Desperation in Gaza

The top story on the BBC right now is about an impending food shortage in the Gaza Strip, which has been coping with an Israeli-imposed border closure since Friday. Al Jazeera, in its headline story, reports that hospitals have been hard-hit by the blockade and that sewer systems and water systems will have to shut down soon. The BBC quotes EU officials calling Israel's actions "collective punishment," and organizations like Oxfam, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency are warning of serious consequences to public health.

So what does the New York Times have to say about the situation? Their article on the Gaza fuel shortages is the sixth international story listed, not even making the front page of their Web site. (Interestingly, the top story from the Middle East today is about Israel deciding to promote electric cars.) The story appears not to have been updated today, reporting that the "temporary" closure has caused a fuel shortage, which will "affect" hospitals, water and sewage treatment facilities. Israeli officials are quoted saying there is no crisis and that the power plant was shut down basically to get attention. The Times has not mentioned that the UN may have to halt food distribution, nor has it reported on the international criticism of the blockade. The voices of international humanitarian organizations, who seem to be unanimously concerned for the fate of Gaza's 1.5 million residents, are conspicuously absent from their coverage.


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