Jan. 3, 2009
Mass Rally & March for Peace in Gaza/Palestine
Martin Luther King Jr Blvd & S. McDowell St, Charlotte, NC
Ceasefire NOW in Gaza!
Open the Borders & Let Humanitarian Relief In!
Guest speakers include:
Muslim American Society of Charlotte President
Published Communications Professor and Media Scholar
Amnesty International USA Country Specialist
Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Palestinian Authority
Coordinator - Charlotte Al-Awda - Palestine Right To Return Coalition
President - Islamic Center Of Charlotte
Student of Local University
Coordinator - Action Center For Justice
Muslim American Society Charlotte
Al-Awda - Palestine Right To Return Coalition - Charlotte
Islamic Political Party Of America
Action Center For Justice
Islamic Society Of Greater Charlotte
Muslim Women Of The Carolinas
Islamic Center Of Charlotte
ICC - South
CODEPINK Women For Peace - Charlotte
Download Flyers to pass out at http://lists.riseup.net/www/d_read/actioncenter/j3gazaflyer.pdf
For more info contact: Mohammad Banawan (704) 293-3744
& info will be posted at www.charlotteaction.blogspot.com.
Sat. Jan 3 Vigil for Gaza
6:30 to 7:30
Friendly Avenue and Guilford College Road
CONTACT: ICT Youth Committee
Badi Ali, (336) 988-0818 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"Civilians are paying the price in Gaza"
Haider Rizvi, The Electronic Intifada, 31 December 2008
UNITED NATIONS (IPS) - International aid groups, including several United Nations agencies, are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza if Israel does not stop its military action there immediately.
"The consequences of [further] military action by Israel would be disastrous," said Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, a London-based aid organization that is providing food and water for Palestinians affected by the Israeli blockade.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza depend on Oxfam and other international aid agencies for the basics of life -- clean water, food and sanitation. Before the recent Israeli bombing campaign, Gaza had been cut off from the outside world for 19 months.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is also expressing similar concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The group says hospitals are "overwhelmed and unable to cope with the scale and type of injuries that keep coming in."
At the time this article went to press on 30 December, more than 300 Palestinians are reported to have been killed -- and nearly 1,000 wounded -- since the Israeli air force began bombing Gaza Saturday.
"Our first priority is to get more medical supplies to the hospitals right away," said ICRC's Pierre Wettach. "It is therefore essential that this urgent humanitarian assistance is allowed to enter Gaza."
Before the recent attacks on Gaza, aid organizations had repeatedly stressed that the Israeli blockade of Gaza was hindering their efforts to reach out to Palestinians who were in dire need of food and medicines.
Currently, nearly half of the population in Gaza does not have enough food to meet its basic needs. A majority of the population are refugees who were driven out of their homes by the Israeli occupation in 1948.
In a statement, Oxfam and other aid agencies -- including CARE International, Medico, and Diakonia -- said the Israeli aerial assaults on Gaza had further complicated their relief efforts in the territory and noted that it was causing more suffering to the innocent.
"The blockade is illegal and constitutes collective punishment of ordinary men, women, and children," said Diakonia's Christoffer Sjoholm, who, although critical of Palestinian rocket attacks, condemned Israel's plans to carry out further attacks on Gaza.
Oxfam says it wants world leaders to push the Israelis to open all crossing points into Gaza so food, water and medical supplies can pass through and provide immediate relief to affected citizens.
On Monday, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) expressed deep concerns about the impact of the Israeli aerial attacks and demanded that the self-declared Jewish state must allow the humanitarian supplies to enter.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also called for Israel to take such actions.
"The frightening nature of what is happening on the ground, in particular, its effects on children who are more than half of the population, troubles me greatly," Ban said. "I have continuously stressed the need for strict observance of international humanitarian law."
According to the UN, last Sunday about 60 truck loads of supplies were allowed to enter Gaza. However, UN Chief for Relief Operations John Holms has warned that the increasing death toll could create an overwhelming affect on humanitarian efforts.
A statement released Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that many more deaths are likely as hospitals in Gaza are lacking sufficient medical supplies.
"The ability of the hospitals to cope with a problem of this magnitude, if the situation continued unchanged, will result in surge in preventable death," a UNICEF spokesperson said in a statement. "Civilians are paying the price for a long blockade."
In addition to other UN agencies and independent aid organizations, UNICEF is currently trying to persuade the Israeli authorities to allow safe passage for the supply of medical and food items.
In recent days, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) has repeatedly expressed its concern over the Israeli efforts to stop aid supplies. The agency stresses that days and weeks before the current military action the blockade was already hurting some 1.5 million people.
In a statement, UNRWA's head Karen AbuZayd said she was horrified by the current situation in Gaza and wanted the Israeli government to heed calls for ceasing its bombardment of Gaza.
Meanwhile, a UN spokesperson told reporters in New York that the Middle East Quartet -- comprised of the UN, the European Union, Russia, and US -- held a teleconference Tuesday to discuss the situation in Gaza. During that teleconference the Quartet, called for an "immediate ceasefire."
Stressing that the Quartet statement is not yet official, Marie Okabe, Ban's deputy spokesperson, said that, the Quartet has "called on all parties to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to take necessary measures to ensure the continuous provision of humanitarian supplies."
Join the ONLINE PETITION initiated by Ramsey Clark (http://www.iacenter.org/gazapetition)- sign on and send the message to President Bush, President Elect Obama, VP Cheney, VP Elect Biden, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of State designate Clinton, Congressional leaders, the U.N. Secretary General, Security Council, and key member states, the Israeli President, Prime Minister and cabinet, and members of the world media appealing for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza