The week in brief
Below are retrospectives by Ben White (“Gaza: One Year On”), Uri Avnery (“One year after Cast Lead”) and Richard Falk (“UN Human Right Council Special Rapporteur Falk – one year on”).
In a new report “Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, no recovery, no more excuses: A report one year after Operation Cast Lead” Amnesty joins 15 other leading humanitarian and human rights groups in calling on the international community to stop failing the people of Gaza, and instead back their words with effective action to end the Israeli blockade. A large group of UK parliamentarians has also voiced the demand to end the siege of Gaza
There are also reports on the Viva Palestina convoy of medical and humanitarian aid, blocked by the Egyptian government at the Gaza border at the time of writing, and the Gaza Freedom March, in principle set to enter Gaza today… Swine flu knows no such problems or barriers: despite predictions that the closure of Gaza might protect it from exposure to the Swine Flu, the virus was identified in the Gaza Strip two weeks ago, and already some 185 people have been diagnosed as infected, 13 of whom have died.
Meanwhile, Israeli repression continues apace whether of non-violent resisters in Israel itself or in Palestine. New Profile speakers have been banned from high-school debates on civil rights; Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, is in an Israeli gaol, banned from speaking to a lawyer or his family, with no explanation for his arrest; over the past six months, 31 Bil’in residents have been arrested, including almost all the members of the Popular Committee that organizes the demonstrations. A similar tactic is being used against protesters in the neighbouring village of Ni’ilin… Amira Hass, among others, comments on Palestinian non-violence in this week’s posts.
And Israeli action is not limited to harassment and arrests, as six Palestinians are shot dead in two separate incidents, three in Gaza and three in Nablus, apparently in cold blood. One of Abbas’s aides described the latter killings as a “grave Israeli escalation” which showed “Israel is not interested in peace and is trying to explode the situation”.