October 28, 2006

Gaza besieged

Here's an International Herald Tribune article by Patrick Seale about the siege of Gaza:
Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain - verbally, at least, a staunch supporter of a two-state solution - must feel a certain sense of guilt at having failed to persuade President George W. Bush to advance the cause of Palestinian self-determination. By joining Bush in the invasion of Iraq, he may have imagined he could persuade the president to advance the Israeli- Palestinian peace process. He had counted without Washington's pro-Israeli neoconservatives, and their influence on Bush's Middle East policy.

Far from reining in the Israeli hawks, messianic settlers, Arab-killers and expansionists, Bush gave them a completely free hand - and continues to do so.

This may explain why Blair, addressing his last Labour Party conference a month ago, announced that he would make resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the priority of his remaining time in office. Alas, no action has followed these brave words, save for a suggestion that Britain would help the Palestinians to build institutions.

Institutions? What fantasy world does Blair inhabit? One and a half million Palestinians, two-thirds of them under the poverty line, suffering 45 percent unemployment, packed into a narrow strip of 360 square kilometers, are being besieged, starved, cut off from the world and bombed on a daily basis, and Blair talks about building Palestinian institutions! How about stopping the killing first? Does Britain's word count for nothing?

I have scoured British government Web sites and have found stirring speeches and statements by the Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and other officials about Iraq, Africa, Afghanistan, climate change and so forth, but not a word about the ongoing criminal subjugation of Gaza.

It has been left to Jan Egeland, the UN humanitarian affairs coordinator, to describe Gaza as a "ticking bomb" and to warn of a social explosion. To end the shameful boycott of the democratically elected Hamas government, there are rumors that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, may appoint Munib al-Masri, a rich businessman from Nablus, to head a government of independent technocrats. At the time of writing, however, Hamas had not agreed to stand aside.

The endurance of Gaza is legendary, but even the bravest man must falter when he can no longer feed his children and his home is reduced to rubble.
I like to paste little snippets but this got more readable as I highlighted the area I wanted to copy. I ought to do a post on the Anglo-American and zionist rejection, indeed destruction, of Palestinian democracy.

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