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Gaza embraces Ramadan amid siege

12 August 2010 13:38

Palestinians across the Gaza Strip observe fasting during the holy month of Ramadan despite the Israeli-imposed blockade and regular Tel Aviv-ordered attacks.

The ninth month of the Islamic calendar began on Wednesday with Muslims obliged to abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk as a means of achieving spiritual elevation and enhancing their self-restraint.

Foodstuff, however, are not affordable for many in the impoverished coastal sliver, which has endured more than three years of the all-out siege.

The enclave currently suffers from a roughly 40 percent rate of unemployment and has barely recovered from the $1.6 billion damage, which bloody Israeli attacks caused to its economy at the turn of 2009.

Marine life and agriculture remain two of the strip’s staple sources of livelihood.

The Israeli navy carries out regular patrols off the shore to prevent the fishermen from sailing deep into the sea, where they can net quality fish. Gaza’s broken waste disposal system has also forced the residents to use the coast as a sewage dump, creating further hindrance.

Earlier this year, Israel reportedly declared 20 percent of the arable lands in Gaza “no-go area.” Israeli forces would keep surveillance of the region and attack any farmer who might approach the “buffer zone.”

“We try to forget our pain and suffering and do our best to live like normal people in other places. We are observing Ramadan amid Israeli strikes and blockade with little or no support from Arabs or the international community,” one Palestinian was quoted by Press TV’s correspondent Ashraf Shannon as saying.

Shortcomings of diesel fuel shuts down the strip’s sole power generator on a regular basis, causing blackouts.

“Our life has become difficult because of power cuts, food and water shortages and unemployment. The international community is saying nothing about our daily hardship and suffering,” said a female local resident.

“Daily power cuts have made the situation unbearable. Power cuts damage our home appliances. Many have become sick because they can not keep food and drink cool.”

In the worst cases, electricity is off for 12 hours, our reporter said.

The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, meanwhile, released 100 prisoners to honor the start of Ramadan.

An unknown number of the inmates were from the rival Fatah party, which leads the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank. The release took effect, despite Hamas’ outrage at PA for plunging Gaza into darkness recently by failing to pay for the fuel supplies for the power plant as the organization is obliged to.

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