The grim reality in Gaza
" s decision is a death penalty: our reserve of fuel is almost zero and it may very likely run out by the end of today," said Khaled Radi, Ministry of Health spokesman for the dismissed government.
At the Nahal Oz crossing, through which all fuel enters , the Palestinian petrol authority reported that has delivered around only 190,000 litres of diesel a day since late October, falling short of the 350,000 litres needed by the Gaza Strip. This number plummeted on 29 November, with delivering a scanty 60,000 litres, only marginally improving three days later, 2 December, with a delivery of 90,000 litres.
This weeks increased cutbacks resulted in a several day closure of Gazas petrol stations, owners striking in protest to the pittance of fuel allowed injust one quarter of that normally received.
A Gaza taxi driver related his concern: "Cutting off fuel means cutting off our lives. We use it for everything, in the place of wood or coal. Its tragic not only that is imposing this siege on , but also that some Palestinians are supporting this cruel embargo, with the naïve idea of causing the people turn against in ."
Shortages of fuel have greatly affected the public transportation system, leaving students from universities in delayed for hours standing in wait for transportation back to Khan Younies and Rafah in the south.
Even basic things are scarce. Residents are hard-pressed to find a piece of glass to repair a broken window, imperative in Decembers cold weather, particularly in a time when electricity and gas are scarce-to-absent.
Eyad Yousef, a 31-year-old Palestinian teacher, has been waiting for cement, unavailable for the last many months, to enter . Concurrently, prices of building materials have skyrocketed, more than tripled in the worst cases. Yousef waits for any sort of building material, but he knows that will not find anything, as he has looked all over the picked-clean area. "I have a floor of my home to finish, but cant do so yet as no sort of building materials are available in ," he said. "I'm using pieces of nylon to cover my windows at home, but I cant go on like this for long," he added, saying he hopes that the international community will put pressure on to open borders and let vital products into .
Since took over power in June, this subsequent Israeli lockdown has made it virtually impossible for Palestinians to get out of . The situation then deteriorated with the closing of Karni crossing, Gazas only commercial crossing, only opened for the most basic food essentials. Coupled with s ground and air attacks, the situation for Palestinians worsened yet further still when last October announced Gaza as a "hostile entity", further allowing to justify its closed-borders policy to the international arena.
In the densely-populated region starved of medical supplies, and now facing the shutdown of clinics, Gazan citizens have been given a death sentence with s control over borders. Yahya Al Jamal 53, one case among hundreds of people, has cancer and is in serious need of medical care at well-equipped hospitals. For more than two months now he has been refused entry to for treatment. His agonized father reported that his son will die in the coming days if he does not get the medication he needs, an outcome of s mass denial of the luxury of critical healthcare.
Insult upon injuries, cement already scarce for building is no longer available even for graves of the many recently dead.
As winter progresses, resilient citizens desperately seek to survive. In Rafahs Saturday market, Umm Mohammed Zourub scours the stalls yet again: "I've been looking for new winter clothes for my children, but I haven't been able to find any because no materials are coming into with the closed borders," the 43 year old mother lamented.
"The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything."