Monday, January 21, 2008


How Can We Wage Intifada In The Dark?

FOXNews - Gaza City awoke Monday to shuttered bread shops and gas stations, prompting officials to warn of a possible humanitarian crisis as Israel pressed ahead with efforts to stop Palestinian rocket fire, refusing to reopen crossings or allow in crucial fuel supplies.

Children marched through dark dark streets holding candles, an angry Hamas TV announcer shouted at the camera "we are being killed, we are starving!" and Palestinian leaders issued emotional pleas for national unity. Israel accused Gaza's Hamas rulers of fabricating a crisis to gain world sympathy.

Electricity officials shut down Gaza's only power plant just before 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) Sunday, Gaza Energy Authority head Kanan Obeid said.

Health Ministry official Moaiya Hassanain warned that the fuel cutoff would cause a health catastrophe. "We have the choice to either cut electricity on babies in the maternity ward or heart surgery patients or stop operating rooms," he said.

Gaza bakeries stopped operating because of the blockade, bakers said, because they had neither power nor flour. Residents of the strip typically rely on fresh pita bread as a main part of their diet.

Waiting in a line at the only bakery for kilometers around, Mohammed Salman said he had spent far more on a taxi getting to the shop than he would on bread.

"I'm going to buy something that my family can keep for only two days because there is no electricity and no refrigerator," Salman said. "We cannot keep anything longer than that."

In addition to the fuel it receives from Israel to power its electrical plant, Gaza gets about 70 percent of its electricity directly from Israel — and that has not been stopped, Israeli officials said.

The power plant supplies most of the remaining electricity, and Israeli officials acknowledged that the fuel used to supply it has been stopped.

Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said Israel would "do everything" to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Dror suggested that the crossings would not be opened in the coming days, saying that a reduction of rocket attacks this week was not enough to bring about the lifting of the blockade. The army said five rockets were fired on Sunday, down from 53 in the two previous days.

"If we open the crossings again tomorrow there will be rockets that fall again on Israel," Dror said. "They don't want to recognize Israel and want to destroy Israel, that's their problem. They shouldn't expect that we will help them destroy us."

Dror and other Israeli officials charged that Hamas was creating a false crisis and could resume the electricity if it wanted.

Hamas claimed that five people had died at hospitals because of the power outage. However, health officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were contradicting the official line, denied the claim.

Israel was trying to find a way to stop rocket fire into its southern communities. The barrages have virtually paralyzed life there since a spike in fighting last week that followed an Israeli anti-rocket operation in Gaza.

Israel sealed all crossings into Gaza last week in response to the fighting, cutting off fuel, food and medicine. Several weeks ago Israel reduced the fuel supply as a pressure tactic. Gazans said Monday that they were eating less meat and dairy products since they had no power for refrigerators. The price of meat has doubled in 10 days.

Late Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to Israel to lift the blockade, said Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh. Abbas effectively rules only the West Bank after Hamas expelled his forces from Gaza last June.

Abbas renewed peace talks with Israel after a U.S. peace conference in November. On Monday, some Palestinians urged Abbas to break them off.

"We ask the Palestinian Authority to halt negotiations, and demand that (Israel) lift the embargo on Gaza as a condition of returning to negotiations," Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Negotiators for Abbas' government will raise the Gaza situation in the next negotiating session, but Abbas does not want to pull out of the talks because of what's happening in Gaza, said Nabil Shaath, Abbas' representative in Egypt.

The exiled leader of Hamas on Sunday evening urged Arab leaders and Abbas to forget their differences and help the Gaza Strip. It was a dramatic and emotional plea from the hard-line Khaled Mashal, who lives in exile in Damascus, Syria.

"Oh Arab leaders, every minute in which a Palestinian dies in Gaza, you are responsible for his blood and soul before God," he told Al-Jazeera satellite TV in a live interview from Syria.

He also called for Palestinian unity. "God is not going to forgive you nor Hamas if we don't meet on the grounds of brotherhood ... This is a sincere call, without any politics," Mashal said.

A Hamas-linked militant group threatened to crash through the border with Egypt "by force."

Human rights groups condemned the fuel cutoff. The British group Oxfam called it "ineffective as well as unlawful." Gisha, an Israeli group that has fought the fuel cutbacks in Israel's Supreme Court, said "punishing Gaza's 1.5 million civilians does not stop the rocket fire; it only creates an impossible 'balance' of human suffering on both sides of the border."

Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but many see Israel as still responsible, since it controls most land, sea and air access to the territory.


I guess their Arab brothers dont have any Fuel Oil to spare.