Overview- Key Issues
Update on Gaza
Forty Palestinians were killed during May in the Gaza Strip in direct conflict related incidents, compared with 70 in April. The total includes six child fatalities compared to 21 in April. At least one-third of those killed (14) were unarmed civilians. An additional 107 Palestinians were injured in May, among whom 11 were children. Most casualties occurred as a result of Israeli Air Force (IAF) attacks.
Two Israeli civilians were killed and 20 injured, including 16 civilians and four IDF soldiers, by rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
Impact of fuel crisis
During May, fuel supplies (including benzene, diesel and industrial gasoline) allowed by Israel into the Gaza Strip increased by 46% compared to April (from 7.8 million litres in April to 11.4 million litres in May). However, this amount constituted less than half of Gaza’s monthly fuel requirements (about 26 million litres).
As a result, MoH (Ministry of Health) hospitals in the Gaza Strip continued to limit their services: for example, the Gaza European hospital continued to suspend half of its elective surgeries, while four out of 44 MoH ambulances were not operating due to the unavailability of benzene.
(See the Health Section for more details)
The CMWU (Coastal Municipalities Water Utility) received 20,000 litres of diesel in May, which constituted less than one-fifth of its monthly fuel requirement. Consequently none of the three wastewater treatment plants across the Gaza Strip was able to function normally, forcing the Utility to dump about 80,000 cubic metres (m3) of raw and partially treated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea each day. The MoH and WHO collected 30 seawater samples along the Gaza Strip coast, 11 of which were identified as polluted.
(See the Water and Sanitation section for more details)
During May, the number of truckloads allowed into Gaza (1,821) declined by about 9% compared to April 2008, and by 85% compared to May 2007 (12,378 truckloads). Of the 1,821 truckloads, 258 contained humanitarian aid goods. The vast majority of imported commodities in May remained limited to food, hygiene and medical supplies. No exports have been allowed since December 2007.
Rafah Crossing has remained closed since 9 June 2007. Erez Crossing was open on 23 days during May, and was again closed on 22 May when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a truck filled with explosives at the crossing, which caused significant structural damage for the crossing but no casualties were reported. As a result, the crossing was closed for three days, obstructing the movement of humanitarian aid workers and medical cases.
(See the Access section for more details)
Access of Palestinian patients through Erez
During May, 1,089 patients from Gaza applied for permits to cross Erez Crossing for treatment in specialised health services in the West Bank (including E. Jerusalem), Israel, Egypt and Jordan. Of the total number, 570 patients (or 52%) were granted permits, 517 of whom had actually crossed.
(For more details, please go to the Access section)