Gaza update: Teenage fisherman killed and Palestinians injured

On Sunday 25 February a Palestinian teenager, 18-year-old Ismail Saleh Abu Reyala, was killed by Israeli forces while fishing off the coast of northern Gaza. During the incident, two other fishermen were injured and detained.

Since 2000, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has documented 1,283 attacks on Palestinian fishermen, including 1,192 shooting incidents. The Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) highlighted that such attacks “deny fishermen from practicing their fishing work and accessing their livelihood resources”. B’Tselem has stated that blockade and closure and “harassment of fishermen” have been “destroying Gaza’s fishing sector”, with 95 percent of fishermen living below the poverty line.

MAP’s team also reported that 21 Palestinians were injured last Friday during a peaceful protest close to the border with Israel. Protests have occurred every Friday across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) following President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem announcement in December. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has raised concern about “indiscriminate use of excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian civilians”.

Gaza’s humanitarian emergency

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate.

The sustainability of UNRWA services in Gaza, where two-thirds of the population are refugees, is further threatened by the US decision to significantly cut its contributions to the agency. Last week, the head of UNRWA in Gaza warned that it cannot guarantee food distribution beyond the end of June. This week media reports warned of the cancellation of specialised contracts for a number of UNRWA clinics in Gaza and the reduction of the amounts of money allocated to patient health support. Protesting against the US’s cuts, UNRWA’s work was suspended on Tuesday in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

MAP’s team in Gaza reported that staff at Ministry of Health (MoH) hospitals and primary health centres went on strike on Monday to protest against unpaid wages. Cleaning companies servicing MoH hospitals, however, on Sunday suspended their strike over unpaid wages. Previously, hospitals had been relying on volunteers – who were not necessarily trained in infection control – to clean and keep vital units running.

Gaza continues to suffer from severe shortages of fuel. Households are receiving electricity for four hours every 12- 16 hours, making every day acts a struggle for Gaza’s two million residents. Some international support has recently been pledged with Qatar allocating $500k and the UAE $2 million for emergency fuel for MoH hospitals. This fuel is hoped to be delivered in March and is estimated to last for five to six months.

Developing Gaza’s first trauma centre

This week a MAP-supported medical mission was in Gaza to help develop Gaza’s first trauma centre.

The mission comprised of Darren Darby, Associate Director of Nursing at Royal London Children's Hospital at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and Grant O’Keefe, a Trauma and General Surgeon at the University of Washington Medical Centre. Throughout the week they evaluated Al Shifa Hospital’s Emergency Department and helped to plan for the next phase of the MAP-supported project.

Emergency action: Over 2,000 emails sent, help us reach 3,000!

Thank you to everyone who has emailed their MP to express concern about Gaza’s humanitarian emergency. Over 2,000 emails have been sent, which is fantastic. Please help us reach 3,000 emails-continuing to urge the UK government to take action and save lives in Gaza- by sharing MAP’s action with friends and family.

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