BBC Report on Gaza…what will we do?

Gaza situation ‘worst since 1967’

Gaza girls protest at Israeli measures

The groups say a battered, starved Gaza cannot be peace partner

Gaza’s humanitarian situation is the worst since 1967 when Israel occupied it, says a coalition of UK-based human rights and development groups. They include Amnesty International, Save the Children, Cafod, Care International and Christian Aid.

They criticise Israel’s blockade on Gaza as illegal collective punishment which fails to deliver security.

Israel says its military action and other measures are lawful and needed to stop rocket attacks from Gaza.

The groups’ report, Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion, says the blockade has dramatically worsened levels of poverty and unemployment, and has led to deterioration in education and health services.

‘Disaster’

More than 1.1 million Gazans are dependent on food aid and of 110,000 workers previously employed in the private sector, 75,000 have now lost their jobs, the report says.

“Unless the blockade ends now, it will be impossible to pull Gaza back from the brink of this disaster and any hopes for peace in the region will be dashed,” said Geoffrey Dennis, of Care International UK.

Gaza cannot become a partner for peace unless Israel, Fatah and the Quartet engage with Hamas and give the people of Gaza a future
Daleep Mukarji, Christian Aid

Israel tightened its blockade on the strip, controlled by the Hamas militant group, in January.

Last week Israeli forces launched a bloody and destructive raid in northern Gaza, in which more than 120 Palestinians – including many civilians – were killed.

Israel says the measures are designed to stamp out frequent rocket fire by Palestinian militants.

Recent rocket attacks have hit deeper into southern Israel, reaching Ashkelon, the closest large Israeli city to the Gaza Strip.

Occupying power

The UK-based groups agree that Israel has the right and obligation to protect its citizens, urging both sides to cease unlawful attacks on civilians.

Israel tank guards crossing into Gaza

The Israeli army has cut access to Gaza for almost all traffic

But they call upon Israel to comply with its obligations, as the occupying power in Gaza, to ensure its inhabitants have access to food, clean water, electricity and medical care, which have been in short supply in the strip.

“Punishing the entire Gazan population by denying them these basic human rights is utterly indefensible,” said Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen.

“The current situation is man-made and must be reversed.”

Other recommendations from the groups include international engagement with the Hamas movement, which rejects Israel’s legitimacy and has been shunned by Israel’s allies, and the Fatah party of Palestinian West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“Gaza cannot become a partner for peace unless Israel, Fatah and the Quartet [the US and UN, Europe and Russia] engage with Hamas and give the people of Gaza a future,” said Daleep Mukarji of Christian Aid.

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Land a Plane at 155mph winds?

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President of Iran Visits Iraq..

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7274921.stm

Does anyone have any thoughts on this man, and his recent visit to Iraq?

Cuba Gives Aid to Bolivia

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7268569.stm

This is a really interesting article, Cuba maybe communist and it may not allow freedom of speeh and so on…but they have got some things right such as health care.

sand and sorrow

This is an HBO movie about the conflict in Sudan…check it out

Pledges from all candidates to visit africa if they are elected…

Senator Hillary Clinton released a statement saying:

“Today I received a petition from more than 85,000 Americans who are members of the ONE campaign. I applaud their activism and share their urgent concern for the challenges of poverty and AIDS, especially in Africa… I am also committed to visiting Africa during my first term as President, to see the progress of our efforts and to assess first hand the necessary strategies to combat disease and poverty…” Read more

Senator John McCain’s response to your petitions said:

“I have received the petition from more than 85,000 Americans who are members of the ONE campaign. I am proud of the volunteer-driven effort behind ONE and the commitment ONE’s members have shown toward serving a cause greater than their own self-interest…As president, I look forward to visiting Africa and working with afflicted nations there and elsewhere to communicate that we expect a level of governance, transparency, and effectiveness from them in order to ensure that their aid makes a concrete and positive impact on people’s lives.” Read more

Governor Mike Huckabee said:

“The ONE Campaign members have been a significant presence throughout this election season and have done a tremendous job of raising awareness of the plight of the poorest people on earth…I will go to Africa in my first term and will continue to make a difference globally by strengthening such initiatives as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria…” Read more

Senator Barack Obama’s response said:

“The ONE campaign stands as an example of how ordinary people can come together to change the world from the bottom up. I was honored to receive a petition from 75,000 ONE campaign members, and share your commitment to fight global poverty and disease—particularly in Africa. I will continue to fight for bipartisan renewal and expansion of the global HIV/AIDS relief program, and look forward to visiting Africa during my first term as President of the United States

UK to spend money on Sierra Leone Water Project

 Article from http://www.visitsierraleone.org/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=922

EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY

UK helps Sierra Leone turn on the taps for clean water
– £32 million support for water and sanitation to save thousands of lives –

International Development Minister Douglas Alexander today launched a £32m five-year water, sanitation and hygiene education programme in Sierra Leone.

The UK contribution will provide an additional 1.5 million people with safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene education and will help save the lives of up to 3,000 children each year.

The announcement comes as International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander visits Sierra Leone as part of a visit to West Africa (22-23 February). During his visit he will meet President Koroma of Sierra Leone and President Kufuor of Ghana.

In Sierra Leone less than half the population has access to safe water and sanitation and 20,000 children under the age of five die every year from dirty water and hygiene-related illness.

The UK funding will deliver basic wells, hand pumps and improvements to the existing water supply systems. The programme, which is run in conjunction with UNICEF and the Sierra Leone government, will focus on rural areas but also the target the capital city, Freetown which suffers from a fragile water supply.

Douglas Alexander said:

“Sanitation is essential for a healthy, secure and dignified life. In Sierra Leone, 20,000 children under five die every year from dirty water and hygiene-related causes.

“Women and girls pay a particularly heavy price – many don’t go to school because there are no toilets for them to use. Many avoid eating or drinking all day as they can only go to the toilet when it’s dark.”

“Providing safe water and basic sanitation for the people of Sierra Leone is at the heart of the country’s recovery and the long journey out of poverty for millions of people. “

The UK contribution increases Sierra Leone’s current spending on water and sanitation by seven times and aims to put Sierra Leone back on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of people without safe water or basic sanitation.

The Sierra Leonean government’s annual spend on water is £1.7 m. The funding from the UK aims to help women and children particularly through better hygiene practices and the drinking of safe water. The UK will also provide technical support to the Sierra Leone government to help strengthen their own ability to deliver better water services to the poorest in the future