America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza UPDATE

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:

Oxfam International:

"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."

Amnesty International UK

"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".

Tags: Amnesty International, Gaza, Israel, Jimmy Carter, Netanyahu, obama, Oxfam, Palestine (all tags)

Comments

25 Comments

Re: Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza

For reference sake,


Robert Naiman is Policy Director and National Coordinator at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. Naiman edits the Just Foreign Policy daily news summary and writes a blog on Huffington Post.

by MainStreet 2009-12-22 04:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza

A message from Robert Naiman's blog:

On December 31, JFP's Robert Naiman - along with more than a thousand other peace advocates from around the world - plans to join tens of thousands of Palestinians in a march in Gaza to the Erez border crossing to protest the Israeli blockade and to demand international action to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Unfortunately, it appears that the Egyptian government will not allow the internationals to enter Gaza as planned. [1]

But this decision could be reversed with sufficient public pressure in Egypt and around the world. Would you help pressure the Egyptian government to open the border for the International Gaza Freedom March?

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gaz a-march

The aim of the march is to bring more international attention to the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza and to respond to Gaza's humanitarian crisis. The international participants will take in badly needed medical aid as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza. Dec. 27 will mark the first anniversary of the Israeli invasion, from which Gaza has not recovered, in large measure because of the ongoing Israeli blockade, which has prevented Gaza from rebuilding. [2]

The need for more international attention to this issue is great. Former President Carter has argued that, with the "peace process" at an apparent impasse and with Egyptian efforts to resolve differences between Hamas and Fatah impeded by "US objections", addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza can't wait on broad diplomatic progress. [3] 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.

You can write to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington and to the Foreign Ministry in Cairo by following the link below.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/gaz a-march

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a just foreign policy,

Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns, Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Please support our work. Donate for a Just Foreign Policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate. html

References:

1. "Gaza Freedom March is Determined to Break the Siege," Code Pink Press Release, 21 December 2009
http://codepinkalert.org/article.php?id= 5241
2. "Gaza's civilians still unable to rebuild one year after 'Operation Cast Lead'," Amnesty International UK, December 2009
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.a sp?NewsID=18552
3. Jimmy Carter, "Gaza must be rebuilt now," The Guardian, 19 December 2009
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/ cifamerica/2009/dec/19/gaza-rebuilt-peac e-process-suffering


by MainStreet 2009-12-22 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza

A relevant note from Adam Keller's blog, which pertains to the European reaction to Israeli colonialism and the siege of Gaza. Israel forgets that the European countries are not in their political grasp, as is the USA. That would be us.

Israel in Free Fall

"Israel's diplomatic status is undergoing a rapid collapse, whose like we have never known before. We did undergo crises during the first Lebanon War, the First Intifada and on other occasions - but never did we fall from a such great height to such a low depth, and the bottom is still far down" (Adam Keller quoting in his blog Ben Kaspit's Ma'ariv oped)  

by MainStreet 2009-12-22 04:54AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Why does the header read "Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza" when it is Israel and Egypt that are doing the blockading.

Perhaps Egypt is beyond criticism because it is an "oppressed" third world country, while Israel is an oppressing county.

Seems like a double standard to me.

by interguru 2009-12-22 04:02PM | 0 recs
didn't you know?

Muslim countries can do whatever they want without ultra-left criticism: they are eternally oppressed, altho Islam had massive empires until the Caliphate decided to get involved with European wars and enter on Austria/Germany's side in WWI. Islamic terrorism is OK: its only resistance to "imperialism," and this rule is an absolute to people like MainStreet.

by Lakrosse 2009-12-22 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Well in truth if you included all countries participating in the siege, you might even cite the US, who is funding Israel. Egypt also gets aid from the US which could, but does not, protest Egypt's cowtow to Israel in tis regard.

But unless you have just arrived from Mars, it is evident to everyone that this is Israel's siege.

But its purpose? Like Iran, Hamas is just another red herring to distract people from the colonization of the Palestinian territories that continues in full force. The colonization and the military occupation that supports it is the root cause of conflict in the region and it has been so for the past 40, if not the past 60 years.

If there is a double-standard being applied, it is the US treatment of Israel, a rogue state that defies every international law on the books.

Try reading a little more about it.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 01:05AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

So, your premise is that there's an open border between Egypt and Gaza? Guess again.

Why do you also ignore the fact that every time Israel has mad a move towards opening the border, they have been rewarded with increased attacks?

The root cause is the fact that the Palestinian government does not want a peaceful solution.

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-23 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Try reading the post again. Egypt is reportedly now building a wall to prevent smuggling into Gaza, turning the screws, I suppose, and probably doing it with US concordance.

Hamas attacks on Israel have always been in retaliation for Israeli incursions into Gaza or the West Bank to kill Palestinian resistance fighters. You might ask, just who is the military occupier here? If you read Jimmy Carter's interview with Meshal, the head of Hamas in Syria, you would learn the facts, that Hamas offered ceasefires over a half dozen times before the six month Egyptian brokered one, but Israel refused. Hamas also took on voluntary cease fires twice, to no avail. When Israel broke the last cease fire two months before the Israeli election, the rocketing resumed. Then we had the massacre that started in December, when 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians and children were slaughtered.

Since January Hamas has been under a voluntary cease fire, lasting now almost a year.

If you knew anything about Israeli politics you would know that Israel's invasion of Gaza with American weapons was intended to show the Israeli public that the Olmert-Linvi-Barak triumvarite could kill Palestinians as efficiently as the comatose war criminal, Sharon. It didn't work. Now they are all war criminals, fearful of stepping into England, where they might be arrested. Sharon, by the way, never travel outside of Israel or the United States, lest he be arrested.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Hamas attacks on Israel have always been in retaliation for Israeli incursions into Gaza or the West Bank to kill Palestinian resistance fighters.

You're kidding, right? If not, then we really don't have anything further to discuss.

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-23 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

"we really don't have anything further to discuss."

It is perhaps your need to stop believing the propaganda and start understanding Israeli politics as it pertains to the occupation and colonialism of the Palestinian territories.

Nothing further to discuss, indeed.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

It's not about politics. It is about friends who regularly have to sleep in bomb shelters. I'm not saying that the Israeli government is totally blameless, but I'm not naive about it either.

There have been countless unprovoked rocket attacks from Gaza and from the West Bank. It is your denial of that which leaves us no common ground on which to discuss this.

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-23 09:50AM | 0 recs
It's a common problem in the

political tubes.

And this problem is grounded in manichean thinking... it's all black and white... good guys versus bad guys... and Israel is perceived as the bad guys... thus people like Mainstreet attack and attack and attack... without ever really considering the history in any way outside of their ideological predisposition to blame everything on the Jews Israel.

by Karmafish 2009-12-23 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: It's a common problem in the

Israel is perceived as the bad guy by some people, like Mainstreet. That certainly seems to be the popular position in the more liberal corners of the Democratic party.

Thus the power of Lieberman.

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-23 10:28AM | 0 recs
Well, y'know,

I'm a liberal, but I cannot help but notice the rise of anti-Zionism within the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party.

If it continue to gain traction it will likely alienate the hell out of the Jewish liberal community and supporters of Israel.

Obama got something like 80% of the Jewish vote, but I'm guessing that percentage will be considerably lower next time around because of the way that he has seriously mishandled I-P.

by Karmafish 2009-12-23 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

You have completely forgotten what it is and who it is that provoked this conflict, even who initiated and is doing most of the killing, which I would suppose you excuse, and its purpose.

Ever hear of the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, whose sole and only purpose is the colonization of another people's lands, the Palestinians, who have been held in bondage for over 40 years. And it is still going on today.

In your mind, the Palestinians are at fault, are the enemy for fighting for their freedom and self-determination. And please don't come on with the, if only they had used nonviolent protest, Gandhi methods, they would have had their freedom before now. The fact is, the nonviolent protesters including Israelis and internationals have been injured and killed during protests, in fact, one leader recently jailed without trial, joining the other 11,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, presumably so they will no longer interfere with the colonialism.

You said it before, there is no more to discuss. Sorry, but you are completely ignorant about this conflict.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Did you ever hear of the 1948 war, started by the Arab countries against Israel 60 years ago? Oh wait, you said 40 years ago. That would be the 1967 war, started by the Arabs, who lost, and refused to accept the refugees that THEY LEFT BEHIND. They still refuse to accept them to this day. If Egypt has a problem with the way people are being treated in Gaza, all they have to do is open their border. Same with Jordan and the West Bank. They started this crap. They put their people in this situation. They need to accept some responsibility. So far, they haven't.

Please spare me your revisionist history that makes Israel out as the aggressor.

As far as my ignorance goes...Just because I don't agree with you does not make me ignorant. I don't claim to be a scholar, but I am neither dismissive nor am I afflicted with the tunnel vision that seems to be your point of view.

Do you seriously believe that if Israel gave in to all the Palestinian demands that, ten years later (or even five), there would be an Israel? I don't. Hamas has made it quite clear that their raison d'etre is to wipe Israel off the map. The maps they use to teach their school children don't show Israel at all.

I lived there. I saw this first-hand. How about you?

I also suggest that you don't "suppose" anything about me. You don't know me. Don't pretend that you do. If you have a question, ask it. But don't put words into my mouth, please.

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-23 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Like I suggested your mind is full of Israeli propaganda.

The Arab countries surrounding Palestine, and that was before Israel declared independence, reacted to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing across their borders. Two months before Independence, the Zionist placed into action Plan Dalet, the plan to forcably ethnically cleanse the Palestinians from over 400 villages and towns throughout Palestine. About a quarter million were already cleared out by the Haganah and the Zionist terror gangs, some fled after massacres like Deir Yassin.

Those Arab armies, if they can be called that, came to their rescue, as Israel now, and the newly formed IDF, cleared out the remaining Palestinians, amounting to two thirds of their population, or 800,000.

So stop believing everything you read and hear about what happened in 1948. There are two histories written about it. Look them up.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 06:27PM | 0 recs
I got a question:

and the answer doesn't make a difference to me, tho just wondering. Are you an Arab or a Muslim?

by Lakrosse 2009-12-23 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Perhaps you, too, should stop believing everything you read. Or are you a no-compromise, my-way-or-the-highway kind of negotiator?

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-24 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

"unprovoked rocket attacks from Gaza and from the West Bank."

THe rocket attacks which have killed a few Israelis have been continually provoked by IDF killings of Palestinians in the territories. Look up B'Tselem and you will find the numbers, lately being close to 100 to 1. There have been no rocket attacks from the West Bank.

Israel not entirely faultless? That is the most naive statement you have made so far. There would be no conflict if every Israeli government did not continue the colonization.

Maybe the problem is that you just don't know what is going on over there. Or maybe you believe the propaganda about Israel fighting the war on terror that began after 9/11.

Maybe you need to take a look at the documentary, Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land (Youtube). Come back after you have seen it and maybe we can talk on the same level. At this point you seem either ignorant of the reality or dishonest. I prefer to think it is the former.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

I think that you need to understand that the only way that this is going to stop is if the Arab countries - specifically Egypt and Jordan - step up to help (and I'm not talking military help) the refugees they left behind in the wars they started in 1948 and 1967.

That the rocket attacks have killed "a few Israelis" is the most absurd statement ever. How many dead Israelis would be enough for you? A thousand? A million? How many? Though I suspect that the answer to that question from many of your ilk would be "all of them," I'll let you answer it for yourself.

How would you expect the US to react if missiles from Mexico killed "a few Americans?" Would you give then Texas? What if the missiles started again? Would you give them Oklahoma?

Or, how about if those missiles were coming from an Indian reservation? That is not the same situation as I see in Israel, but maybe it fits your point of view better. How would you expect the US to respond to that? Would you give them Manhattan? What if that was followed by more missiles? would you give them the Delaware valley? And what if there were more missiles after that?

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-23 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

Your ignorance of this conflict is profound.

You said there was no more to discuss earlier, and I suggest that you take up your own suggestion.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: America's shame: Israel's inhumane siege of Ga

very nicely dismissive, but you did not answer a single question.

Nice way to have a discussion.

by NJ Liberal 2009-12-24 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza

Well in truth if you included all countries participating in the siege, you might even cite the US, who is funding Israel. Egypt also gets aid from the US which could, but does not, protest Egypt's cowtow to Israel in tis regard.

But unless you have just arrived from Mars, it is evident to everyone that this is Israel's siege.

But its purpose? Like Iran, Hamas is just another red herring to distract people from the colonization of the Palestinian territories that continues in full force. The colonization and the military occupation that supports it is the root cause of conflict in the region and it has been so for the past 40, if not the past 60 years.

If there is a double-standard being applied, it is the US treatment of Israel, a rogue state that defies every international law on the books.

Try reading a little more about it.

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 01:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza UPDATE

Sorry. The link to the UPDATE is,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8 425232.stm

by MainStreet 2009-12-23 07:24AM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads