on the gaza siege and double standards (again)

gaza-2anyone wanting to understand the inherent lack of logic, the inherent lack of humanity among zionists, the inherent distortion of history and of the present realities in gaza you must watch the brilliance of rania and caoimhe on press tv yesterday.

the siege on gaza continues unabated in spite of outrage expressed by journalists and humanitarian organizations:

Israel said on Friday it will maintain its closure of the Gaza Strip despite international concern over a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the aid-dependent Palestinian territory.

“This decision was taken because of the continuation of Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israel,” said Peter Lerner, a defence ministry spokesman.

A rocket fired from Gaza exploded near the port city of Ashkelon early on Friday without causing casualties or damage, army radio said.

A flare-up of violence on November 4 prompted Israel to tighten a blockade it has imposed since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in Gaza in June last year.

Since the recent surge in violence, only 33 truckloads of basic supplies and limited quantities of fuel have been allowed into the impoverished coastal strip.

The UN Relief and Works Agency, which distributes rations to half of Gaza’s 1.5-million population, said it had food stocks for “days not weeks.”

“In the coming days we expect some food items to run out,” spokesman Chris Gunness told AFP.

The Israeli blockade has already forced UNRWA to suspend its food deliveries once last week. It suspended the distribution of rations last Friday before resuming on Tuesday after some supplies were allowed in the previous day.

hospitals are unable to care for its patients as a result of this siege, which is in turn exacerbating the more humanitarian crisis as rami almaghari reports:

Dr. Zaki Azzaq Zouq, an oncologist, explained, “There is a widespread shortage of essential medicines which we used to give to patients prior to the blockade. Currently, there are no tools for physicians to treat patients who suffer from lung, stomach, colon or brain cancers.”

The situation is just as dire in Gaza’s other hospitals. Unable to get life-saving treatments close to home, Israel also prevents patients from Gaza leaving the tiny coastal territory to receive medical care. Nael Alfaqawi, 28, has kidney problems, but was denied entry to Israel so he could seek treatment abroad. Instead, he is now being treated at the Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza.

Mr. Alfaqawi said, “When I wanted to travel out of Gaza for treatment, the [Israeli] intelligence personnel asked me to collaborate with them, but I refused. They said, either you collaborate with us or you go back to Gaza. Of course, I refused to comply with them, saying I’m going to die sooner or later, so I returned home.”

meanwhile, unrwa expresses concerns about their inability to care for the palestinian refugees in gaza, though as rania points out in the press tv interview i linked to above, why are they merely protesting rhetorically? why don’t they use their boats to break the siege as caoimhe did?:

Karen AbuZayd, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said the human toll of this month’s sealing of Gaza’s goods crossings was the gravest since the early days of a Palestinian uprising eight years ago.

“It’s been closed for so much longer than ever before… and we have nothing in our warehouses… It will be a catastrophe if this persists, a disaster,” said AbuZayd, whose agency is the largest aid body providing services to Palestinian refugees.

Israel closed the crossings after Palestinian militants responded with daily rocket salvoes to an Israeli army incursion on Nov. 4 into the Hamas-run territory, where a five-month-old, Egyptian-brokered ceasefire had largely been holding.

At present, UNRWA provides rations for 820,000 people classed as refugees and the United Nations’ World Food Program aids a further 200,000 people, AbuZayd told Reuters in Amman.

“They often bring us to the brink but they never have let us really be frightened about whether we are going to have food tomorrow or not,” AbuZayd said.

it is not just the united nations or muslim charities who are outraged. it appears that christian aid is also now speaking out about the crisis:

Israel is collectively punishing innocent civilians by withholding and controlling food and medicine to Gaza, says Christian Aid.

“With the recent upsurge in violence it is Palestinian and Israeli civilians who will pay the price of failure and silence, and lose hope itself”, says William Bell, middle-eastern advocacy officer at Christian Aid.

Despite repeated calls from the international community, Gaza remains closed to food and medicine. For almost one and a half years, 1.5 million Palestinians have endured collective punishment as a result of Israel’s tight closure of Gaza.

In recent weeks the situation has once again deteriorated further with a resurgence of violence.

those who dare to travel to gaza, to witness the siege, to accompany fishermen who are trying to feed their families and their communities are silenced by military attacks from the israeli terrorist forces (itf) as well as kidnappings by the itf as eva bartlett reports:

In the early hours of Wednesday, 19 November, all 15 arrested fishermen were released to the Erez crossing into Gaza. Their boats, along with the three internationals, are still being held by Israeli authorities. Nidal, a 23 year old father of one child, was among the arrested fishermen.

“We were just over seven miles out off the shore from Deir al-Balah and we saw two Israeli gunboats approach our fishing vessel. Five smaller boats surrounded Abed Almoati al-Habeel’s boat,” the boat that Scottish volunteer Andrew Muncie (34) was on, Nidal explained. “We began quickly pulling our nets in,” he continued. “When they had arrested people on that boat, one of the gunboats came and ordered us to turn our motor off. They ordered us to come to the front of our boat, threatening to shoot to kill.”

Italian volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni (“Vik”) (33) on the 2nd boat to be surrounded, continued filming as Israeli soldiers boarded the boat. Colleague Darlene Wallach (57) was on the third boat and related via phone what happened next. “They used a taser on Vik while he was still on the boat, then tried to push him backwards onto a sharp piece of wood. He jumped into the sea to avoid being hurt more than he already was, and was in the water for quite a while,” Nidal said.

“Almost 20 soldiers had boarded the boat, pointing their guns in our faces and ordering us not to move. They left the captain, Mohammed, on the boat and forced us off and onto the smaller boat, which transferred us to the larger gunship.”

Mohammed confirmed this account, adding, “This was the first time we weren’t forced to strip and jump into the water.” Three soldiers remained on Mohammed’s boat and, after the operation was repeated on the third boat, ordered Mohammed to head towards Ashdod, the first Israeli port, along with the other two fishing vessels.

Wallach by phone said this of her arrest: “I was told ‘You are in Israeli territory.’ even though it was obvious that all three boats were in Palestinian territory,” she said. “They kidnapped me and Andrew and Vik, and all of the Palestinian fishermen.”

Later, at the Ashdod port, during their interrogation, the fishermen were questioned specifically on the international observers. “Why did you have internationals on your boat?” they were asked. “Who is responsible for sending the internationals? Who pays them? Where do they live? Do you get a good catch when the internationals are on board?” the questioning continued, with a very specific and evident interest, including a non-veiled threat: “You think that you have protection because you have internationals on your boat? Let’s see what these international can do for you now,” one fisherman said soldiers threatened.

After their half-day detention, the fishermen were released without any charges, although their boats remain confiscated.

Abu Rami feels the kidnapping of the 15 fishermen and three international observers was a clear message: “It’s a message to internationals in Gaza to not accompany fishermen. It’s also a message to fishermen not to go far out in our own waters, although we need to because that is where the fish are.”

the zionist war crimes continue. sixty years and counting. when will the soft whispers of protest cease and real action emerge on the part of the united nations and state actors?

a dear friend of mine in beirut often jokes that there should be a mass jewish conversion movement among palestinians. she argues that this way they’d be granted equal rights in the jewish state. refugees would be allowed to return under the racist “law of return.” i wonder. but one thing i don’t wonder about is the fact that if the tables were turned–if it was a jewish town that had been imprisoned, held under siege for three years, with constant military bombardment, on the brink of starvation by palestinians as rania argues in the press tv interview the world would not just express outrage. it would act. this is the double standard of human rights and the hypocrisy of the international community.

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