Archive for January, 2008

killing gaza

January 15, 2008

what do you say to someone who is living under siege, where 19 can be killed in half a day and it goes unnoticed by the world? what do you say when that person is subject to death, regardless of whether out on the street or inside his home, regardless of whether a civilian, a farmer, a resistance fighter resisting the helicopters, tanks, and resultant shelling of the world’s 4th largest military, one well-funded and backed by the US and the West…?

and how do you comprehend hearing directly from civilians in Gaza that the latest bout of Israeli army shelling and gunfire has killed 19, injured over 40, and yet is being reported –if at all –as an operation against militants, justified by the war on homemade rocket-fire, the war on terror, a lying president’s overtures –make that two…three…and the fact that an Islamic group was elected into power.

I spoke on the phone with my friend, a journalist, who doesn’t know if he will be shelled outside or inside his home, whose daily worries extend past giving a shit about Brittany Spears or Reality tv, extend instead to worrying about a mother who needed surgery for her critical disease…surgery in a prison where most medicines have long since run out, thanks to Israel and the West’s siege on civilians… His worries include that his mother didn’t even have enough blankets to keep warm in a hospital without sufficient power, food, and basic necessities.

aside from his mother, his worries extend to his neighbours, to the entire strip, who will inevitably be injured or killed by indiscriminate Israeli shelling which will be justified as an attack on militants. And even though Israeli human rights groups along with international bodies are condemning each fresh massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, each fresh bulldozing of agricultural land, each fresh demolition of homes, each fresh shelling on fishing boats… even though the condemnation is there, does it matter?  does Israel stop? does any body in power really do anything to hold Israel accountable.

George Bush feigned concern over Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (and East Jerusalem) but said that Gaza was another matter altogether.  Written off.

how does one write off the humans who have less than 8 hours electricity a day, if that, have limited drinking water resources, if at all in some areas, are not permitted to leave their prison for medical care in Egypt, are not permitted to fish in their waters, are not permitted to live with dignity?

what did I say? I’m sorry. It’s wrong. It’s criminal. We care. These atrocities have to end.

what did that do. nothing. I’m sure it gave him no comfort whatsoever, nor did it comfort me.

Dignity Denied

January 3, 2008

An ICRC report 

Throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, in the Gaza Strip as well as in the West Bank, Palestinians continuously face hardship in simply going about their lives; they are prevented from doing what makes up the daily fabric of most people’s existence. The Palestinian territories face a deep human crisis, where millions of people are denied their human dignity. Not once in a while, but every day.

Nothing is predictable for Palestinians. Rules can change from one day to the next without notice or explanation. They live in an arbitrary environment, continuously adapting to circumstances they cannot influence and that increasingly reduce the range of their possibilities.

“First, they took land for the road, then more land for the security zone along the road, and then they destroyed my house because it was too close to the security zone. Now they have levelled the land again. I have nothing left.”

–Abdul, Gaza

Since Israeli air strikes destroyed a large part of the Gaza Power Plant in June 2006, it has been working at roughly half of its original capacity. The electrical supply to the Gaza Strip is precarious, unreliable and dependent on external sources. In its current state, it cannot produce sufficient power to meet the needs of the population.

As a result, essential infrastructure such as hospitals, water systems and sewerage systems is having to use backup generators. Relying on generators is risky, and creates new dependencies on fuel and spare parts, quite apart from the higher running costs. Current import restrictions are preventing delivery of essential fuel and spare parts, which means that vital services are in danger of complete collapse…