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January 7th, 2009
Medical Supplies Get Through to Gaza

In response to the mounting humanitarian crisis in Gaza and widespread criticism for an attack on a UN-run school, Israel today announced a daily three-hour ceasefire for the delivery of humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip.

A doctor in Gaza confirmed that hospitals received much-needed supplies during today’s ceasefire, temporarily relieving them of the worst shortages. However, he said that serious problems do remain, namely the lack of electricity and reliable water.

The doctor, who asked not to be identified by name, blames Hamas as much as Israel for the current conflict, saying that “Hamas is in a corner and wants to escape. They want more martyrs, they want to explode the situation because it helps them gain support around the region. But people outside don’t understand the reality inside Gaza. We are waiting for the day that Hamas will be finished.”

Israel’s military operation in Gaza has entered its 12th day, with air strikes continuing and ground troops moving toward Gaza City and the southern city of Khan Younis. Intermittent rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel have also continued. While the Israeli Defense Forces have reported 7 soldiers killed in the fighting in Gaza, hundreds of casualties have been reported on the Palestinian side, and the wounded number in the thousands.

As always, Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital is in the center of the chaos. The largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, it receives many casualties and is packed with many more relatives and onlookers. When WIDE ANGLE reported from Shifa Hospital in 2007’s GAZA E.R., months of Israel’s blockade had rendered the facility desperate for supplies, medicine, stable electricity, and even blood for transfusions. Conflicts among Hamas and Fatah members, as well as among rival Palestinian factions, sometimes boiled over into violence inside the hospital.

WIDE ANGLE reported from Shifa Hospital in 2007 in GAZA E.R.

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