, baby feeding tubes, dental equipment, medical books, ambulance emergency equipment, artificial limbs and infant sleeping bags.
The importation of cement and iron has been restricted into Gaza as these are used by HAMAS to make rockets and bunkers. This is what is referred to as the “Blockade” However building supplies such as wood and windows are regularly transferred with the help of international monitors.
Already in the first quarter of 2010, 23 tons of iron and 25 tons of cement were transferred to Gaza. Over 133 million litres of fuel entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months; this is despite the fact that Israeli workers face threats from Jihadist snipers as this procedure takes place. Gaza produces a great deal of their own food including olives, citrus, vegetables, Halal beef, and dairy products.
The main exports from Gaza are cut flowers and citrus their main purchasers being Israel and Egypt. During 2009, 7.5 million tons of flowers and 54 tons of strawberries were exported from Gaza with full Israeli cooperation. On 13th May, two weeks before our visit, Israel allowed approximately 39 tons of building material into Gaza to help rebuild a damaged hospital. The construction material for al Quds hospital was transferred after safeguards in place and French assurances ensured that the construction material would not be diverted elsewhere.
On the 24th May Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing in order to transfer 97 trucks loaded with aid and goods, including six trucks holding 250 tons of cement and one truck loaded with five tons of iron for projects executed and operated by UNRWA, this is despite the fact that the previous week HAMAS totally destroyed a sports and community facility built by UNWRA and demolished 26 homes belonging to PA supporters. According to the UN report of May 2010, 120 megawatts (over 70%) of Gaza’s electricity supply comes from the Israeli electric grid, while 17 MWs come from Egypt and 30 MWs are produced by the Gaza city power station.
Since January 2010, there has been deterioration in the supply of electricity to Gaza since HAMAS is unwilling to purchase the fuel to run the Gaza City power station with the finances which it has been given by financial donors. The people of the Israeli communities around Gaza who we spoke to fully support the huge amounts of aid being sent into Gaza but are asking that the International community put pressure on HAMAS to stop the continuous attempts by Jihadists based in Gaza to infiltrate their communities and fire rockets towards their homes. Even whilst we were there a terrorist attack on Kfar Aza was thwarted by IDF soldiers monitoring the border fence.
In February 2010, an agreement was reached with the Palestinian Authority’s National Insurance Department to ensure that pensions reached those families formerly employed in Israel. The funds were deposited in banks in Judea and Samaria and the Palestinian Authority was given the responsibility of distributing the funds to the pensioners in Gaza. This is Israeli money given to their former Arab employees.
Projected life expectancy in Gaza Strip this year is 73.86, greater than Estonia, Malaysia, Jamaica and Bulgaria. The infant mortality rate in Gaza is 17.71 per 1000, lower than that of China, Jordan, Lebanon and Thailand. Fertility rates are about five children per family, equal to many African nations such as Rwanda and Senegal. Palestinian families receive the same subsidized healthcare as Israelis.
It is important to note that an estimated 95% of Israeli children living in the communities surrounding Gaza are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress. Cancer and other related anxiety disorders amongst Israeli’s living in these communities are increasing due to the stress caused by rocket attacks from Gaza. Israel regularly assists UNRWA supply educational materials such as notebooks, school bags, writing implements and textbooks. Israel is currently coordinating the transfer of 200,000 laptops for Gaza schoolchildren and the shipment of 74 maritime containers for conversion into Gaza classrooms. In the first quarter of 2010, Israel this year transferred 250 trucks with equipment for the UNWRA summer camp, including arts-and-crafts equipment, swimming pools, inflatable toys, ice cream machines, musical instruments, clothing, sports equipment which has now been destroyed by HAMAS.
Approximately 20% of the population of Gaza owns a personal computer equalling Portugal, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Russia. 70% own a TV and radio and have access to satellite TV or broadcast TV from the PA or Israel. Gaza has well-developed telephone landlines, and extensive mobile telephone services provided by PalTel (Jawwal) and the Israeli provider Cellcom. According to USAID report, 81% of households in Gaza have access to a cell phone. The PA-owned cell phone provider Jawwal has more than 1 million cellular subscribers. Israel permits visitors to travel between Gaza and Israel, from Gaza to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and abroad for medical treatment, religious pilgrimages, and business trips.
Whenever possible Israel allows for diplomatic activities and trade and commerce with Gaza. In additional to medical travel, and at the expense of her own security, Israel has allowed 21,200 activists from international organizations and over 400 diplomatic delegations were permitted entry into Gaza, while 2,200 Palestinian Arabs employed by international organizations were given exit permits from the Gaza Strip. Israel allows Humanitarian groups such as the Red Cross to visit Arab prisoners arrested for Terrorists crimes but HAMAS will not allow any visits to prisoners or soldiers they illegally kidnap. Israel has a democratically elected open judicial system with no capital punishment but in Gaza HAMAS holds illegal court hearings prohibited by the UN and executes anyone who collaborates with Israel. Please use this information to inform your Politicians in the hope that they will support Israel in her Humanitarian efforts to help the population in Gaza rather than admonish her.