- On June 17, Israel's Cabinet issued a six point plan,
agreeing to ease access for civilian goods entering Gaza without loosening
inflexible security measures to restrict them. So what's changed? Not much.
Increased truck traffic has been modest at best. The consumer ban was partially
lifted, permitting previously prohibited items like ketchup, chocolate
and children's toys.
- Yet, banned products still include vitally needed industrial
and construction items, unrelated to security concerns Israel claims, bogusly
calling them "dual use." As a result, the promised ease is unfulfilled.
Strangling Gaza economically continues. Raw materials, spare parts, essential
equipment, and numerous other non-military related goods are denied. In
addition, no policy change eased people movement into and out of Gaza,
those inside effectively imprisoned, exports still banned, and humanitarian
flotillas threatened with forcible interdiction, in some cases their cargos
and personal possessions stolen to prevent essential goods and cash donations
from being delivered.
- In an August 22 Common Dreams article, Ann Wright headlined,"
"Israeli Soldiers Sell Gaza Flotilla Passengers' Computers and Steal
Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Cash," saying:
- "An Israeli newspaper has revealed that four to
six computers (among the hundreds seized from Mavi Marmara passengers were)
sold by an Israeli First Lieutenant to three junior military personnel.
On August 18, a second officer was arrested in connection with the theft."
- Labor Party MK Eitan Kabel called the revelation "embarrassing,
humiliating and infuriating," but there's more. "Israeli commandos
also took cash and credit cards from passengers," an estimated $1,000
or more from each, or at least $750,000, donations intended for Gazans.
Four passengers alone had $68,000 stolen, money needy Gazans didn't get.
- Other items were also taken, including cell phones, cameras,
and electronic equipment, supposedly kept safe but not returned when passengers
were released. No one so far has been held accountable, nor for the cold-blooded
murder of up to 15 passengers, three commissions investigating them, including:
- -- the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), hopefully a second
- -- Israel's Turkel Commission, the Netanyahu government's
arranged whitewash; and
- -- a second Ban Ki-moon appointed UN commission with
former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe vice-chairman, a man tainted by
corruption, scandal, and links to his country's drug cartels and paramilitary
death squads, responsible for murdering thousands of trade unionists, campesinos,
human rights workers, independent journalists, pro-democracy advocates,
and others opposing Colombia's narco-state terrorism and ties to US imperialism
- his appointment outraging activists demanding justice, not coverup and
- In an August 17 open letter, Besieged Gaza, Palestine,
its members listed below, wrote Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
urging he demand Ban Ki-moon remove Uribe, saying:
- "Mr. Prime Minister, it is an insult to the memory
of those killed (including nine Turkish citizens on Turkey's Mavi Marmara)
to have their blood 'redeemed' by a man who has a record of violations
against human rights and international law. (He was) an accomplice in corruption
and crimes against humanity....(He) supported the displacement of Afro-Colombian
families from their ancestral territories in La Toma, Suarez, and kept
silent against the denial of their economic and territorial rights. (He's
also) a devoted Zionist, committed to the myth and fabrication of 'Israel's
- It's obscene to assign this man "a duty to uncover
crimes against humanity against citizens of your own country," ones
he intends to suppress. (We) urge you now to take action (against him and
defend) justice and accountability for Palestine through boycotting apartheid
Israel, severing all diplomatic ties with it, and imposing sanctions against
it until it complies with international law and ends its occupation, colonization
and apartheid in Palestine."
- Palestinian General Federations of Trade Unions
- University Teachers' Association in Palestine
- Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott
- The Union of Palestinian Women's Committees
- Association of Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Information
- General Union of Public Service and Commercial Workers
- General Union of Health Service Workers
- General Union of Agriculture Workers
- General Union of Food Production Workers
- General Union of Petrochemical and Gas Workers
- Progressive Trade Union Front in Palestine
- General Union of Municipality and Local Councils Workers
- General Union of Tourism Workers
- Arab Cultural Forum (and)
- One Democratic State Group
- Relentlessly, Israeli Attacks against Gaza Continue
- Under siege and regular assaults, Israeli crimes of war
and against humanity persist. On August 17, mortar attacks destroyed homes
in the town of Abasan. Also, Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered Farrahin,
east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Residential homes were attacked.
- On August 19, Israeli artillery shelled areas near Gaza
City. No injuries were reported. Tanks and combat forces make regular incursions,
area air space violated daily. Farmers are attacked on their land, fishermen
at sea. On August 18, air attacks bombed tunnels, an area near Gaza City,
and a central Gazan building belonging to the Al Qassam Brigades. The pattern
repeats provocatively, mostly against civilians, always in violation of
international law Israel disdainfully spurns.
- B'Tselem Update on Gaza's Polluted Water
- Headlined, "Water supplied in Gaza unfit for drinking;
Israel prevents entry of materials needed to repair system," B'Tselem
reports that "Almost 95 percent (of Gaza's water) is polluted and
unfit for drinking," a topic addressed in two earlier articles, accessed
through the following links:
- The UN Environment Programme, Palestinian Water Authority,
Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, and international aid organizations
issued the above warning, estimating "it will take at least 20 years
to rehabilitate Gaza's underground water system, and any delay" will
cause further deterioration, perhaps requiring "hundreds of years"
- The crisis arose "following over-pumping" of
Coastal Aquifer water, an amount double what's needed to replenish it.
As a result, it's permeated with salt water and other contaminants. Also,
Cast Lead destruction, wastewater disposal into the Mediterranean for lack
of enough power to treat it, and poor maintenance, from prohibited spare
parts and equipment, caused more pollution and greater salinity.
- Majed Ghanem, Gazan Coastal Municipalities Water Utility
quality control director, said a late 2009 examination showed 93% of 180
wells tested had chloride levels four to eight times higher than WHO maximums
and nitrate levels six times higher, making the water unsafe to drink.
It also looks and smells bad, the Palestinian Water Authority saying almost
40% of Gazan diseases are water related.
- Children lacking potable water are vulnerable to malnutrition,
diarrhea, and stunted physical and cognitive development, even death. Agriculture
is also harmed, both its quality, quantity and safety.
- Under siege, essential materials and equipment needed
to improve water quality, safety, and taste are banned, including pumps,
pipes, generators, computers, cement and other construction items, as well
as enough fuel, chloride, and spare parts. The ability to rehab infrastructure
and wastewater treatment facilities is also prevented, Israel's bogus easing
doing nothing to relieve Gaza's growing humanitarian crisis, one the Netanyahu
government wants intensified, not relieved, part of his slow-motion genocide
agenda against all Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
- A Final Note
- On August 22, the IDF named Major-General Yoav Galant
as new chief of staff, succeeding Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi who'll
step down in February, tainted by scandal over charges of hiring a publicist
to smear a rival candidate, police and Defense Minister Ehud Barak calling
them untrue, but the damage apparently was done.
- As head of Israel's Southern Command, Galant ran Cast
Lead, responsible for extensive war crimes over a 23-day rampage of disproportionate
slaughter and destruction, mainly against non-combatants, infrastructure
unrelated to military necessity, and other civilian targets.
- He embraces the Dahiya Doctrine, named after the Beirut
suburb destroyed in the 2006 Lebanon war through similar disproportionate
destruction to achieve military and political objectives.
- During Cast Lead, Galant wanted to "send Gaza decades
into the past," with no regard for international law or the safety
and welfare of non-combatants. Next February, he'll perhaps lead it against
all Palestinians and other regional targets, embracing the same strategy
used on Gazans.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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