The Red Cross today issued a report on the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, declaring that it had left the tiny enclave’s 1.5 million residents in despair, and that import procedures were keeping even basic medical items like painkillers and X-ray film developers from entering the strip.
The strip has been blockaded for years, and the massive damage caused by the Israeli air campaign against the strip and the subsequent military invasion in January have left the most heavily hit regions looking “like the epicenter of a massive earthquake,” according to the report. The Israeli government has refused to allow cement or other building materials in to repair the damage.
The United Nations has also been investigating reports of war crimes in the Israeli invasion, and today child psychologist Dr. Iyad Sarraj reported that about 20 percent of Gaza’s children suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the violence they witnessed during the onslaught.
An aid ship left Cyprus today to challenge the ongoing naval blockade of the strip. Several ships have successfully managed to dodge threats from the Israeli Navy and reach the strip in past years, but in late December an Israeli patrol boat attacked an aid ship, heavily damaging and nearly sinking the vessel. Today’s ship appears to be the first attempt to reach Gaza since that incident.