A Tougher January: How Gazans Start Their Morning Under Siege

A Tougher January: How Gazans Start Their Morning Under Siege

ACTNews, GAZA – The morning in Gaza is like any other morning since ten years ago: living in enclosure, surrounded by high walls. If you move westward, you’ll be greeted by the Mediterranean sea. If you move south, you’ll stumble upon the high walls of Rafah border, between Gaza and Egypt.

Moving eastward, you’ll see another wall, bordering the poor area of Khan Yunis, Gaza and the lush and green area of western Israel.

The only choice left is to move south, where there’s a long queue in front of the Erez gate, a gate connecting directly the land of Gaza with Israel. Only Gaza residents with with dire emergency can cross through this gate.

In reality, throughout 2017, thousands of Gaza residents were denied access through Erez gate. Although they did have dire emergencies, like urgent need for medical treatments, the Israeli authority was unmoved. They did not allow Palestinians to cross through the gate.

Another problem is power shortage. In early January 2018, there was a good news: Gaza will be supplied with more electricity by Israel, 120 megawatt for two million Gaza residents. It means the running time will be extended to 4-5 hours a day.

Despite this being a good news, a large expense has to be paid by the Palestinian government for more electricity inside Gaza. Meanwhile, it is difficult to make a living in Gaza, even for small amount of money. Even if there was a job, the salary was only meager.

Morning comes in Gaza without electricity, or proper breakfast. Food supplies are thinning, while January is marked with a cold winter, where the temperature plummets to below 10 degree Celsius.

As told by Yahya A.A Al-Najjar Samira, a teenager from Gaza, Palestine who talked to ACTNews in early January. He spoke about how Gazans begin their daily life under the blockade.

Samira said that the electricity crisis is the most severe, as well as the food crisis. The electricity shortage affects the daily needs of the Gazans. "In a day, it runs only 2 hours, 5 hours at most. Even with that, we don’t know when the electricity turns off,” said Samira.

The electricity shortage paralyzes public facilities in Gaza. Hospitals can’t operate their emergency tools, water pumps turn off, kitchens can not optimally store food supplies for the Gaza residents.

“Unlike in Indonesia, where people wake up every day with the electricity turned on. In Gaza, to wake up in the morning with running electricity is a happiness. Why? Because, mostly, the electricity runs when we’re asleep at night,” said Namira.

A new phase in Gaza: UN humanitarian funds for Gaza cut off

In the third week of January 2018, it seems that there’s a darker phase ahead for the Palestinians, especially in Gaza: more than 50% of humanitarian funds supplied to the United Nations (UN) for the Palestinians was cut off by the so-called superpower country. Quoting from Al-Jazeera, Tuesday (16/1), the funds allocated for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was reducted to more than $65 millions.

All this time, UNRWA has spent millions of dollars for public facilities for millions of Palestinian internally displaced persons (IDP) spreding accross West Bank and Gaza. Al-Jazeera wrote that UNRWA in Gaza and West Bank supplied food, clean water, education, health care and social services.

The unjust remission of the humanitarian funds for Palestine becomes a new phase which makes life in Gaza even more difficult. This new phase, however, becomes a humanitarian call for another nation.

In indonesia, in the 3rd week of January, a massive effort is ongoing to present a concrete action for Palestine. In six districts in East and Central Java, more than 10.000 farmers are working hard in January 2018 harvest.

This harvest will be marked with a noble mission to sail a Humanitarian Ship to Palestine. Ahyudin, President of Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT), convinced the Indonesian society that this January 2018 harvest will produce a surplus of rice.

“It’s about humanitarian journey. We will show that we are a great nation. Not only sending sincere prayers, but this nation need concrete actions for Palestine. Insha Allah, in February 21st 2018,  Humanitarian Ship will sail again, bringing 10.000 tons of rice to Palestine,” said Ahyudin. []      

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