Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: IRIN
31 December 2012




MIDDLE EAST: 2012 - a year of continuing turmoil



/...


DUBAI, 31 December 2012 (IRIN) - The Middle East continued to boil in Year 2 of what was once an Arab “Spring” with the ever-worsening conflict in Syria, toxic spillover into Lebanon, deadly clashes in Egypt, proliferation of weapons in Libya, assassinations and bomb blasts in Yemen, emboldened insurgents in Iraq and continued protests in Jordan.

While much of the world has been consumed by quickly changing political and security developments in the region, longer-term humanitarian issues have also been simmering under the surface - and sometimes in plain - but neglected - view.

Here are 10 of the main issues IRIN highlighted this year:


/...


Never-ending challenges for Palestinians: Changes in Egyptian politics raised hopes in the Gaza Strip that a five-year blockade by Egypt and Israel would be eased. (New Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement is close to the Islamist rulers of Gaza, Hamas). But significant changes have yet to take effect, with Gazans continuing to depend on underground tunnels to smuggle in supplies. This has left Palestinians continuing to face food insecurity, an aid-dependent economy, and Israeli settlement expansions in the West Bank. This year, Gaza had the added misery of a severe fuel shortage and related energy crisis, with the UN predicting in August that Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2016. It was in this context that in November, Israel launched (with the stated aim of halting rocket-fire from Gaza into Israel) large-scale air attacks which killed dozens of civilians, displaced thousands of others, and left communities on both sides of the border reeling. The legacy of the eight-day military operation is still not clear; at the end of December, Israeli officials said they would start allowing construction materials to enter Gaza daily via the Kerem Shalom crossing. Despite the high needs, aid agencies have traditionally struggled to provide aid amid tight Israeli restrictions; but this year, aid agencies in oPt began resisting the status quo.

/...


ha/cb

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter