There are many words for what Israel and the world are doing to Gaza: strangulation, starvation, privation, blockade, siege. But only a few people are calling this what it is rapidly becoming: a crime, perhaps a crime against humanity (see link below):
The situation [in Gaza] from the continued closure of the main commercial crossing in and out at Karni has gotten so bad that on Monday, the United Nations agency that cares for the majority of Gazans — refugees and their descendants — announced a halt to all its building projects there because it has run out of construction supplies, like cement.
The halt will affect about $93 million of projects employing 121,000 people, including schools, water works, health centers and sewage-treatment plants, said the agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA.
Agency officials say they are rapidly running down their reserves of food and other supplies…
Gaza factories and businesses, already hit hard by intra-Palestinian violence, are running out of materials they need to operate — and to provide jobs. A report last week by Gisha — the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli advocacy group — said that up to 75 percent of the 3,900 factories operating in Gaza on the eve of Karni’s closure have had to cease production, according to the Palestinian Federation of Industry.
Unable to import raw materials or export finished products, the factories are closing, forcing as many as 30,000 more families to rely on aid to survive.
Yes, I know there is a political strategy allegedly behind this siege. The goal is to bring Gaza to its knees and so make Hamas look like a failure in the eyes of the people. The only problem, as many observers have pointed out is that the worse conditions become the stronger Hamas becomes and the weaker Fatah becomes. Hamas is seen as much as a victim as the people themselves. So the Gaza blockade isn’t working. And the longer it continues the louder must be the cry that this is a criminal enterprise. Starving 1.5 million people by tightening the noose a little tighter every day is not a strategy–it is slow murder.
We can talk till the cows come home about how evil Hamas is and you won’t get a huge argument from me. But destroying the lives of every Gazan doesn’t have much to do with Hamas at all. It is collective punishment of the worst sort.
Today’s NY Times deals with this issue and points out the delusion of Israeli policymakers:
There are people in Israel who oppose reopening Karni [one of the main crossings into Gaza], says Shlomo Dror, spokesman for the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories, the Israeli military agency that deals with Palestinian civil affairs. “We are now discussing what constitutes humanitarian assistance,” he says. “Some people feel we should be allowing in water, electricity, and that’s it.”
Why certainly. Let ’em drink water and shoot electricity into their veins. That should sustain them. For the life of me, after Jews endured the terrible siege of the Warsaw ghetto ending with thousands of their brethren starved, murdered or sent to gas chambers, how can we perpetrate this type of siege on Gaza? No, I’m not saying Israelis are Nazis. Far from it. But how in heaven’s name can Israel lay siege to so many innocent Palestinians who made the mistake of living in the wrong place, ruled by the wrong party?
Let’s be clear that it is not only Israel and the U.S. who are responsible for this travesty. Abbas’ Fatah and the EU seem happy to let Hamas and the Gazans stew in their own watery juices for the time being. But the world must know that this is simply unacceptable. It must come to realize that this “policy” is an abject failure. The world must do something. It must make an about-face from slow strangulation and accept that Hamas runs Gaza for now and deal with it and them. Otherwise, the alternative is privation beyond measure. How can the world stand back and preside over that?