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Gaza update: protests, weapons, and
humanitarian situation



The contents of this web page were in an email message we attempted to send through our national e-lists earlier today, only to have the message vanish without trace. When we re-sent it several hours later, again the message totally disappeared. According to the Telecom help desk, the reason for this is the message has been 'blacklisted' by Yahoo because of offensive content (all Telecom email messages pass through Yahoo controlled servers since the yahoo-xtra switch). While the content certainly relates to offensive behaviour, whether or not the content is itself offensive is for you to judge ...

7 January 2009

There are three sections below:

    - where you can get updated details of vigils, meetings and protests
    - information on the use of "excessively injurious" weapons, and
    - information on the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

  • Updated details of vigils, meetings and protests
  • A reminder that due to our being mainly offline during January, the 'vigil, meeting and protest details' section of the Airstrikes / invasion of Gaza page on our site is being updated with new events as they come in, rather than our sending updates through our e-lists. There may be some issues with some internet browsers not showing the current version of the page on revisits - the best way to ensure you are viewing the most recent details is to press CTRL (on your keyboard) and click on refresh (in your browser) at the same time.

  • Use of "excessively injurious" weapons
  • We are following the debates around whether or not particular types of "excessively injurious" weapons are being used by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza - there have been reports of use of cluster munitions, flechette shells, ammunition containing depleted uranium (DU), Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME), and white phosphorus. To date, only the use of white phosphorus has been partially confirmed.

    The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons has issued a statement saying that they have yet to see clear evidence that DU munitions are being used in Gaza; and the International Cluster Munition Coalition is monitoring the situation with regard to cluster munitions. Human Rights Watch has weapons researchers investigating claims of use of the above weapons, as well as antipersonnel mines. Links to any confirmed reports will be uploaded to the Gaza web page as soon as they become available.

  • Humanitarian situation
  • In addition to the links in our message Airstrikes on Gaza: information, protests, and contact details circulated last week, information on the appalling situation in Gaza is available:

    • on the web site of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Occupied Palestinian Territory) which is publishing daily reports, these together with releases from other UN agencies and human rights Special Procedures are available on this web page.
    • on the UN news page on Palestine - see for example Ambulances face growing difficulty in reaching Gaza wounded which provides a chilling overview of the situation as at 5 January; and the daily press conferences by the Director of Operations in Gaza for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), for example on Monday, which includes:

        "The situation was "unbearable and intolerable", which was why a ceasefire was needed urgently. Asked what contingency plan had been prepared for the period after the expiration of the ceasefire, he said nobody had expected a situation where more than 500 people would be dead and over 2,500 others injured. The conventional wisdom had been that there was no military solution to the conflict. Gaza had been suffering under a commercial embargo for 18 months and under a kind of 'humanitarian assistance embargo' for five.".

      And from yesterday:

        "We also need more than words; we need effective action. International political actors should act quickly and decisively to stop the violence and end the mounting casualties. "Itís truly tragic. People are dying here by the hour in full view of the global community [Ö] I sincerely hope that, for the sake of those that have died, it would not have been in vain."
    Israeli human rights groups have set up a blog here with updates about the impact of the fighting on civilians in Gaza and southern Israel.


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