The Gaza Strip’s only power plant has shut down as Israel’s blockade has dried up fuel supplies. Tonight Gazans are living in darkness as the second of the plant's two working turbines was switched off on the third day of a crippling Israeli blockade of the territory. At least 800,000 people are now in darkness.
Sunday’s shutdown has prompted fears of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.This catastrophe is affecting hospitals, medical clinics, water wells, sewage treatment plants, water facilities, factories, homes— all aspects of life. Palestinians said the worst affected could be the health sector, with hospitals failing to provide services in the absence of electricity.
Food supplies have dwindled, thanks to Israel’s blockade. And now there is no bread. Bakeries stopped operating because they did not have power or flour. Gazans are protesting in the streets—asking for bread.
Israel’s targeting of a Palestinian government office on Jan. 18, which caused serious casualties at a nearby wedding party was a “war crime” and those responsible should be punished, a United Nations official said yesterday. John Dugard, UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the occupied territories, slammed the killing of Palestinians in other attacks and the closing of border crossings.
“The killing of some 40 Palestinians in Gaza in the past week, the targeting of a government office near a wedding party venue with what must have been foreseen loss of life and injury to many civilians, and the closure of all crossings into Gaza raise very serious questions about Israel’s respect for international law and its commitment to the peace process,” Dugard said in a statement.
“Those responsible for such cowardly action are guilty of serious war crimes and should be prosecuted and punished for their crimes,” Dugard said.