bARABie – Hard Hitting Facts

September 22, 2007

Welcome to Planet Gaza

Filed under: Uncategorized — barabie @ 5:23 pm

By Pepe Escobar

It is one of the most scandalous instances of collective punishment anywhere in the world in recent times. And what is the response of the high-minded “international community”? It’s the standard “three monkeys” – willfully deaf, dumb and blind.
This Thursday, the Israeli cabinet’s decision to declare the 8-kilometer-wide, 23km-long, arid Gaza Strip a “hostile territory” has started to be translated by facts on the ground. The Israel
Defense Forces have begun “gradually” to cut the supply of fuel and electricity to the 1.5 million population, one of the highest densities on Earth, 50% of them already living under the poverty line, 50% of them under-15s, 33% of them refugees.
Gaza uses about 200 megawatts of electricity; 120 come from Israel; 65 are produced in Gaza; and only 17 come from Egypt. Israel says supply to generators at Gaza’s hospitals will not be affected.
There’s more to come: a trade ban, no freedom of movement, no visits to prisoners in Israeli jails, an overall hardcore financial squeeze, and sooner rather than later, another military onslaught. As the Israeli daily Ha’aretz so nicely put it, this is just a “plan to limit services to civilians”.
Nobody will get in. Few, if any, will get out. If someone wants to go to Gaza, the only way will be via Egypt.
This comes on top of other “restrictions” already in place. No fewer than 200,000 kids went back to school in occupied Palestine this September – just like millions of other kids around the world. But they had nothing apart from their textbooks because the State of Israel deems paper, ink, ballpoint pens and binding materials not to be “fundamental humanitarian needs”.
It was up to AMIN (Arabic Media Internet Network), Ramallah’s information site, to put things in perspective. Ramallah is in the West Bank. The West Bank is “friendly”. Gaza is “hostile”. So West Bank residents can now “thank God for having escaped this collective punishment” – even though they still have to contend with walls, curfews, military incursions, arbitrary arrests and a thousand checkpoints.
Residents of the “hostile entity”, according to AMIN, will closely follow the example of the “friendly entity”, where walls and blast walls still bloom. The (good) point is to have been classified as “friendly”; “It’s better being half ‘enemy’ than being it full-time, it’s more comfortable being half deprived of electricity and fuel, it’s better being half exposed to air raids, it’s more benign to be half destructed than totally.”
AMIN also points out that Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah government in the West Bank can always blame Hamas’ government in Gaza for this sorry outcome. Then the “secular” will win over the “Islamists”. But there’s still a choice to be made. Gaza, full of shame for being branded an “enemy”, may succumb to Israel’s dictates. Or the West Bank, full of shame for being branded “friendly”, may fight Israel’s dictates. Conclusion: “What’s worse under occupation, to be an ‘enemy’ or to be a ‘friend’?”
And now for the monkeys
While this was being announced, US President George W Bush’s Sunni Arab allies in the “axis of fear” – from Saudi Arabia and Egypt to Jordan, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf petromonarchies – had better fish to fry, from taking over almost half of the London Stock Exchange (Dubai, Qatar) to turning the screws on internal repression and fanning the specter of “the Persians”. “Classic” al-Qaeda (not the diet Iraqi brand), through resident oracle Ayman al-Zawahiri in person and Osama bin Laden’s voice, was more interested on its new video-op calling for a jihad against “infidel” Bush ally President General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan.
It was up to a lone, meek United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to urge Israel to “reconsider” its decision – which once more is “contrary to Israel’s obligations towards the civilian population under international humanitarian and human rights law” (as if that other occupying power, the US in Iraq, was giving a damn to the suffering of the Iraqi civilian population). Ban should have also explained what “hostile entity” means in international law: nothing.

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News – Welcome to Planet Gaza

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