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No light, no heat, no bread: stark reality for the powerless in Gaza | Israel and the Middle East | Guardian Unlimited
When it opened its doors seven years ago, the European Gaza hospital was one of the biggest foreign investments in the long-troubled Gaza Strip and one of the leading medical centres in the Palestinian territories. Yesterday, the 250-bed hospital was sliding rapidly into crisis, turning away patients for routine operations and struggling to manage emergency cases, as the sole power plant in Gaza halted electricity production after Israel stopped all fuel supplies.

Israel said its closure of the Gaza strip was intended to halt the firing of makeshift rockets by Palestinian militants into southern Israel.

Yet Israel's stark new policy has meant no fuel or food aid has come into Gaza since last Thursday. Large parts of the overcrowded strip had no power, leaving it without lights and heating, closing bakeries and forcing hospitals to rely on generators and their own limited fuel reserves. As night fell nearly all Gaza City was in darkness. Simply put, it was "collective punishment," said the European commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

Osama Nahal, a paediatric doctor in the European hospital's special care baby unit, looked resigned. "Politics is politics, but the care of human beings must be away from politics," he said. His unit now has 10 newly-born patients, of whom two are on ventilators.

by Fran on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 at 11:19:34 PM EST
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The poor and the sick suffer as Israel cuts power to Gaza - Independent Online Edition > Middle East

Mansour Rahal lay unconscious in the intensive care unit of Gaza City's Shifa hospital, linked to an electrically powered ventilator, the coloured monitor above his head showing his heart, respiration and oxygen saturation rate.

On Thursday last week, the teenager was driving his donkey cart through Beit Lahiya when it was destroyed by a missile which targeted militants in a nearby car. The rocket killed his mother and older brother, and Mansour contracted meningitis after suffering severe head wounds.

His hopes of survival yesterday depended on there being enough diesel to keep in operation the four generators which were Shifa's only source of power. His doctor, Kamal al-Geathny, said: "If we lose power, he and six other patients in this unit will die."

This was the scene at the hospital yesterday before Israel authorised limited supplies of fuel and medicine to Gaza after a wave of international condemnation for its imposition of a four-day-old total embargo, which left much of the Strip without electricity. The EU called the blockade a " collective punishment" of the Palestinians in Gaza.

The embargo caused industrial diesel to run out, shutting down Gaza's only power station on Sunday, plunging Gaza City into darkness. Large parts of it are still without power.

by Fran on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 at 11:26:31 PM EST
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I got Godwin'd the last time I pointed out the obvious reference, but does anyone remember Warsaw.....

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 12:18:58 PM EST
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didn't you know that asking obvious questions is anti-semitism?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 12:32:31 PM EST
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