"Gaza plunged into darkness"-- last night's headline read on the BBC website.
Doctors in Gaza are being forced to choose between heating the maternity- or the emergency wards in hospitals. The Israeli government yesterday maintained that the humanitarian catastrophe was "exaggerated... because they have an interest in exaggerating" and a "ploy to attract international sympathy." After five people allegedly died in hospital wards from the shut down of Gaza's power plant, Olmert proclaimed that the Strip's residents "can walk" and added, "We won't allow the Palestinians to fire on us and destroy life in Sderot, while in Gaza life is going on as usual." 'As usual' in the relative sense, I'm sure. Because life is usually a fucking tea party in Gaza.
In Beirut we usually have 3 hours of electricity black-outs, which is totally manageable. Today I went downstairs to use my neighbor L.'s washing machine. We loaded the laundry, filled the detergent drawer and pushed the 'on' button. "It'll turn itself on when the electricity returns," L. said pragmatically. Then we went to make breakfast and coffee in the kitchen. When L. lit the stove top, the flame flickered and extinguished. No gas left in the tank. So instead I took the pan with the raw omelette upstairs, made coffee and breakfast on our camping stove, and brought it back down to her house. On the stairs I passed our neighbor M. He laughed when he saw me carrying a pan and a steaming pot of coffee. Even with neighbors like L., in Gaza there's not much you can do under a total blockade.