“Gaza has become a dead city”

Israel recently launched airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation for the Qassam (homemade) rockets that Gazan militants often fire into Israeli territory. Gazan civilians have suffered severe collateral damage. Omar Shaban, CRS’ Head of Office in Gaza, writes:

Gaza_Omar Shaban

Omar Shaban, CRS’ Head of Office in Gaza. Photo by CRS

The situation is the Gaza Strip is unprecedented in terms of the level of suffering. Most of the victims are civilians; many houses were destroyed. When Israeli air fighters targeted Hamas’ buildings, which are empty, all the buildings in the area were severely damaged. There is no raw material available in the markets, no glass to repair the windows, no wood to repair the doors and kitchens, no tools and spare parts to repair the water and electricity networks which were damaged by the shelling. There is no fuel at all — very few cars and people are on the streets.

The entire area from the Erez crossing to Salah Din Road is under Israeli bombardment. People who live in these areas can not leave their homes. Journalists were not allowed to enter closely to these areas. Humanitarian organizations were allowed to enter into these areas only in the second day of the military operation.

Gaza’s hospitals are not able to cope with the huge number of casualties. Hospitals are treating people in the corridors because the ICUs are too small to cope with the number. Gaza City has become a dead city.

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4 Responses to ““Gaza has become a dead city””

  1. Hedley Abernethy Says:

    A number of UK-based humanitarian and human rights organizations have released a report entitled The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion. Copies are available at Christian Aid’s website. http://www.christian-aid.org.uk/

    Perhaps most telling as CRS seeks both to end the humanitarian crisis and seek a lasting peace in the Holy Land, is the following statement “Hungry, unhealthy, angry communities do not make good partners for peace. To date, failure to address the situation in Gaza has harmed both Palestinians and Israelis and has been detrimental to the broader peace process itself.”

  2. David L. Grayck Says:

    Hamas purpose shoots rockets among civilians. There are civilian deaths because of what Hamas does, not Israel. Why don’t you have the courage to condemn what Hamas does? Why don’t you have the courage to demand that Hamas stop endangering civilians in Gaza? Why is Catholic Relief Services supporting those who want to kill Israeli civilians with the rocket fire on Sderot? The answer is because you people are cowards and because you want to destroy Israel and kill the Jews.

  3. admin Says:

    Mr. Grayck,

    Thanks for responding to this CRS Blog post. Catholic Relief Services is dedicated to helping people in need worldwide.

    Catholic Relief Services is committed to achieving two objectives in the Holy Land. The first is responding to a humanitarian crisis that is primarily impacting Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The second is promoting peace in the region. We see these two issues as inextricably linked – there cannot be an end to this crisis without peace.

    We are also clear about the nature of this peace – it must ensure BOTH the rights of Israelis AND Palestinians to live with security to live without fear of hunger or inability to access basic services. Catholic Relief Services continues to support the call for a two-state solution that envisions a secure State of Israel alongside a secure and viable Palestinian state. This means that any acts of violence must be condemned as counter to a call for a lasting peace and all sides must engage in a peace process that maintains the human dignity of all people living in the Holy Land.

    Our concern extends to all those who are suffering in the Holy Land. After the Lebanon war of summer 2006, CRS committed aid to Israelis displaced by cross-border shelling in northern Israel by contributing to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the American Jewish Committee. Catholic Relief Services has also strongly condemned terrorist actions by Hamas and Hezbollah.

    We hope you join our prayers for peace in a land that so many religious traditions hold dear.

    Hedley Abernethy, Catholic Relief Services

  4. shea barja Says:

    My response to you, Mr. Grayck, my friend,

    US foreign policy is not favorable for peace in the Middle East. Unfortunately, there are many Christian Americans who “side with” Israel to the detriment of innocent Gazans and Palestinians. People like Pat Roberston, John Hagee and his Christians United for Israel, and Gary Bauer are politically influential. I would venture that the average Christian in America believes that war in the Middle East is inevitable. This is due to a false end times doctrine that permeates (protestant evangelical) Christian culture. Check out the popularity of the “Left Behind” series of books by Tim LaHaye. Since 9/11 many Americans are also convinced that every Muslim is a terrorist. What we need is a good history lesson on the tragic events that are happening in the Middle East, starting with the early 20th century. Fear and hatred need to be replaced with knowledge, understanding, and compassion. If you would please go to this website http://christianzionism.org/ you may have a better understanding of why we should be aware of both sides of the conflict. Thank you. Your friend in peace, Shea Barja

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