Israel wages war on Gaza population
Published Dec 9, 2007 11:02 PM
It is the elephant in the living room that the participants at Annapolis
refused to see. While talking “peace” they have looked away from
the military and economic war waged on the 1.4 million Palestinian people who
live in Gaza.
Gaza is under siege. Israel, with the full backing of the U.S., has blockaded
Gaza for six months. This barren strip of beach, overcrowded with refugees
expelled from their homes in Palestine in 1948, was already the poorest and
most overcrowded part of the occupied territories. Today, the civilian
population is being slowly strangled, in violation of international law and
human decency. Yet it was not a topic on the Annapolis “peace”
At the same time, Israel uses U.S.-supplied weapons to daily bomb Gaza
According to the Nov. 27 British Guardian, after six months of blockade, the
number of Gazans now depending on United Nations food handouts to survive is
1.2 million, or 86 percent of the population. The private sector recently
collapsed due to the blockade, resulting in the loss of 80,000 jobs and an
unemployment rate over 50 percent.
Israel has further reduced gasoline and diesel supplies entering Gaza, so that
every gas station is now closed. This fuel is also used for cooking stoves.
Israel plans to soon begin cutting electricity to Gaza.
Infant mortality in Gaza is now 25 per 1,000 live births, and many expect it to
climb, as Gaza is running low on medicines needed for the vulnerable. A Nov. 27
Guardian article, entitled “Sick are in the frontline as supplies and
hope drain away for isolated Gazans,” quotes the health ministry in Gaza,
which says there are no stocks left of 85 essential medicines, including
chemotherapy drugs, strong antibiotics and several psychiatric drugs. For
another 138 medications, there are stocks only for three months at most.
Supplies of nitrous oxide for surgical anesthesia will run out in two
“Aid officials working in Gaza say the reality of life here is barely
understood abroad. ‘You must be on the ground for days and weeks to begin
to appreciate the full horror of the situation,’ said John Ging, the Gaza
director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which works with Palestinian
refugees. ... ‘By what other definition or name can these sanctions be
described, other than arbitrary collective punishment of a civilian population,
helplessly caught in the middle of a conflict?’
“‘We are on the verge of a real catastrophe,’ added Raji
Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human rights. ‘What is
the meaning of international law? Is it just something for academics to
discuss? This is the law of the jungle.’”
It is up to the mass movement worldwide, and especially in the U.S., to defend
the people of Gaza. Protests and meetings are needed to demand an end to this
brutal blockade and to expose the U.S. role behind it.
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