The Gaza Strip remains without electricity and fuel for the upcoming winter as the Israeli regime steps up the pressure on the Palestinians in the besieged enclave,Press TV reports.
Only six hours of electricity per day and no gas makes most of Gaza’s homes cold for the winter.
In the past few months, electricity has been rationed and also blackouts have increased during rainfalls.
“Homes in Gaza lack enough heat to deal with the situation… People here in Gaza try to get some fire wood to heat their homes and this causes health problems,” said Ashraf Shannon, Press TV’s correspondent in Gaza.
He added that the municipality, the civil defense, and fire departments in Gaza “are not able to cope with the situation due to lack of fuel and even if they manage to get some fuel, …the pumps that they have are out of service and they don’t have spare parts to fix them.”
“Israel does not allow spare parts for the fire departments, the emergency services, and especially for Gaza’s municipality to deal with emergencies and catastrophic situations.”
Fuel and electricity shortages in the Gaza Strip have also worsened due to Egyptian government’s closure of Gaza tunnels. These tunnels are the only lifeline for Palestinians living under the Israeli siege.
Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
Over 160 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed and about 1,200 others were injured in the Israel’s eight-day offensive on the coastal enclave, which ended on November 21, 2012.
The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education.
The US Department of Defense has approved the sale of thousands of anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia amid Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel’s visit to the Middle East.
On Thursday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress that it had approved Riyadh's request for nearly 14,000 tube-launched, optically tracked wire-guided (TOW) missiles and more than 1,700 similar missiles in two separate deals valued at nearly $1.1 billion.
"The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a critical partner who has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability in the Middle East," DSCA said.
Hagel, who arrived in Bahrain on Thursday, reassured American allies in the region that Washington would not change its military policy.
On Friday, he said that the United States has no plans to scale back its military deployments or arms sales to the Persian Gulf states.
“I will assure our partners that we're not going anywhere," the Pentagon chief said.
"This region is dangerous, it's combustible, it's unstable," Hagel said. "But having a steady American hand in this region to help our allies and reassure our allies is really key to working through this really dangerous instability.”
The manner in which Nelson Mandela's legacy is being misinterpreted and appropriated is an obscenity. This has been brought into sharp focus in the immediate aftermath of his passing.
The driving force and inspiration of the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa, Mandela was a man driven by a fierce belief in justice as the universal right of all people – regardless of race, religion, nationality or wealth. He stood utterly opposed to the notion that justice is a gift of the rich and powerful, either in South Africa or anywhere in the world. This makes it all the more nauseous to witness the likes of Tony Blair and David Cameron issuing public tributes to him. While Nelson Mandela was a champion of the dispossessed and oppressed throughout his life, people such as Blair and Cameron are servants of the rich.
Likewise, the sight of President Obama paying giving a public eulogy in Washington also reflects hypocrisy. The only thing that Nelson Mandela had in common with Barack Obama was the color of his skin. Other than that, along with Tony Blair and David Cameron, Obama is a moral dwarf compared to a man who endured untold privation and hardship during the struggle against apartheid, especially as Obama is the CEO of an empire the barbarity and violence of which is unparalleled in human history.
The current US President's visit to Robben Island earlier this year came at a time when prisoners incarcerated at Guantanamo were engaged in a hunger strike, demanding an end to the harsh conditions they are subjected to. The fact that Guantanamo still exists at all as an offshore US penal establishment, where hundreds of prisoners are being held in a state of legal limbo, is an indictment of Obama's presidency. Worse is the drone war he has waged throughout the Global South, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including women and children.
US President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama walk through a prison yard as they tour Robben Island where South-African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, was once jailed, on June 30, 2013. (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
But even for the rest of us, the danger of misinterpreting Nelson Mandela's legacy is clear. Regarding him solely as the benign and universally loved elder statesman that he certainly became in his later years would be a travesty. When engaged in the struggle for the freedom of his people, Nelson Mandela was a lion who refused to countenance any compromise when it came resisting the evil of apartheid. As a consequence he was widely reviled by many of those who are now seeking to outdo each other in eulogizing the man upon his death.
In the UK, Thatcher and the Tories regarded Nelson Mandela as a terrorist, while the current Prime Minister, David Cameron in 1989 accepted an all-expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa while Mandela was still in prison, funded by a firm that was lobbying against the trade and economic sanctions that played a key role in finally bringing apartheid to an end one year later. Cameron's visit was manna from heaven for an apartheid regime desperately seeking allies around the world at the very point when its legitimacy was crumbling.
While we're at it, it would be immoral to airbrush from history the peoples and nations that stood with Mandela and the ANC when their struggle wasn't the cause celebre it later became in the West. Prime among those is Fidel Castro, the first leader Mandela visited after being released from prison in 1990. Cuba's role in defeating the South African apartheid forces in Africa in the late 1980s Mandela always acknowledged as a seminal moment in the destroying the myth of white superiority.