No excuse for it
Israel tries to starve out Palestinians
Published Apr 27, 2006 9:34 AM
The Tel Aviv government says that, because
Hamas has a majority in the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel has no choice but
to “act unilaterally” and can “have nothing to do” with
the PA. Don’t be fooled. The Hamas electoral sweep is not the reason for
the latest Israeli belligerence toward the Palestinian people. It is just the
“Unilateral actions” by Israel against the
Palestinian people are not new. These actions began a decade ago and intensified
when the Palestinian Intifada began in 2000. What Israel calls “unilateral
actions” are acts of war. This war against the Pales tinian people has
continued, no matter which group had a majority in the Palestinian Authority or
who led the PA.
Israel’s latest cries of outrage concern the
refusal of many in the PA to condemn an April 17 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv
claimed by the Islamic Jihad. In a twist of logic, Israel says it is holding the
PA responsible for the bombing, even though Islamic Jihad is not part of the
Palestinian government. Atef Adwan, a Hamas minister in the PA’s cabinet,
called this a “pretext to act against the Palestinian institutions and act
against the people of Palestine.”
Israel is a settler state, built
on the very bones of Palestinians. Israel has never recognized Palestine’s
right to exist or the Palestinian people’s right to sovereignty and
independence. Yet Israel is refusing to talk to the Hamas-dominated PA because
Hamas does not “recognize Israel’s right to exist.” This too
is a pretext.
Yassir Arafat, who headed the PA until his death in 2004,
signed the Camp David Accords in 1993, recognizing “the right of the state
of Israel to exist” in exchange for Israel recognizing “the
Palestine Liber ation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian
people.” Yet the Israeli government soon refused to talk to Arafat and
actually held him prisoner in his Ramallah headquarters for the last three years
of his life, repeatedly bombing that building.
During that period, Israel
began an unprecedented assault on Palestinian civilians, leaders, businesses and
the PA infrastructure itself, attempting to thwart any and all forms of
Palestinian sovereignty. Between September 2000 and March 2004 alone, economic
losses due to Israeli bombings, border closings, curfews, arbitrary arrests and
delays at the hundreds of Israeli checkpoints forced 69 percent of Palestinian
firms to shut down or reduce production, resulting in a 51 percent reduction in
the GNP. Today, 75 percent of Palestinians live in poverty, trying to survive on
less than $2 a day, according to the Palestine Monitor.
Hamas’s presence in the PA as its excuse, Tel Aviv is refusing to give to
the Palestinian Authority the roughly $50 million Israel collects monthly in
tariffs on goods imported by Palestinians.
The Bush administration and
the European Union are joining this effort to strangle the Palestinian people by
withholding funds that amount to some $600 million a year.
The result is
that the Palestinian Authority cannot pay the salaries of its 164,000
Hamas has called this a “silent genocide against millions
of men, women and children” in the occupied Palestinian territories,
“and a punishment of the Palestinian people for electing Hamas.”
This war on the Palestinians would not be possible without
Washington’s support. While pretending to be “evenhanded,” the
Bush administration bankrolls the killing of Palestinians and the strangling of
their economy by giving Israel $5 billion a year and supplying it with the
latest U.S. weapons.
Despite the latest state terror directed against
them, the people of Palestine remain determined to continue their struggle for
self-determination, sovereignty and independence. Their heroic and difficult
struggle deserves worldwide support. Progressives here can give strategic
assistance to this just fight by demanding that the U.S. stop all aid to Israel.
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