The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood continues to report with clear-eyed vigour from Palestine. Her latest piece on Dashed Hopes, the collective updating of an earlier report by 21 International charities about the reality of life under siege in Gaza is profoundly shocking. It is mortifying. No, it’s revolting. Even so it might overstate the generosity of the state of Israel’s collective punishment, now in its fourth year.
HS writes that amongst other horrifying stats [“35% of Gaza’s farmland and 85% of maritime areas for fishing remains restricted by the Israeli ‘buffer zone’”], the only exports allowed by the Occupation are strawberries and carnations and those only to Europe. But perhaps not! The report, to which I urge you to link to [PRESS or for a pdf], states “except for the humanitarian activity of exporting a small amount of strawberries, not a single truck of exports has left Gaza since the ‘easing until now’.”
In any case, Gaza is populated almost entirely by refugees from the ethnic cleansing of the plains of Palestine in 1948. More than 60 years later, the offending party is able to behave like this not only in on front of the world but in connivance with the world’s most powerful nations. Behave like this and like it did very nearly two years when it conducted more genocidal experiments; in that case, seeing what happens when you drop white phosphorous bombs into the schools of refugee children.
The problem with surviving refugees is that they harbour dreams of going home, living their lives as they wish, like you and I. We all saw how such a wayward demand was last punished almost exactly two years ago. Since then; nothing. May I ask you to take a look at this report at least, if only to be sure that your own dreams -in your own bed, at home, in a place of your choice or anyway free from white phosphorus- are well earned?! I mean, you did see it, what happened is extremely well documented so no need to give thought to the Israeli propaganda, as shameless as it always is. You saw it, you know about it and you’re sure you can pass on by quite happily, are you? Despite the facts, despite the UN’s horror, despite the latest innocuous and brief report from a mass of International charities in the field?
Ok, look, my directing you to these things makes me -obviously! no doubt about it!- a*ti-s*mitic- but by reading about actual ongoing murderous racism by the state of Israel you cannot ‘catch’ anything! I’ll get all that clever spam from noble warriors for child porn and sex-chat lines, but you won’t. Ok? So read!
Here are the pretty mild conclusions drawn in the report;
“The international community must do its part to ensure that its repeated appeals to end the blockade are finally heeded.
1) Launch a new, concerted diplomatic initiative for an immediate, unconditional and complete lifting of the blockade, including:
• allowing movement of people including humanitarian staff into and out of Gaza; • allowing exports from Gaza; • allowing entry of construction materials including those for the private sector; • allowing entry of raw materials;
• expanding operations of the crossings;
• lifting restrictions on fuel imports; • ensuring access to Gaza’s agricultural land and fishing grounds
and the protection of civilians in these areas.
2) Convene a meeting of the UN security Council to review the implementation of Resolution 1860 which emphasises “the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings” and calls for “tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation.” Further action necessary for its implementation should be considered.
3) plan a visit to Gaza as part of every high-level visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
4) state explicitly that the ongoing blockade is illegal under international law.
5) support genuine investigations into, and accountability for, violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law committed by all parties, including the Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups as a way to prevent future violations.”
[I don’t agree with that last sleight, the logic of which would have investigators going after every heroic resistor of tyranny still alive, from the Warsaw ghetto uprising on… No, there is a world, a universe in fact, of difference between official state apparatuses, little things like Prime Ministers, governments, military allies of the UK and US, and a bunch of endlessly dispossessed, re-imprisoned and abandoned underground desperadoes seeking justice, recognition of the monstrosity of their plight, even just to exist.]