Bearing Witness

Gaza blockade.

I have just returned from a candle light vigil in the centre of Nablus, to show solidarity with the Residents of Gaza, who are now about to enter their second month of blockade by the Israeli Occupation Force [IOF]. For the last month, with a few minor exceptions, food, fuels and medicen have not been permitted to enter Gaza – not to mention doctors, journalist’s or diplomats. As well as this Israel has refused to allow the residents of Gaza to leave, not even those requiring medical treatment not available in Gaza or Islamic pilgrims on the Hajj. This is a clear act of collective punishment, outlawed under international humanitarian law and serveral UN charters – including the UN charter on human rights. I recently spoke to a doctor who was refused entry into Gaza and when he inquired as to why he was unable to enter he was told by the IOF solider manning the checkpoint “there is a war going on, don’t you know”, but as he was about to leave IOF solider turn to him and said “but try again tomorrow” – this statement clearly shows who is in control and the absurdity of the current situation in Gaza. I have included an article on the situation in Gaza below, but would like to finish my part of this post with a slogan from a poster I saw in the crowd tonight – “starving 1.5 million people is terrorism, free Gaza”.

Israel rebuffs U.N. plea to ease Gaza blockade.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urges Israel to allow food aid trucks into the Gaza Strip. But top Israeli officials say Palestinian militants must first stop their rocket attacks. Gazans have endured shortages of electricity and some staples since a 5-month-old cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that controls the enclave, began to unravel Nov. 4. Since then Defense Minister Ehud Barak has kept Israel’s border with Gaza closed, with a few exceptions, arguing that the soldiers required to supervise them would be easy targets for rocket fire. U.N. officials say the security threat posed by the latest rounds of rocket and mortar fire, which have caused few injuries and no deaths, does not justify such tight restrictions. Because Israel controls most access points to Gaza, they say, it is obligated under international law to try to maintain essential services for civilians. Israeli restrictions have left the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the larger of the two U.N. suppliers of humanitarian aid, with only enough food to last through this weekend.

A shortfall in deliveries of industrial diesel purchased from Israel has kept Gaza’s only power plant shut for most of the last week. Blackouts last up to 20 hours a day in Gaza City, where electricity from other sources is being rationed. On Wednesday, the territory’s largest flour mill shut down when it ran out of grain; 27 of Gaza’s 47 bakeries were reported closed Thursday. Many Gazans baked bread at home from U.N.-supplied flour. Hamas has also suspended welfare payments to 98,000 Gazans after shipments of cash from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank were turned back.

Israeli officials say the accounts of shortages are exaggerated to stir sympathy for Gaza. Yet for two weeks the same officials, citing security concerns, have barred reporters from entering Gaza. Executives of 15 international media groups, including The Times, have signed a letter to Olmert protesting the rare restriction on journalists.

By Richard Boudreaux 21st November 2008 and taken from www.latimes.com. At time of posting 1st December, unfortunately for the residents of Gaza nothing has changed !

I second that motion

I second that motion

* Photo taken by Munir. Checkout more of his amazing photo’s @ www.picasaweb.google.com/munirotm

 

 

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December 1, 2008 - Posted by | Media, My Thoughts | , , , ,

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