By: Bobby Noe
As has been covered in the news extensively, Gaza’s only power plant has shut down as there is no longer any fuel left to run it. 1.5 million people are in darkness and according to a health ministry official the hospitals ” have the choice to either cut electricity on babies in the maternity ward or heart surgery patients or stop operating rooms,”. The UN is almost out of bags with which to distribute the pitiful amount of humanitarian aid Israel allows into the strip. Gaza is a humanitarian disaster on epic proportions.
Most western news outlets are talking incessantly about the rocket attacks, stating that they are the reason for the siege of Gaza, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Hamas have actually offered numerous ceasefires and the level of rocket attacks have decreased of late (ref 1). As the level of rocket attacks has decreased, Israeli military operations have intensified to include regular air strikes, and the level of supplies reaching the strip has been further reduced.
At the same time, Israel is offering tax breaks for Sderot residents (ref 2) and is offering free land for anyone wanting to build a home near the strip (ref 3). The only conclusion it is possible to reach from these actions is that Israel wants more of its citizens to die.
In the last year only two people died from the rocket attacks (ref 4). As tragic as these deaths are they do not come anywhere near close enough to justify one of the biggest man made humanitarian crisises of all time. Israel knows at some point people will realise this, and is hoping more of its citizens will die so it can continue justifying its murderous siege of the strip as a security measure.
So what does Israel want from Hamas if it not to stop the rocket attacks? The answer is recognition for free. Hamas currently does not recognise the state of Israel, this was the reason given for the economic sanctions imposed on the PA when Hamas won the elections in 2006 (#1), and this is the real reason for the siege of Gaza.
Under UN resolution 242, Israel is supposed to get recognition in exchange for its retreat to 1967 borders, the green line. 10 years after the 6 day war Egypt recognised Israel and got the Sinai back, as per 242. Syria will recognise Israel if exchange for the return of the Golan Heights (ref 5).
Hamas have actually stated they will recognise Israel if UN resolutions 242 and 194 (#2) are implemented (ref 6). The PLO recognised Israel in the late 80s in exchange for a peace process that has done nothing but further entrench the apartheid in Palestine (#3), and is leading to the creation of a Palestinian state cut into non-contiguous bantustans, completely surrounded by Israel, with no water or access to Jerusalem. Israel wants to bomb Hamas into submitting to the same process.
What sort of world do we live in where the ‘extremists’ call for is the implementation of international law and ‘moderates’ such as Olmert and Barak, order the starvation of 1.5 million people?
#1 Incidentally the first time in history sanctions were imposed on a people under occupation
#2 UN resolution 194 calls for the Palestinian right of return. A little known fact is that UN resolution 273, Israels admission to the UN, was supposed to be dependent on the implementation of 194. 194 has yet to be implemented but Israel is now a well established member of the UN.
#3 the creation of areas A, B and C have allowed Israel to construct Israeli only roads connecting C areas, cutting the West Bank into isolated enclaves. The Israeli Army can invade area A whenever it wants, but Palestinians for the most part cannot get anywhere near area C. Israels main obligation under the process, the halting of settlement expansion, has been ignored. The settler population of the West Bank has more than doubled since Oslo, and settlement construction continues today at a frightening rate.
Ref 1) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946028.html
Ref 2) http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946770.html
Ref 3) http://www.imemc.org/article/52068
Ref 4) A good report to read as well:
Ref 6) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3223438,00.html