Monday, December 22, 2008

What's Left?

Is there one indispensable action the United States could take that would help bring peace in the middle east? Yes.
In the summer of 1989 I spent several weeks in Occupied Palestine, Gaza and the West Bank, during the first Palestinian Intifada which began twenty years ago this month. I was one in a delegation of about twenty Americans sent there to monitor Israeli human rights abuses. The situation for Palestinians in the West Bank was dire but in Gaza the Israelis were carrying out brutal occupation in one of the most crowded places on earth. Israeli soldiers whom I met, many of them Americans with Brooklyn accents, killed, brutalized, tortured, broke the bones and humiliated men, women and children. They maintained at least two Nazi-style concentration camps - - one in Gaza called Ansar II and one in the Negev desert. I thought then and continue to believe that Israel is a rogue, criminal state. With the support of the United States, Israel has thumbed its nose at literally dozens of U. N. resolutions demanding that it end the occupation of Palestine.

Unbelievably, now, twenty years later, through American administrations Republican and Democratic, the situation is worse. The Israeli government continues to deny Palestinians basic human rights - - rights to food, water, shelter, security and dignity. Israel and the United States have imposed draconian sanctions on Gaza Palestinians because they elected a government not to the liking of the U.S. and Israel. Now all 1.5 million people in Gaza are in a concentration camp. They are being held prisoner. No person can enter or leave without permission, fishermen cannot fish, world food aid cannot be delivered to the starving population. Israel has shut of fuel, water, and electricity. There are no drugs for the sick, no kidney dialysis, no insulin.
We are witnessing in Gaza the kind of ghetto the world thought it would never see again and the comparison was conjured u early this year by Israel’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai when he threatened “a bigger holocaust” against the Palestinians in Gaze.
Thus Israel prevents at least 400 critically ill patients from leaving Gaza for urgent medical attention in other hospitals. Thousands of other patients are being turned away from hospitals suffering from a severe shortage of 300 different kinds of medicines.
It takes 1,500 trucks a week to supply the food needs of Gazans yet Israel is allowing in only 1/10 of that. Israeli Prime Ministerial adviser Dov Weisglas said in February, “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not make them die of hunger.” This malevolent policy has led to a steady increase in malnutrition as people are being slowly starved of their staples of life. Flourmills have been shut. Of the 72 bakeries operating in Gaze, 29 have completely stopped baking bread and the others are expected to follow. Bread - - the most staple of all foods - - will soon not be available for a hungry population.
Some have called the Israeli policy “cruel,” but former president Jimmy Carter makes no apology for describing the situation as “a heinous atrocity: amounting to a war crime.
What is truly astonishing is the world’s silence in the face of all this. The shameful rush to grant Israel every honor and recognition so that it will be saved from the historical ignominy of having orchestrated the destruction of Palestinian society, is nothing short of unconscionable.

So, yes, there is one indispensable action that the United States could take to diffuse the volatile situation in the Middle East. We should live up to our democratic ideals. We should stop economic and military aid to Israel unless and until the Israelis end the occupation of Palestine. We must demand that Israel destroy its nuclear weapons. We must demand that Israel stop its imperialism, end its preventive war policies and provide real democracy for its own citizens of Palestinian descent. There will be no peace in the Middle East until Israel ends the occupation of Palestine. It is in the best interests of the United States, Israel and the whole Middle East that Israel be brought into the roll of civilized nations.


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At 8:36 PM, Blogger Stash said...

Nice job. Keep it up.


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