As well as its shortages of food and fresh water, Gaza now has no cement. Israel has banned its export to the Strip and the military government of Egypt has closed the tunnels through which building materials were once carried. No cement means nothing can be repaired or built; it means no work for the lorry drivers who transported it. It means unemployment has risen even higher to 45%.
British MPs queued up last Wednesday (Feb. 5th) to deplore the situation in Gaza and ask what was being done, and why it had come about. Who knew? The well-attended debate was in Westminster Hall – where backbenchers, without a party whip, can speak on what they care about. Despite this,and although 30% to 35% of all the correspondence to the Foreign Office is about Israel-Palestine, this debate received no media coverage at all. Conservative Friends of Israel chose to boycott the debate – knowing they could not legitimise Israel’s siege.
For several years Harriet Sherwood has been visiting Gaza as part of her job at the Guardian’s Jerusalem bureau. She has found much to admire in the courage and resourcefulness of the people there but now, as she leaves her post, she wonders how much longer they can go on taking the punishment inflicted on them by Israel – now abetted by Egypt.
So terrible is the situation in Gaza – no fuel, scant drinking water, thousands flooded out of their homes, economy shattered by the collusive blockages of Israel and Egypt, that JfJfP is appealing for emergency aid. The plight of the people of Gaza has been ignored by the media and is unknown to most people. 29 MPs (Commons and Lords) have published a letter demanding an end to the Gaza siege. Plus what you can do including Saturday January 18th Protest Vigil: Cast Lead 5 Years On. Latest update- Israeli and Egyptian barriers.
This is one of several postings on Gaza this week. The reason is obvious. Despite many many warnings from responsible bodies that the conditions of life for the people are becoming dire – beyond anything anyone in Israel or Europe or the USA would find tolerable – no-one with the power to alleviate conditions has acted. Easier to let the people of Gaza suffer than ship in fuel or a desalination plant or even a gift of a few tankers of fresh water.Critical articles from Ramzy Baroud and the Economist, pleas for action from NGOs and Amnesty.
There’s a humanitarian disaster going on in Gaza but it doesn’t seem to be attracting much international attention let alone effort. There is such a shortage of fuel that power plants, lighting, sewage processing and small private or corporate pumps and generators cannot function. The effort to keep life going is exhausting and the threat of the diseases borne by polluted water is very high. Israel, General Sisi, the PA and Hamas are all blamed by people in Gaza. They also say – what have we done to deserve this?
There is a mass national lobby of parliament on November 27th organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and supported by JfJfP. This is your chance to press your MP on which aspects of government policy towards Israel/Palestine you would most like him or her to take up. The petition for EU action on Gaza’s lack of fresh drinking after is still running. If you haven’t signed yet, it takes just a few seconds.
Hamas has many powerful enemies – aka Hamas has no friends – so that it’s hard to assess the weight of these reports about the Tamarod challenge to Hamas rule in Gaza. Rumours swirl that Tamarod Palestine is a front for Israel or the Egyptian military. There is no evidence that it is, and so far no evidence either that it represents popular discontent in Gaza – although anger amongst the young at stultifying rules of conduct is evident. We will have to wait and see what the planned mass demonstration on November 11 produces.
Hamas has no reputable friends. The people of Gaza must be punished for choosing the wrong government. By locking them in a state of siege – no fuel, no medicine, no movement – Israel, the UN, the US, the EU, the Arab states have declared the people of Gaza guilty. The aim is to separate good Palestinians from bad ones, and if people suffer as a result, well they brought it on themselves. Israel’s our friend – don’t blame us.
A group of young men in Gaza calling themselves Tamarod (rebellion, as in Egypt) has posted a defiant video declaring their opposition to Hamas as an oppressive and unjust regime. Hamas has arrested several of them and is, according to a report here, in a state of panic as the military get a grip in Egypt, strengthen security ties with Israel and close the smuggling tunnels. Hamas is left without allies in the region.
It says something about the anti-Gazan hostility, ignorance and credulity that a photo wrongly named as Gaza’s main shopping mall on an Islamophobic site should have been picked up and reposted as such by the IDF and many other websites. The photo in fact shows the luxurious shopping mall of Kuala Lumpur. Israel’s propagandists are really getting desperate – see also ‘PM’s office recruits students as paid social media propagandists’ below.
It is impossible to sum up briefly the achievements of Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the best-known public intellectuals of our age. Here we post his Edward Said memorial lecture, given from his long history of critiques of modern imperialism. Its theme is the contempt shown by the powerful – as in the ignoring of Palestinian rights in the Oslo Accords – the deliberate policies of humiliation and how the insistence on dignity is the hall mark of those who resist.
A 90-strong delegation of French and Egyptian people has arrived in Gaza via the Rafah crossing. They have brought drugs, surgical supplies and French textbooks. It is claimed as the first Welcome to Palestine group to have successfully got through the blockade although restrictions have been eased by Israel (as well as Egypt).
A national protest rally calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and remembering the launch of the lethal Operation Cast Lead four years ago. The rally is supported by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Friends of Al Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Palestinian Forum in Britain.
As a festive Chanukah offering we bring you Stephen Shalom’s Gaza Quiz. No marks for getting the right answers but congratulations if you read this website so thoroughly you know at least half the facts about Israeli policy towards Gaza which the quiz provides. Sorry – it’s not a fun read.
Guns, flags and cheering crowds met Khaled Meshaal, formal head of Hamas, when he arrived in Palestinian territory for the first time in 45 years, and for the first time ever in Gaza. He has lived in exile since his family left the West Bank when he was 11 years old. He vowed to push for unity with Fatah.
On behalf of JfJfP Diana Neslen and Arthur Goodman write to Foreign Secretary William Hague objecting to his assertion that Hamas bears the main responsibility for the current crisis and citing the many Israeli assaults on Palestinian life and the truce potential preceding the barrage on Gaza.
In a bleak assessment, George Friedman sees little chance of a negotiated truce; the issues of difference between Hamas and the Israeli government are too large to be contained by any such agreement, and the new power of Hamas’ Fajr-5 rockets too great to be left in hiding. 2nd, Iran denies supplying the rockets.
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the conservative Justice and Development party, has said he will shortly visit Gaza. This will be the first visit by a head of government of a NATO member. Despite reports of an angry reaction from Fatah, Erdogan says he will invite Pres. Abbas to go with him to Gaza. 3 reports
Stung by jibes about his Tel Aviv cafe lifestyle, Yuval Ben-Ami goes to a spot overlooking Gaza during the recent exchange of fire. There’s not a lot to see but fellow Israelis living nearby spot him instantly for a leftie, one who wrongly believes the IDF fires into Gaza and blindly fails to recognise the effects of living under Gazan rocket fire,