Israel’s intention to resort to collective punitive measures against all Gaza residents was made clear when it labeled Gaza an “enemy entity” in September 2007 and henceforth increased its economic sanctions towards the territory, by reducing fuel supplies, food and medical supplies, and preventing patients in need of medical treatment from traveling outside of Gaza.
Not a day passes without someone twisting the facts to fit the NaZionist Israeli agenda. These are the same people who claim to be open minded, intelligent or have some knowledge of the history of the Middle East. Interestingly, some Israelis have proven to be more open minded in telling the truth (see, for example, Burning Conscience: Israeli Soldiers Speak Out). See also New Heights of Racism as reported by Haaretz than these people.
And then some dare claim that I am biased! Biased? How? They don’t dare say. They’re just being emotional. Period.
For if they bothered to read and remove the cobwebs from their sleepy eyes, they would have noticed that almost every article or story on my blog is linked to its origin: The Economist, NY Times, Haaretz, Guardian, The Independent, etc.
My favorite was what someone wrote about me: “..instead of hosting a web site that whines about Israel and the U.S. ” Pardon me? I’m more Red, White and Blue than many! And as an American, my loyalty should be to MY country before it is to some foreign country sucking my country’s blood dry through the $4 billion a year in aid. And for what? To arm itself with our latest technology and to use against a people whose weapons are stones and home-made rockets?
Numbers don’t lie
“The majority of these [Palestinian] children were killed and injured while going about normal daily activities, such as going to school, playing, shopping, or simply being in their homes. Sixty-four percent of children killed during the first six months of 2003 died as a result of Israeli air and ground attacks, or from indiscriminate fire from Israeli soldiers.”
Gaza, the summary:
The Israeli occupation forces completed their unilateral ‘disengagement’ of Israeli settlers and military personnel from the Gaza Strip on 12 September 2005. Despite the disengagement, Israel has maintained effective control over the territory. The existence of ‘effective control’ is the test under Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Convention IV respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land regulating when an occupation ends. That is, if the occupying power maintains effective control over the occupied territory, the territory remains occupied. In Gaza , the nature of the occupation has changed but the occupation itself has not.
The Israeli actions in Gaza demonstrate a consistent Israeli policy to employ methods of war which cause unnecessary suffering to Palestinian civilians–-even in the ‘disengaged’ Gaza Strip.
Israeli-imposed border closures for goods and people in Gaza were stepped up following the Hamas victory in the democratic national elections held on 25 January 2006 in breach of the terms of the Israeli/PNA border crossing agreement of 15 November 2005. In addition to the withholding of essential medical supplies, basic food items and access to medical facilities located outside of Gaza through the institution of border closures, Israel has withheld tax clearances from the PNA which provide a key source of funding for the PNA budget. This combined with the freezing of foreign development aid to the PNA by donor nations has lead to a financial catastrophe amounting to the imposition of collective punishment on the 25% of the population of the OPT who are reliant upon PNA salaries as well as a rest of the population through a ripple effect on the economy. These events are the prelude to the sharp deterioration in the situation of the people of Gaza which began on 25 June 2006.
This whole war is for a reason other than the rocket attacks by Palestinians on Settlements that are built on stolen lands. During the pre-dawn hours of 25 June, a raid was launched by three Palestinian resistance groups, Ezzedine al-Qassam (military wing of Hamas), the Popular Resistance Committees and the Army of Islam, against an Israeli army post near the Karem Shalom crossing point on the Gaza-Israel-Egypt border. An Israeli tank was attacked with grenades resulting in the death of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of one, in addition to the death of two Palestinian combatants. Israel immediately began to mass troops on Gaza ‘s southern border close to where it was presumed the captured soldier was being held and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned of a possible large scale military operation.
In other words: it was about the captured Israeli soldier.
On 28 June 2006, the deadline the Israeli government set for the return of the captured soldier came and went and Israeli military ground operations began in southern Gaza . Israeli air-strikes destroyed the only domestic power plant in the Gaza Strip which provided 43% of the region’s daily electricity supply. Other vital civilian infrastructure was targeted, such as the Wadi Gaza Bridge , the destruction of which divided Gaza into two from north to south. Meanwhile, ground troops fired heavy artillery into the Rafah area of southern Gaza . The Israeli troops demanded that the inhabitants of this area evacuate the immediate vicinity.
On 3 July 2006 the deadline set by the Palestinian resistance groups holding the Israeli soldier for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza passed unheeded by Prime Minister Olmert. He issued orders for the offensive of Gaza to continue. Following the order, Israeli troops invaded northern Gaza in the areas of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya. Agricultural lands were bulldozed, houses were invaded and more civilian infrastructure destroyed. Northern Gaza has been singled out by Israel as one of the key areas from which Palestinian militants have been firing home made rockets, and the Israeli Security Cabinet gave orders to create a buffer zone in the area, in an attempt to secure Israeli border communities from the missile strikes.
Having amassed scores of tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) into the northern area, the Israeli army on 5 July 2006 implemented a siege of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun, separating the two towns from Gaza City .
On the 6 July 2006, the largest offensive yet in the crisis took place across the Strip but with Israeli forces focusing their efforts again on northern Gaza districts. For 48 hours, Palestinian residents huddled in their houses as Israeli tanks and soldiers engaged in street-to-street fighting with Palestinian militants. Twenty-three Palestinians were killed and more than 60 civilians were injured, including many children. One child was among the 10 Palestinians killed as Israeli troops intensified air and ground strikes on 7 July.
This continuous military campaign, which has destroyed vital civilian infrastructure has been accompanied by a deteriorating humanitarian situation for all in the Gaza Strip. Power is intermittent, which has a knock-on effect on families’ ability to store food and secure water for personal hygiene, hospitals, sewage treatment plants and water wells are having to depend heavily on generators for their electricity supply – resulting in a high consumption of fuel, supplies of which are falling.
January 21, 2008;
The Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, announced Monday night that he was lifting some of the restrictions imposed on Gaza and that on Tuesday morning he would allow delivery of a week’s supply of industrial diesel for the local power station, as well as 50 trucks of food and medical supplies. How very generous!
No goods have been allowed in since, and Gaza shut down its only power station on Sunday as the industrial diesel needed to fuel it ran out.
Israel and Egypt continued to provide electricity to Gaza by cable, but the closure of the power station cut the strip’s supply by at least a quarter, or by as much as 43 percent, according to different estimates of the area’s needs. By Monday night, parts of Gaza City, where about a third of Gaza’s 1.5 million people reside, had been totally blacked out for 24 hours.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides assistance to Palestinian refugees and their descendants, announced on Monday that it would have to suspend its food aid to 860,000 Gaza residents by Wednesday or Thursday if the crossings were not reopened, because it was running out of the nylon bags it uses to measure out and distribute staples like flour. The agency had enough fuel to run its vehicles for only two or three more days, said a spokesman, Christopher Gunness.
“We had to give away about half of our reserves today, for hospital generators and the like,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry also said that “the measures taken amount to collective punishment of the entire civilian population,” and Britain’s foreign secretary, David Miliband, and international development secretary, Douglas Alexander, issued a joint statement saying that “Israeli security and justice for Palestinians will not be achieved by cutting off fuel or by firing rockets.”
Let them Walk (does this remind you of Let them Eat Cake?)
“As far as I’m concerned, the residents of Gaza can walk if they don’t have petrol for their cars..” Olmert
Israel said it would allow in some diesel for generators, assuming it would be sent to the hospitals, and cooking gas, but was still not planning to allow the resumption of deliveries of gasoline for private cars. At a meeting with members of his Kadima party on Monday, Mr. Olmert said, “As far as I’m concerned, the residents of Gaza can walk if they don’t have petrol for their cars, because they have a murderous terrorist regime that won’t let people in the south of Israel live in safety.”
Defence Minister Ehud Barak late today authorised Gaza to be re-supplied with fuel and medicine after a review of the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territory, Israeli media reported. Public radio said Barak decided to allow fuel deliveries for the reopening of the Gaza Strip’s sole electricity plant which supplies 30 pct of its needs.
Those who have been blaming the Palestinians with staging a show for the world or claiming that it was the Palestinians who caused the crisis, can now eat their words.
Elsewhere in Palestine
The Palestinian Authority is studying the possibility of suspending talks with Israel in light of the latest Israeli military escalation in the Gaza Strip and settlement expansion in and around East Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official said Monday. M&C News
- International Herald Tribune. Li, Darryl., and Lattig, Lance. Disengagement Will Change Little for Gaza . 2 November 2004. Reproduced on Human Rights Watch website: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/11/02/isrlpa9587.htm
- UN OCHA. Rise in Civilian Killings in the Gaza Strip. 21 June 2006
- UN OCHA. Situation Report: Escalation in Conflict in the Gaza Strip. 27 June 2006
- UN OCHA. Assessment of the Future Humanitarian Risks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory . 19 April 2006