Thursday, December 27, 2012

Remember Operation Cast Lead ...


Along with a high casualty rate, there were multiple economic, industrial and medical effects of the Gaza War. The UNDP warned that there will be long-term consequences of the attacks on Gaza because the livelihoods and assets of tens of thousands of Gaza civilians had been affected.

Early estimates by independent contractors in Gaza say that Gaza lost nearly $2 billion in assets, including 4,000 homes destroyed. The IDF destroyed 600–700 factories, small industries, workshops and business enterprises throughout the Gaza Strip, 24 mosques, 31 security compounds, 34 health facilities, 10 water or sewage lines and over 50 UN facilities.

A satellite-based damage assessment of the Gaza Strip by the United Nations revealed 2,692 destroyed and severely damaged buildings, 220 impact craters on roads and bridges with an estimated length of 167 km (104 mi) of paved and unpaved roads damaged, 714 impact craters on open ground or cultivated land with an estimated land area of 2,100 hectares (21 km²), 187 greenhouses completely destroyed or severely damaged with an estimated area of 28 hectares (0.28 km²), and 2,232 hectares (22.32 km²) of demolished zones targeted by IDF bulldozers, tanks and phosphorus shelling.

750 Palestinian civilians and 240 Gaza policeman were killed in the conflict. 10 Israeli soldiers were killed, along with 3 civilians.

Following the war, Gaza has witnessed increasing epidemics of health problems. At the Al Shifa hospital a constant increase in the percentage of children born with birth defects of about 60% was witnessed when the period of July to September 2008 was compared to the same period in 2009. Dr. Mohammed Abu Shaban, director of the Blood Tumors Department in Al-Rantisy Hospital in Gaza has witnessed an increase in the number of cases of blood cancer. In March 2010 the department had seen 55 cases so far for that year, compared to the 20 to 25 cases normally seen in an entire year. 

During the war, Norwegian medics said that they had found traces of depleted uranium, a radioactive and genotoxic material used in some types of munition, in some Gaza residents who were wounded. Lawyers who brought back soil samples from Gaza said that areas where these samples were taken contained up to 75 tons of depleted uranium. The Israeli government denied it used Depleted Uranium, and the United Nations opened an investigation. Israel had also initially denied the use of white phosphorus during the war, but later acknowledged that indeed it had used white phosphorus to cover troop movements.

The policy of the Government of Israel is to condition the access of Palestinians who live in the Palestinian territories to healthcare in Israel upon financial coverage from the Palestinian Authority. In January 2009, following the war, the Palestinian Authority cancelled financial coverage for all medical care for Palestinians in Israeli hospitals, including coverage for chronically ill Palestinian patients, and those in need of complex care that is not available in other tertiary medical centers in the region. 

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