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As UN Describes Panic in Gaza, Won't Confirm Internet Cutoff or Ramallah Trip

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 16 -- The day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman declined to tell Inner City Press if Ban had tried to call Mahmood Abbas alongside his calls to Israel's Netanyahu and Egypt's Morsi, he declined to confirm Abbas' statement that Ban will visit Ramallah.

   Meanwhile Inner City Press asked the UN, which has its UNRWA offices in Gaza, about the status of electricity and Internet there. Shortly thereafter, the UN sent Inner City Press the following:

Subject: Your question on humanitarian concerns in Gaza
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has been informed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health that a state of emergency has been declared in all health facilities in the Gaza Strip. While hospitals have so far managed to treat all incoming injuries, the shortage of essential drugs is of major concern, particular if hostilities escalate further.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs describes the humanitarian situation as precarious. There is widespread panic among the population in Gaza, as well as the stockpiling of food and fuel and low levels of drug and medical supplies. All schools are closed, as is the crossing for humanitarian goods. In southern Israel, all schools within a 40 km radius of the border with Gaza are closed and movement is limited.

All parties must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities, in accordance with the principles of distinction and proportionality.

  The radius information is interesting, but it does not address any cut-off of the Internet, or of electricity.

 Click here for Inner City Press' November 14 coverage of Egypt requesting the Security Council meeting before the Palestinian mission did, and the struggle for power and representation.  Here is Palestine's draft resolution to become a non-member State of the UN. Watch this site.

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