April 09, 2007

Welcome back to free Gaza

I remember how the Gaza "withdrawal" had various zionist "lefts" welcoming Ariel Sharon into their ranks - without acknowledging that he's been one of theirs all along. Here's an article on Canada.com detailing just one of the realities of how unfree Gaza remains:
Raouf Ziara's love life is in Israel's hands.

When Ziara, a 36-year-old officer in the Palestinian security forces, crossed from Gaza to Egypt in late March to visit his Egyptian wife, he had spent more than a month repeatedly trying to get through a border station that Israel only rarely allows to open.

Now in Cairo, Ziara doesn't know when he'll be able to return. But he knows he'll be doing it alone since Israel has frozen immigration to Gaza, which is why his wife is stuck in Egypt and can't join him.

Despite its withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005, Israel still exerts considerable control over the lives of the 1.4 million Palestinians there by controlling access.

The movement of crops crucial to farmers' livelihoods, the decision on when residents of the coastal strip can leave and when they can come back, permission for a foreign-born spouse to move to Gaza - it's all still up to Israel.

Yet Israel says it no longer occupies Gaza because it pulled out its soldiers and settlers. Under international law, Israel argues, it has no obligations to Gaza's residents but on its own initiative will try to keep supplies flowing to the crowded, poverty-stricken territory to avert a humanitarian crisis.
The article goes on to claim that it was the resistance that caused Israel to tighten the knot on Gaza but this overlooks Sharon's claim that the then proposed withdrawal was a "punishment and not a reward for the Palestinians." Only Yediot Aharanot reported it at the time and unfortunately they didn't have a website then. Even more unfortunate, we are left with the increasingly degenerate Counterpunch to carry an interview with Afif Safieh making the claim of Sharon's promise. On the upside, Afif Safieh is more trusted than many a Counterpuncher these days.


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