America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza UPDATE
by MainStreet, Tue Dec 22, 2009 at 04:18:14 AM EST
Robert Naiman, a sometimes diarist at MyDD, posted this diary, Egypt Says It Will Block Gaza Freedom Marchers, on Daily Kos yesterday.
It reports that on December 31, together with more than 1000 peace advocates from around the world entering Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, Naiman is planning to join tens of thousands of Palestinians in a march to the Erez border crossing inside Gaza to protest the Israeli blockade, and to demand that international action be taken to relieve Gaza of its humanitarian crisis.
Naiman quoted a plea from Jimmy Carter which was written for the British newspaper, The Guardian, a few days ago.
... those under siege in Gaza face another winter of intense personal suffering. I visited Gaza after the devastating January war and observed homeless people huddling in makeshift tents, under plastic sheets, or in caves dug into the debris of their former homes. Despite offers by Palestinian leaders and international agencies to guarantee no use of imported materials for even defensive military purposes, cement, lumber, and panes of glass are not being permitted to pass entry points into Gaza. The US and other nations have accepted this abhorrent situation without forceful corrective action.
I have discussed ways to assist the citizens of Gaza with a number of Arab and European leaders and their common response is that the Israeli blockade makes any assistance impossible.
Carter argued that "addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza can't wait on broad diplomatic progress. There should be an intense diplomatic effort by the international community - and the United States in particular, which obviously has strong influence on Israel and Egypt - to ensure that humanitarian supplies can get into Gaza and rebuilding can begin."
For America to be helping to perpetuate the suffering and death of Palestinians in Gaza is what is troublesome. That there are a few hundred Americans who have joined the Gaza Freedom March is not enough to assuage America from the guilt of complicity, not just for the weapons we supplied Israel to carry out the massacre of 1,400 mostly civilian Palestinians in Gaza one year ago, but that we stand idly by as the siege continues.
Here's another report about America's shame (and that of Arab countries, and Egypt), reprinted by Mondoweiss:
"It is not only Israel that has failed the people of Gaza with a blockade that punishes everybody living there for the acts of a few. World powers have also failed and even betrayed Gaza's ordinary citizens. They have wrung hands and issued statements, but have taken little meaningful action to attempt to change the damaging policy that prevents reconstruction, personal recovery and economic recuperation."
"The wretched reality endured by 1.5 million people in Gaza should appal anybody with an ounce of humanity. Sick, traumatised and impoverished people are being collectively punished by a cruel, illegal policy imposed by the Israeli authorities.
"Israel's responsibility to protect its citizens does not give it the right to punish every man, woman and child of Gaza. All states are obliged under international law to intervene to put an end to this brutal blockade but their leaders are failing in this fundamental measure of their own humanity. All states must insist that the Israeli government end its blockade and let the people of Gaza rebuild their shattered lives."
Read the full report, Failing Gaza, written by 16 major "European" human rights groups.
Sadly, no American organization is included.
UPDATE: A lousy development
Egypt bans a protest march into Gaza
Egypt has said it will not allow a protest march into Gaza from its territory. Egypt has rejected a request to allow activists to march across the border into the Gaza Strip to mark the anniversary of last year's conflict. The Egyptian foreign ministry said the march could not be allowed because of the "sensitive situation" in Gaza.
Over 1,000 activists from 42 countries had signed-up to join "the Gaza freedom march" planned for next week.
Egypt warned that anyone attempting the crossing from Egypt would be "dealt with by the law".