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تاريخ التسجيل : 02/10/2008
|موضوع: Gaza Under Siege الأربعاء يوليو 08, 2009 11:26 am|| |
Gaza Under Siege
Israel breaks Human's rights
According to the UN Human Rights Council's Special Report on Palestine, Gazans are effectively imprisoned; movement in and out of the Territory is "impossible;" food, water, health care, sewage treatment, sanitation and other essentials "can no longer be taken for granted."
After Hamas' January 25, 2006 electoral victory, Israel targeted Gaza oppressively. All outside aid was cut off. Sanctions and an economic embargo were imposed, and the democratically elected government was falsely called a terrorist organization and isolated. Stepped up repression followed along with repeated IDF incursions, attacks, killings, targeted assassinations, arrests, destruction of property and more in a pattern all too familiar to Palestinians for over six decades. Gazans are imprisoned in their own land and have been traumatized for months. In June 2007, things got worse after Israel placed the Territory under siege - described by some as medieval because of its extreme harshness.
On June 14, 2007, collaboratively with Israel and the US, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas declared a "state of emergency," illegally dismissed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and his national unity government, and appointed his own prime minister and new "emergency" cabinet. Authority is now split. Abbas runs the West Bank. Hamas governs Gaza while Israel controls everything - land, sea, air, movement inside and between the Territories, the population registry, family unification, and all goods and services in and from Occupied Palestine. Especially Gaza under siege for nearly 14 months and solely dependent on Israel for its fuel, electricity and gas. Other essentials as well.
Abbas runs the West Bank. Hamas governs Gaza while Israel controls everything - land, sea, air, movement inside and between the Territories, the population registry, family unification, and all goods and services in and from Occupied Palestine.
Hamas remains isolated. It's called a "hostile entity," and after last September 19 was squeezed by tightened sanctions. Electricity, fuel and gas were reduced and intermittently cut off. So were supplies of food, medicines, water and other essentials. Its industrial production dropped 95%, and its agricultural output is about half its pre-2007 level. Nearly all construction also stopped, and according to a new UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) report, poverty tops 50% and unemployment is nearly as high. Other unofficial estimates say 80% for both is more accurate. Things are bad and worsening.
Shops are short of everything because Israel allows in only nine basic materials. Their availability is spotty, and some essentials are banned like:
restricted food items like fruit, milk and other dairy products, wheat flour, rice, sugar, salt, cooking oil, and frozen foods;
herbicides and pesticides;
fabrics, threads, and buttons;
construction materials: cement, tin, iron, plastic pipes, asbestos, wood, nails, screws, wires, paint, etc.;
spare parts and supplies for manufacturing goods;
office equipment and supplies;
livestock and fodder;
telephones and mobiles;
spare parts for communication devices;
tobacco and cigarettes;
all types of motor vehicles, including spare parts (batteries, tires, engine oil, etc.);
elevators and their spare parts;
water pumps and their spare parts; and
the import or export of raw materials for industry, construction and agriculture - virtually everything a modern society needs to function and survive.
Compared to 9000 commodities imported before June 2007, now it's only 20. People don't get enough to eat, and conditions keep getting worse. Even fishing is restricted, idling thousands of local fishermen because anyone in open waters risks detention and harassment.
Power is in short supply - affecting hospitals, fresh water availability, sanitation, and the functioning of daily life under conditions of extreme duress. Families (including spouses) are also cut off. Some live in Gaza, others in the West Bank and Israel, and all endure prolonged separation after authorities prohibited travel from one area to the other and imposed sweeping restrictions on Egyptian and Jordanian crossings.
Earlier, family unification was denied after the Knesset passed the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (July 2003). It bars Palestinians in the Territories with an Israeli spouse from getting citizenship or residency status in Israel so families can live together.
Thousands of married couples and their children are affected - forced to remain apart or leave Israel. The new law solely targets Palestinians. It's discriminatory, illegal, racist, unrelated to security, and one of many collective punishment acts. Besides the law, Israeli Arabs married to Gazans are barred from entering the Territory to visit families.
Here's a brief snapshot of Gaza. It measures 360 square kilometers in area or about half the size of Chicago for its 1.5 million residents - in the world's largest and most congested open-air prison. Over 40% of them live in eight densely overcrowded refugee camps, and in the best of times, their conditions are inadequate, adverse and sometimes grim. Under siege, they're intolerable.
International law (including the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention) obligates occupying powers to protect civilian populations. Its Article 3(1) specifically states:
"Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat (out of action) by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria."
Israel disdains the law and disagrees. After its 2005 "disengagement," it denied all "responsibility for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip" even though the argument is baseless under international humanitarian and human rights laws. Their language and interpretation are clear and require occupiers to ensure the safety and welfare of people they "effective(ly) control" - even if their forces have no fixed presence in their territory. Israeli security forces have total control over Gaza and the West Bank and operate freely in both Territories. They invade and maraud, secure their borders, key points of entry, air space, and for Gaza its coastline and open waters.
Under Fourth Geneva law, Israel is obligated to protect all Palestinians - especially the sick, wounded, children under 15, pregnant women, the elderly, infirm and disabled. It must also allow free passage of food, medicines and other essentials, let medical teams provide help, and refrain from imposing collective punishment and de facto martial law. The (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights goes further, and Israel is a signatory. It recognizes the right of every person to freedom of movement, work, an adequate standard of living, education, proper health care, and a normal family life. Its Article 1 states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights" - including ones under occupation or "effective(ly) control(led)" by another state.
Gaza under siege
The beach has become a virtual highway since the closure of roads linking north and south Gaza
Five months after Israel sealed off Gaza and the West Bank, the Palestinian economy is in crisis.
Thousands of men and women can not get to their jobs in Israel and the Palestinian Authority is relying on foreign donations to keep paying its employees.
A senior European Union delegation, in Gaza for talks with Yasser Arafat, is expected to press Israel to reopen its borders with the Palestinian territories.
In Gaza harbour brightly-painted fishing boats are all riding at anchor because of the Israeli blockade.
There are 2,000 fishermen stuck here with nothing to do - mending nets that do not need mending and tinkering with engines that they can not use.
It is a graphic example of the economic despair that Palestinians feel.
Mohammed Abu Riyala, who has been fishing for 45 years, says he has never known times as bad as this.
"Our boats are not allowed to go out to sea, we can not work, we can not fish in the sea... we are just measuring the distance between our houses and the harbour here.
"All we can do is to repair our boats. We are just wasting our time."
The plight of Gaza's fishermen has infuriated Mr Arafat.
In a fiery speech to parliament on Saturday, he criticized world leaders for staying silent, while his people suffered.
He accused the Israeli Government of enforcing a policy of "siege and closure" against Palestinians.
His anger reflects a wider frustration with the whole economic situation here.
The Palestinian Finance Minister, Mohammed al-Nashashibi, says this is the worst financial crisis he has known in his seven years in the post.
The conflict with Israel has already cost the economy an estimated $1bn and 40% of Palestinians are unemployed.
Because Israel is withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues, the Palestinian Authority is racking up a $50m deficit every month.
Mr Nashashibi puts the blame for all this, squarely on the Israeli Government.
"These are the real facts of our financial situation, for which the Israeli aggression is responsible."
He urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to "release the money, stop the siege and allow us free access to the world market".
Corruption and inefficiency
But while Israel's blockade of the Palestinian economy has certainly been the cause of its collapse, some Palestinians believe their government should be handling the situation differently.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian assembly, says corruption and inefficiency by the Palestinian Authority are causing people to lose faith in their government.
"If the authority does not take real steps to regain the confidence of the people it will certainly lose a great deal.
"It can only regain that confidence if it respects the law and behaves as a democratic system and a real institution that is transparent and accountable."
No faith in peace
Gaza, a town which could have been a dream holiday destination, has become instead a cauldron of bitterness and despair.
Amid the abandoned building sites, the empty hotels and the potholed streets the people here have long stopped believing in the peace process.
They blame Israel for their misery, but many doubt that their own government can make life any better
Internet Websites and some world newspapers :-
New York Times
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عدد المساهمات : 840
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تاريخ التسجيل : 31/08/2008
|موضوع: رد: Gaza Under Siege الجمعة يوليو 10, 2009 6:02 am|| |
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