John Ging, Gaza head of the UN Relief and Works Agency, is warning that Gaza is on the verge of an explosion of anger that will result in violence and destruction. Ging describes humanitarian conditions as “shocking” and “shameful” because of the lack of basic supplies. Since Hamas assumed control of the Strip, Israel is only allowing in the minimal amount of food, medicine and fuel which has resulted in a “devastating effect” on everyday life in the area. A fuel shortage caused the UN last week to temporarily suspend food distribution to 800,000 Gazans. Mr. Ging cites examples of Israel restrictions on items like cement or paper for books and that even Tony Blair’s pet project, of a water treatment plant was at a standstll because cosntruction materials have not been allowed through checkpoints.
Israel insists restrictions are necessary due to security reasons but rockets continue hitting Israel and militants continue fighting Israeli soldiers. Israel has turned down offers from Hamas for a six month truce and from the Islamic Jihad for a cease fire on ground that any such truce would result in militants getting resupplied with weapons.
At some point, either outside pressure from the United States or from the European Union or from common sense will Israel finally recognize the importance of agreeing to a cease fire and truce. The alternative is a potential disaster if Gazans rush the border and the result is firing and death. How will Israel explain away the deaths of hundreds of people? There is need within Israel for the forces of peace and reality to compel their government to adhere to traditional Jewish values.