Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Two years Ago: Israel's Deadly Offensive in the Gaza Strip

Kourosh Ziabari - On the eve of New Gregorian Year, the international community commemorates the second anniversary of Israel's deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the continuous blockade of the coastal sliver which has paralyzed the lives of more than 1.5 million impoverished Palestinians living there.

Two years ago and during the final days of 2008, Israel launched an all-out military attack on the Gaza Strip which, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, claimed the lives of 1,417 Palestinians, the majority of whom were innocent women and children. The military assault of the Israel Defense Forces also wounded 5,303 Palestinians, destroyed more than half of the basic infrastructure of the strip and displaced tens of thousands of defenseless civilians.

According to a report published by PCHR, "tens of thousands of Gaza residents continue to live a life of displacement."


"While the United Nations (UN) agencies and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have had the willingness and resources to support the re-construction of the houses Israel destroyed during the war, Israel continues to restrict the entry of construction materials, denying the victims from meaningful relief and from their right to adequate housing," the report continues.

As said by the PCHR report, the "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly" is a grave breach of the 147th article of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

"The Ministry of Housing and Public Works in Gaza announced that 51,553 homes were destroyed or damaged [during the Operation Cast Lead]. Of those 3,336 homes were destroyed completely and 4,021 sustained major damages," the report adds.

Moreover, the statistics published by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) indicate that 2,276 Palestinian homes were destroyed completely during the Gaza offensive of which 1776 sustained major damage.


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