Gaza in dire straits; but so is the rest of Palestine

Palestine Updates 53

Opinion
Gaza in dire straits; but so is the rest of Palestine
There is something contemptuous about the way in which Gazans are being dehumanized today both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel is fanning the flames vigorously of this dehumanization and has an inferred cohort in Ramallah in the character of Mahmoud Abbas.  When one analyses the calamity that Gaza has now become, one wonders how Mahmoud Abbas can starve and traumatize his own people simply because they are governed by a political authority who he abhors.  Abbas, himself, is a President who governs the Palestine Authority with no real mandate. That mandate ran out in 2009.

Hamas, we must recall, won an election in 2006 not really because it had won the ideological battle and established its political agenda as ideal enough for those who voted them to power. People were, by and large; weary with the institutional corruption under Fatah. They invested their new hopes in Hamas.

The Palestinian Civil War between Fatah and Hamas resulted in the split of the Palestinian Authority in 2007. The political will to reconcile has, since then, never been strong enough. It is ten long years as of today. While Fatah and Hamas were in discord, Israel blockaded the Gaza Strip leaving an entire people economically devastated.

An angry people are bound to revolt. Israel fanned the flames of dissatisfaction upto a point when Hamas fought Israel’s military and institutional violence with their own brand of militancy. Being the weaker military side, the three wars that flared up since the blockade began left Gaza further wrecked. The wreckage grows with each passing day.

The African saying “when elephants fight; the grass is trampled over” applies aptly to the situation in Gaza. The people are helpless bystanders seeking relief and release while Hamas-Fatah and Israel bulldoze them. Yet, they will not surrender their dignity. Sadly, they have been reduced to mere political pawns. Two million people have been held hostage for more than a decade. The Fatah-Israel partnership in this blockade is one of criminality.
Gaza is a tiny place with an extremely dense population, mainly refugees, cordoned off by land, air and sea. Little wonder, it is referred to as the largest open-air prison in the world. Abject poverty and deplorable levels of unemployment characterize the people’s condition. Worse, the blockade has tacit western support because they also want Hamas ousted.

In hindsight, many Gazans might just be pondering if voting for Hamas has paid off or not. Wars, blockade, complete separation from the West Bank and international banishment have been inflicted on them, causing extreme human suffering with deadly consequences. Three deadly wars, following close on the heels of each other – (2008–09), 2012, and 2014- have significantly worsened conditions for the people.

The recent cutting of power supply for most of the day has costs on health services, education, the production of desalinated water, the operating of basic electric appliances such as refrigerators, especially in the sweltering summer heat, and economic activity. Israel’s actions are antithetical to international humanitarian law and its own laws.

Yossi Mekelberg, puts it succinctly: “Adding heat to the pressure cooker of Gaza can only lead to an implosion, and unless Israel is interested in another round of hostilities, cutting the electricity supply is bound to be a large misstep”. Hamas’ could tighten its grip on power and grow in popularity. Israel’s top security officials have been warning that the lack of development in Gaza would only lead to more friction and eventually to war and bloodshed. But political absurdity has prevailed and Hamas’ steadfastness with the people will end up leaving it the political victor. The people are more likely the party that stands up to their oppressor.

Draconian measures are not solutions in conflict. Palestinians political groups’ need to stand united against a common political adversary. The less Israel and its western allies are given space to interfere, the better for the future of the Palestinians. In the short term and the long term, the people of Gaza deserve improvement in their daily lives and this can come from dialogue and cooperation. If this fails, they face the risk of nurturing the anger of youth and extremism could follow. Israel is like the ostrich with its head buried in the ground because of fear. But why should anyone fear a just and authentic peace?

Ranjan Solomon
Editor


Israel’s efforts to hide Palestinians from view no longer fool young American Jews
Few books on Palestinian history become bestsellers. But one, titled A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era, managed to rocket to the top of Amazon’s charts this month. Its author, Assaf Voll, an Israeli academic, claims to have reviewed “thousands of sources” to explain “the Palestinian people’s unique contribution to the world and to humanity”.

However, when Amazon realized the entire book’s 130 pages were blank, it hurriedly excised the title from its site. But not before hundreds of customers paid nearly $10 to enjoy the puerile joke. Speaking on Israeli radio, Voll observed: “Someone needs to tell them [the Palestinians] the truth, even if it hurts.” A History of the Palestinian People has famous antecedents. In 1969, Golda Meir, then Israel’s prime minister, declared to the world: “There were no such thing as Palestinians.”
Read more on News Arabia

 

An open letter to Netanyahu: Haven’t fifty years been enough?

 Dr Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Centre for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.

Dear Mr. Netanyahu

Since you celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the victory of the Six Day War, did you ponder what this triumph has done to the Palestinian people and to the moral character of the state of Israel? I am not sure how harshly history will judge you, but one thing is certain—I, like millions of Jews around the world, deeply believe that no prime minister of Israel has done more damage to the country’s future security and wellbeing than you have. The sad irony is that for you, the facts on the ground are freely expugnable in your morally distorted universe.
Read the whole letter on Pakistan today

Israel’s tough travel restrictions amount to “declaration of war against Gaza”
Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip talked to Sputnik Arabic about the deteriorating situation in Gaza after Israel toughened its travel rules for Gazans seeking medical treatment outside the coastal enclave, equating it to a declaration of war against sick Palestinians and calling it a crime against humanity.

“Since the start of the year, Israel has toughened Gaza exit regulations for medical purposes. Since April, it has been practically impossible to leave the enclave. It has already led to the deaths of 11 people,” Ashraf al-Qudra told Sputnik Arabic.

The spokesman for the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip equated it to a declaration of war against sick Palestinians. He urged the lifting of the ban, which clearly violates international laws and could be regarded as a crime against humanity.
Read more on Sputnik News

Unwilling or Unable: Israeli Restrictions on Travel to and from Gaza for Human Rights Workers
Israel is blocking access to and from the Gaza Strip for human rights workers in order to prevent the documentation of abuses, calling into question government claims of reliance on human rights organizations for information in criminal investigations into serious crimes committed by the Israeli Defense Force, a Human Rights Watch report has said.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) 47-page report, documents the country’s systematic ban on human rights workers from traveling to and from Gaza, even when security services make no claims against them as individuals. As a result, HRW said the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor’s office should take note of the restrictions in the context of its ongoing preliminary examination of the Palestine situation.
Read more on Sputnik News

Hebron is the next Israeli-Palestinian fight at UNESCO
From a Palestinian point of view, Hebron’s sanctity to the Jewish people does not negate the Palestinians’ right to promote their political rights and sovereignty over the world heritage site.

                                     

In recent years, every time UNESCO convenes to discuss world heritage sites, Israel-Palestine is in the limelight.  Usually, tensions center around the Old City of Jerusalem, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger in 1982. Recently, however, the Israeli Foreign Ministry began a campaign against the Palestinian nomination of the city of Hebron as a World Heritage Site. Though Hebron is not Jerusalem, Israel’s claims to the place sound pretty much the same: a national and religious connection to the Cave of the Patriarchs which is based on the city’s status as a sacred site from Biblical times. Names such as Abraham and King David — who made Hebron his first capital for seven years before conquering Jerusalem — are proclaimed in connection to the city with requisite pathos.
Read more on 972 mag

Israel’s illegitimate tactics against Palestinian armed resistance vs. legitimate global security concerns

Israel pursues its “security” as a Jewish Zionist entity on all of Mandate Palestine through demonizing Palestinian Arabs, whom it has long subjected to a racist campaign that defines their resistance, both violent and non-violent, as anti-Semitism on the one hand and as terrorism on the other.

Israel paints an ugly picture of Palestinian Arabs, while simultaneously legitimizing vigilante terror by Jews in the West Bank. “The Jews are our misfortune” was the Nazi pronouncement emanating from virulent anti-Semitism that led to disastrous consequences, but the phrase is literally and objectively true in Palestine, where the Zionist Jewish entity is ensconced, actively practicing a brutal settler-colonial regime. Palestinian resistance against Israel is neither driven by anti-Semitism nor by “Islamic” terror.
Read more on counter punch