Diplomacy & defense

Gaza Strip
'Other Voice' group says ongoing humanitarian crisis in the enclave likely to fuel further violence

A group of Israelis living in communities along the border with the Gaza Strip wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, urging him to promote the lifting of Israel's blockade on the coastal enclave to ensure their Palestinian neighbors could lead their lives in "human conditions," local media reported.

According to a report on Mako, the internet portal of Israel's Channel Two News, the letter by the 'Other Voice' group stated they “have, over the years, addressed countless letters and petitions to Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as other government officials,” to no avail. “We stressed that the siege is a ticking bomb for everyone involved, on both sides."

The petition said that the ongoing humanitarian crisis is likely to fuel further violence if not addressed.

Many of Gaza's 1.8 million residents are living in dire conditions after the 50-day war in July-August 2014 that killed 2,200 Palestinians, 73 people on the Israeli side, and destroyed or damaged thousands of homes.

The website of 'Other Voice' describes the group as "a grassroots volunteer initiative comprised of citizens from the communities bordering the Gaza border that knows that our violent reality can and must be altered."

Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after Hamas captured an Israeli soldier, and tightened it a year later when Hamas consolidated its rule, to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the enclave.

It controls the waters around Gaza and residents are not allowed to travel more than six nautical miles from the coast.

Land crossings are also strictly controlled by Israel, apart from the Rafah checkpoint with Egypt.

As the reconstruction of thousands of homes destroyed during the fighting is progressing inadequately, Israel's blockade and a lack of support from international donors have been blamed.

Whereas Israel accuses Hamas of deploying materials delivered into the enclave to build underground tunnels leading into Israel and intended for carrying out terror attacks, rather than to restore residential homes.


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  • Michael Farmer
    March 06th 2016 - 11:22am

    May 1948 Israel declared itself a state in Palestine where the Jews owned only 7% of the land. THIS was the 'casus belli' for the war.

    This act of aggression was the Zionist leadership’s unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel, and the Zionists’ use of violence to enforce their aims both prior to and subsequent to that declaration.

    Questions such as 'Have you stopped beating your wife?' don't contribute.

  • James Spackman
    March 06th 2016 - 08:54am

    Neil Gordon, it is no use asking the jew hating bigot a question, he never answers a question..So I will ask him the same question, and just alter the question slightly..did the Arabs declare war on Israel in 1948 mr farmer? A simple yes or no will suffice,, dont duck and dive like you usually do.the question requires a simple answer. I will give you a hint!!!!! it was not the jews who declared war on the arabs in 1948...so it must have been the ____________. fill in the blank space with the correct answer mr farmer.. easy enough for you?

  • Michael Farmer
    March 05th 2016 - 11:50pm

    ""Jewish terrorists of '48"? Who declared war on whom Michael? "

    It certainly wasn't the peaceful villagers of Huj who had hidden fugitive Jewish militia from British troops several times previously, Neil.

    Ben Gurion had always planned forceful expulsion of Arabs from the land Israel sought, and expansion of whatever state he created ... also by force of arms. Hence the Nakba. Surely you were aware of that?

  • Neil Gordon
    March 05th 2016 - 10:13pm

    "Jewish terrorists of '48"? Who declared war on whom Michael?

  • Michael Farmer
    March 05th 2016 - 09:05am

    "run out of Sderot"? That's what happened to the true inhabitans of Huj(renamed Sderot) by Jewish terrorists '48.

    "But at the end of May, given the proximity of the advancing Egyptian column, the Negev Brigade decided to expel the inhabitants – and then looted and blew up their houses.” - Benny Morris.


  • James Spackman
    March 05th 2016 - 03:44am

    They are digging under your homes even as we speak. digging tunnels so that the can sneak into your villages, townships and homes, to kill you, and you want to help them! FOOLS!

    Members of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, are afraid of being buried alive and have refused orders to enter underground tunnels, which have mysteriously collapsed one after the other in recent months. This, according to Palestinian accounts, is the situation for Hamas in the Gaza Strip as it pursues the development of its terror tunnel capabilities against Israel.

    On Thursday, in an open field east of Khan Younis, a tunnel being dug by the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades collapsed, killing 31-year-old Muhammad Musa al Astal, Hamas said.

    Palestinian media outlets quoted senior Hamas officials who confirmed that an additional five tunnel diggers were missing and their condition was unknown. Thursday’s tunnel collapse was the seventh such incident in recent months, which have led to dozens of casualties.

    Hamas is convinced that Israel is behind the widespread collapses, and that it is using special detection equipment placed along the border.

    Following the collapse of the tunnel in Khan Younis, photographs of “advanced technological equipment for the detection of tunnels” began appearing on Palestinian websites, with one Hamas website claiming that the “Zionists are worried there are tunnels underneath their communities near the border fence.”

    The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, has said on several occasions that Israel is working to destroy Hamas’ underground capabilities, and has vowed the digging would continue. The terrorist group, however, has never officially said that Israel is responsible, because every tunnel that collapses not only claims lives but erodes the morale of those sent to dig the “tunnels of death,” as they are now being called, according to one Hamas member who spoke to Israel Hayom.

    The man told Israel Hayom that senior Hamas officials were aware of the concerns and fears being expressed by members of the military wing who have been asked to dig the tunnels.

    “The Zionists are nervous. They’re afraid the tunnels are underneath their homes, and because of their fear they are using very advanced tools to locate and collapse the tunnels,” the source said. “I know of those who have been sentenced to harsh punishments for refusing to take part in the [tunnel-digging] effort. This is a serious offense, and the punishment for it is extremely severe.”

    Meanwhile, a relative of one Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades operative told Israel Hayom that despite high levels of secrecy within the military wing, rumors of its members refusing to enter the tunnels have spread throughout the coastal enclave. According to the relative, “To be buried alive is a terrible way to die. Everyone has heard the stories of Qassam Brigade members who preferred harsh punishments over digging the tunnels. The Zionist occupation is finding the tunnels and collapsing them on anyone inside. That’s not being a shahid [martyr]. That’s gambling with your life.”

  • James Spackman
    March 05th 2016 - 03:28am

    Yeah, lets lift the blockade! fools! You want to lift the blockade. let tons of arms. ammunition, cement, steel etc into Gaza..I can guarantee within twelve months, some of your kids will have been executed by HAMAS infiltrating into Israel, with arms you helped supply by lifting the blockade...fools..
    read the HAMAS mandate...kill every jew..You think they are gonna stop because you helped to lift a blockade...get real you dumbo's.

  • James Spackman
    March 05th 2016 - 02:55am

    Do you think that HAMAS will listen to you..read the HAMAS website..kill every jew in ISRAEL.. do you at one voice think for one minute you can reason with HAMAS?? get real...This terrorist organisation backed by Iran, both financially, and with armaments, want to kill you! You gave them Gaza for lasting peace! what did you get in return...11;000 rockets firedinto your midst.