Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Gaza: A People under Siege

The Israeli blockade of Gaza Strip, now in its third year, has shown the extremely deep seated hypocrisy in what is put forth as pristine, faultless, superior “western values.” Westerners have been inoculated against any sympathy for the victims by the skillful portrayal in the western corporate media of them as perpetrators and mad suicide bombers, instead of people in the midst of a serious crisis of human dignity and people fighting for the right to live on their own land. Rather than feeling sympathy, the westerner at best has been taught that “both sides are at fault” and that people should “stop killing each other.”

Meanwhile Israel…exploding beyond its agreed upon borders, holds the power of life and death over all of them. They have the bombs, the jets, the armored vehicles and all the latest technology at their disposal. What do Palestinians have? Primitive rockets at best and more often than not, just stones.

The population of Gaza has been forced to live with the steady degradation of the conditions of everyday life, caused by the erosion of the means of subsistence and by the gradual evaporation of the infrastructure. Vital services in the areas of the health, water, sanitation and education have been seriously eroded. Many are unable to go to their jobs, as nearly 120,000 Palestinians have lost their means to support their families. Water is a serious problem, as only 15% is allocated for the use of Palestinians while the Jewish residents around the block fill their swimming pools.

This blockade and the subsequent genocidal attack were the result of Hamas acquiring the majority of votes in the 2007 election. Since then, funds have been cut off, humanitarian workers have faced imprisonment and intervention against their efforts. While pretending to believe in free elections, the west has soundly condemned and refused to accept the collective will of the Palestinian people. In other words, vote for whom you are told or you will be starved, bombed, forced to live like animals, have your electric power cut off until you decide you’ve suffered enough. To remind, collective punishment is a war crime!

Haughtily, Israel and western leaders proclaim they will not speak to Hamas. Why? Because they are to be compelled to accept things as they are. They must declare Israel’s right to exist, right along with Israel’s denial of the Palestinian right to exist.

Worst of all was the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, using cluster bombs and white phosphorous bombs, burning and maiming countless children. But hey! Today a child, tomorrow a terrorist, right? On more than one occasion, Israeli authorities have declared that civilians are legitimate targets. The Yesha Rabbinical Council announced in response to an IDF attack in Kfar Qanna in Lebanon that "according to Jewish law, during a time of battle and war, there is no such term as 'innocents' of the enemy. All of the discussions on Christian morality are weakening the spirit of the army and the nation and are costing us in the blood of our soldiers and civilians," the statement said. (Efrat Weiss) I hate to report that one photograph of a little girl’s severed head may be just a bit much for general viewing.

Israel also deployed a terrifying new tactic against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by letting loose deafening "sound bombs" that cause widespread fear, induce miscarriages and traumatise children. Military air force jets create dozens of sonic booms by breaking the sound barrier at low altitude, sending shockwaves across the territory, often at night. Palestinians liken the sound to an earthquake or huge bomb. They describe the effect as being hit by a wall of air that is painful on the ears, sometimes causing nosebleeds and "leaving you shaking inside". The Palestinian health ministry says the sonic booms have led to miscarriages and heart problems. The United Nations has demanded an end to the tactic, saying it causes panic attacks in children. The shockwaves have also damaged buildings by cracking walls and smashing thousands of windows.

Additionally, as though this genocidal campaign against Palestinians weren’t enough, 1,500 Palestinian sick captives are threatened with death in Israeli jails due to deliberate medical neglect. A recent report said that 47 prisoners died in Israeli occupation authority (IOA) jails due to such intentional medical neglect while 70 were tortured to death in IOA dungeons and 73 were executed in cold blood. Jails are void of specialized medical teams and some of them do not have a doctor at all or at best a doctor would be present for only two hours.

In conclusion, "Israel" means the original boundaries drawn up by the United Nations. Until Israel respects the norms of international law, it cannot claim full rights as a member of the international community. The international community must demand that Israel live within its originally drawn up borders and abide by all agreements, including the right of return. Israel must leave the lands it occupies illegally.

They have certainly proven themselves to be worse than Nazis during this illegal occupation. These people who have lived on this land for generations are under siege. Where is the outrage? Where are the sanctions? Where are the condemnations? Where are people’s consciences?

Lisa KARPOVA

PRAVDA.Ru

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