The Forgotten Gazans

A map of the Gaza Strip

Gaza, land of the oppressed

Business and construction in the Gaza Strip remain stifled half a year after Israel announced it would ease its three-year-old blockade of the needy, war-ravaged Palestinian territory, a report by several aid groups said Tuesday.  The groups accused Israel of ducking promises to ease the blockade’s effects on civilians, a pledge it made under pressure after a deadly Israeli commando raid in May on an international flotilla protesting the restrictions. The report said Israel is allowing in more food and some building materials but is dragging its feet on major construction projects.  “We aren’t seeing an easing of the blockade compared to Israel’s declared aims,” said Karl Schembri of Oxfam, among the 21 groups behind the report. Others included Amnesty International and Save the Children.  “It’s not having any impact,” he said.

The aim of the policy seems clear enough- choke Gaza (and Gazans) to death.  It’s working.  Meanwhile the world turns a blind eye and a dear ear.  Israel must be placated, especially by American politicians.  Even if an entire region is suffering inexpressible hardship.

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One thought on “The Forgotten Gazans

  1. Joseph I. Lauer 30 Nov 2010 at 10:49 am

    You did not mention that the Associated Press article also states that “Israel and Egypt have blockaded Gaza since the Islamic militant Hamas group seized power there in June 2007.”
    Where is the outcry against Egypt?
    If you had been watching reports of activities in Gaza you would know that it is not true that there is a policy to “choke Gaza (and Gazans) to death”; that, in fact, they are not being choked to death; and that if their health and welfare are being compromised it is not by Israel but by Hamas itself.
    Finally, as The Jerusalem Post notes, the Israel “Gov’t responds: The claims of the organizations, as they appear in the report, are biased and distorted and therefore mislead the public.” See http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=197300
    The Jerusalem Post article states that “The Coordinator of Activities in the Territories submitted the following response to the charges in the report:”
    “We regret the manner by which the organizations have chosen to present their claims through the media, without providing Israel with the opportunity to respond to the report.
    “The claims of the organizations, as they appear in the report, are biased and distorted and therefore mislead the public. The changes in the civilian situation in the Gaza Strip are clearly described in reports carried out by international organizations, for example, the World Monetary Fund, the Summary of the AHLC Conference, and during official visits to Israel by figures such as Special Envoy to the Middle East, Senator George Mitchell, Envoy to the Quartet, Sir Tony Blair, and High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the European Union, Katherine Ashton.
    “Israel is fully committed to implement civilian policy toward the Gaza strip as decided by Israeli Cabinet decision on June 2010. The implementation will continue to carry out with the coordination and cooperation with the international community and the involvement of the P.A.
    “Israel will not allow any hidden agenda party to disrupt the process to which both the government of Israel and the international community are fully committed.
    “Despite the descriptions in the report It is important to highlight that since the Cabinet’s decision, the number of truckloads entering the Gaza Strip every day via the Kerem Shalom Crossing has increased by 92%. Despite the fact that Israel has increased the capacity so that 250 trucks could enter Gaza every day, the Palestinians themselves have not reached this capacity. From the beginning of August 2010, the average number of truckloads entering Gaza each day stands at 176.
    “In response to the claims regarding export, it is important to highlight that export from the Gaza Strip is intrinsically connected to security and logistical concerns at the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Israel has therefore started a process of infrastructure renovation and development with the aim of widening the capacity of the crossing. This process should be finished by the middle of 2011.
    “Regarding the claims about the prevention of building material from entering the Gaza Strip, it is important to note that in accordance with the Security Cabinet decision, building material for specified projects that were approved by the PA, can enter under the supervision of the international community. The simple reason for this is to prevent the trickling of material into the Gaza Strip that can be used by terror organizations for hostile activities or other military purposes.
    “Since the Cabinet decision Israel approve 64 new projects, that’s in addition to 14 that were approved prior to June 2010, 26 of them were approved for UNRWA. 1,052 truckloads of building material have entered Gaza.”

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