Jun 16, 2008
“We can’t go on like this. No electricity, no cooking oil, no gas, no food, no water, no wages: we have nothing. It is indescribable. And there is no reaction in Europe nor in the Arab states, as if the Gaza Strip has already been eliminated from the map.” That is how one inhabitant of Gaza described it.
Western diplomats and special emissaries who visit the region describe the same reality, whether it is in Gaza or in the West Bank.
Gaza lacks everything and in the broiling heat of summer, the lack of water is intolerable. Families are obliged to search constantly, even late into the night, for the rare moments when water is provided to the inhabitants. To drink a glass of pure water has become a privilege. The water that is available has an offensive color and odor.
More than half the children in Gaza under the age of five are undernourished due to a lack of food. The health conditions are such that many sick people die because they have no care. Infant mortality has reached 21 out of 1000 births in Gaza, while in comparison it is just 4 per 1000 in Israel. These are some of the consequences of the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
In the West Bank, even if the situation is different because of the military occupation there, it is no less difficult. As a European diplomat put it, “…since the Annapolis conference of November 2007, settlements have accelerated at a pace not seen before. Construction permits in the settlements of the West Bank have increased ten-fold. Not only in the zones that Israel intends to annex, but also even on the other side of the wall, in what are called the illegal advanced posts. The framework dividing up the area is being put in place at an accelerated rhythm. This doubles the impact of the conscious economic strangulation of the Palestinian economy. The people can no longer live.”
According to the Office of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations, there are now 607 barriers set up by the Israeli government to prevent the free circulation of Palestinian people and goods in the West Bank.
Even former U.S. President Jimmy Carter recently declared that the blockage of the Gaza Strip “is one of the greatest crimes against humanity in the world.” But neither U.S. government authorities, nor those of the European Union, took any action. As far as they are concerned, silence is the word.
Democratic presidential candidate, Barak Obama, has already made his position clear. In a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main pro-Israel lobby, Obama did not utter a single word concerning the suffering of the Palestinian people. Instead, he spoke of the “common interests and the shared values” between the U.S. and Israel. And to conclude, Obama declared that, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” Thus he turned his back on one of the major demands of the Palestinians concerning the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state – a demand in the past he had seemed to support.
In the end, Israel has accomplices that match its aims: the Western states, which have cut up the whole planet to serve the interests of their own ruling classes.