Call to action to end the siege of Gaza

November 19, 2008

Here’s an alert we received from a coalition of U.S.-based organizations with some suggestions on how to protest the siege of Gaza:

Action Alert: End the Starvation and Siege of Gaza

Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East
Network of Arab-American Professionals of NY
Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee of NY
Brooklyn For Peace
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

November 17, 2008

Take Action

With Gazans already impoverished and struggling to survive, on November 5, Israel completely sealed Gaza’s border crossings. This followed an unprovoked Israeli attack on Gaza that killed six Palestinians, despite a ceasefire, and Palestinian rocket fire in response. As a result of Israel’s closure, the United Nations has been forced to stop food distribution to 750,000 needy people, and 70% of Gaza is now without power due to a lack of fuel.

According to reports, even candles are now in short supply. “Let’s see this for what it is.” said UN spokesman Chris Gunness . “Fifty-six percent of the Gaza Strip are children. Let us not cause suffering of innocent children.” Blocking witnesses, on November 13, Israel denied the entry to Gaza of 20 senior EU diplomats.

Israel also has refused to allow foreign journalists to enter Gaza. Foreign Press Association chairman Steven Gutnik called the ban “a serious violation of freedom of the press” and said “it is essential that journalists be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip since it is the foreign media that serves as the world’s window into Gaza. Read the rest of this entry »

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Siege on Gaza as the U.N. runs out of food

November 17, 2008

One has to read between the lines of the usual “balance” in this piece (below) — suggesting parity between the starvation of a civilian population and the rocket fire from Gaza — to see that what is taking place is the medieval technique of laying siege to a population and starving them.  But whereas in medieval siege warfare the purpose of starving a civilian population was to make them capitulate and to rule over them, the last thing the Israelis want is to resume direct control over (and hence daily responsibility for) the beleaguered civilian population of Gaza.  So this seige is not a means but the end in itself of Israel’s “Gaza strategy.”

Starvation is, of course, in this day and age subject to strict prohibition under the laws of war (which include the laws governing foreign military occupation) since it fails the first test of humanitarian law — distinguishing between civilians and combatants.  But to the Israeli tactician’s eye, perhaps all Gazans are enemies at some fundamental level.  And so a total blockade on Gaza, which excludes from Gazans even the passage of food and humanitarian aid through United Nations channels, continues to the deafening silence of the watching international community.

Against their own record of war crimes, the Israelis are afforded not only impunity but a generous hearing as the “victims” of purported Palestinian offenses.  So the UN closes shop and leaves the 750,000+ Gazans dependent on UNRWA food relief with no options and the world continues to blame the victim.  At least in this part of the world, hope and change are just two more empty slogans and two more commodities denied to Gazans starving under Israel’s siege. Read the rest of this entry »


Falk appointed to investigate Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories

March 31, 2008

As a Princeton alumna, I was pleased to hear that Princeton’s Richard Falk (Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice) has been appointed by the UN as a special investigator on Israeli actions in the Palestinian Territories. But it also ties in with some of the discussions on language that we’ve seen on the blog recently, since Falk is an American Jew who characterized Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories as “Slouching Towards a Palestinian Holocaust,” and in this appointment he replaces South African professor John Dugard, who characterized Israel’s occupation as apartheid. Falk has also written on the legality of the Vietnam war and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, characterizing the latter as a war of aggression that should be tried by a war crimes tribunal.

Here’s what the Jerusalem Post has to say about the UN’s appointment of Falk: Read the rest of this entry »