Gaza Update: Some Foreign Nationals Allowed to Flee, Leaving Family Behind
On Friday, Israel allowed a few hundred Gaza residents who hold foreign passports to leave the Gaza Strip. They brought with them reports of the conditions currently faced by those left behind:
The evacuees told of crippling shortages of water, electricity and medicine, echoing a U.N. warning of a deepening humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip in the seven-day-old Israeli campaign.
The U.N. estimates at least a quarter of the 400 Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes on Hamas militants were civilians.
Jawaher Hajji, a 14-year-old U.S. citizen who was allowed to cross into Israel, said her uncle was one of them -- killed while trying to pick up some medicine for her cancer-stricken father. She said her father later died of his illness.
"They are supposed to destroy just the Hamas, but people in their homes are dying too," Hajji, who has relatives in Virginia, said at the Erez border crossing between Gaza and Israel.
The women, dragging confused, frightened children, had to leave behind Palestinian husbands and fathers denied permission to leave by Israel. Anastasia Gabir, 33, a pregnant mother wearing an Islamic head scarf and towing a small daughter, said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has been horribly hard the past week. They bombed near our house, hitting another house and a police station. The kids were very scared.Ã¢â‚¬Â Her daughter screamed as an Israeli artillery unit fired a salvo of shells into Gaza.
Karolina Katba, 15, was leaving with her mother and sister to stay with relatives in Volgograd. She was worried about her father, a Palestinian pharmacist in Gaza City. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I didn't say goodbye to him because I was crying too much,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said.
As of midnight PST, 425 Palestinians had been killed, and approximately 2,000 wounded.
One missile killed three Palestinian children aged between eight and 12 as they played on a street near the town of Khan Yunis. One was decapitated.
Madth Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor at Gaza's Shifa hospital who could not save a boy who had both feet blown off said: "This is a murder. This is a child."
Israel continues to block access to Gaza by international journalists. Perhaps Israel is afraid that if they actually saw and reported on conditions in Gaza, their reports might be similar to those of Amira Haas from Ha'aretz. Greg Mitchell at Editor and Publisher points to one of her recent columns: