On my sixth visit, I’ve never seen Gaza so devastated

Israel/Palestine
on 60 Comments

I’ve visited the Gaza Strip for each of the past six years, including in 2014 a few months after Israel’s devastating military assault. And yet, I’ve never seen Gaza like I did when I had the privilege of visiting this summer.

I call it a privilege because, due to the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel (with the support of Egypt), which is part of Israel’s now 50-year-old military rule over Palestinians in the occupied territories, internationals allowed in and out of Gaza are few, and Palestinians even fewer. This illegal land, air, and sea blockade, which has just entered its tenth year and amounts to collective punishment, as has been noted by the UN and human rights groups, has decimated the economy of Gaza and allowed for the near complete destruction of critical infrastructure. Experts use the term “de-development” to describe this once-bustling Mediterranean coastal enclave of two million Palestinians.

Nearly half the population are now unemployed and 80% rely on humanitarian assistance from organizations like UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Nearly one million refugees require UNRWA food assistance now, up from 80,000 people in 2000, before the blockade was in place. At its heart, UNRWA is a human development agency, running the largest and one of the best performing public school system in the entire Middle East, 10 times the size of DC Public Schools. But due to decades of Israel’s dispossession, occupation, and systematic oppression of Palestinians, UNRWA is forced to prioritize emergency interventions like food assistance and emergency protection. It’s an affront to humanity.

Upon arriving in Gaza, which requires a permit from Israel and extensive humanitarian coordination, I immediately saw the crippling effects of the ongoing electricity crisis which has been wreaking havoc since March. Electricity is now only available for 2-4 hours a day, a situation that has been exacerbated by internal Palestinian political divides. This has brought life to a near complete stop for many in Gaza, and has enormous public health and environmental implications. In 2012, the UN determined that if trends continued, Gaza wouldn’t be liveable in 2020. Today, the effects of the blockade, recurring violence, and now the electricity crisis have led the UN to conclude that Gaza is basically already unlivable.

The first day of my visit, I visited a water pumping station at Al-Shati refugee camp by the coast. There, I witnessed raw sewage pumping directly into the water. The sewage would normally flow to a treatment plant, but without electricity, that’s not an option. Instead, it pumps directly into the sea, not far from where people swim and fish. Their fish will be contaminated, just like their water. The sea, which is at the heart of Gazan culture, now poisons them. Despite more than 65% of the shoreline being unsafe for humans, people continue to go to the beach because it’s the only source of relief left during the sweltering summer.

At an UNRWA health clinic, I met with doctors and nurses who are facing the challenges of the electricity crisis both at work and home. A nurse shared with me that she wakes up at 2 am to do her family’s laundry because that’s usually when she has electricity. A doctor told me that he only gets 3-4 hours of rest each night because the heat keeps him awake. Regardless of their personal struggles, they both come to the clinic every day committed to providing quality healthcare for their fellow Palestine refugees.

Because the medical equipment runs on a different current than the clinic’s back-up generator, x-ray, ultrasound, lab testing machines and others aren’t able to run at full capacity, and the machines will break down much sooner than they should. The World Health Organization warns that at least 30 hospitals, 70 primary health care centers, and a blood blank in Gaza are at severe risk of full or partial closure due to continued power outages and not enough fuel or spare parts for back-up generators. It’s a health catastrophe in the making.

Skin rashes from heat and bacterial infections, potentially from direct exposure to sewage, are on the rise. In August, it was reported that a five-year-old boy in Gaza died from a brain disease caused by bacteria in the contaminated sea. Cases of psychosomatic illnesses and psychological stress continue to increase too, particularly among children.

An UNRWA counselor I met shared the story of an 11-year-old girl who had recently attempted suicide. One man told me they continue to swim and fish despite the dangers because death would be a relief at this point.

With the stress of simply surviving as great as it is, it’s not surprising that many have little energy left to have hope for the future. The two million people in Gaza are the victims of cruel politics — collateral damage in a cynical political game.

Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip deserve humanitarian support, but no amount of assistance will ever substitute for the necessary political action, including that of the US, to stop the violation of human rights that Palestinians face on a daily basis. Lifting the blockade on Gaza would be a start.

About Abby Smardon

Abby Smardon is Executive Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) USA National Committee

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60 Responses

  1. eljay
    October 12, 2017, 2:59 pm

    The suffering in the basement is the fault of the victims chained in it who refuse to accept the “right” of the rapist to imprison and brutalize them.

    Similarly, Zionists will tell you that the suffering in Gaza is the fault of its inhabitants who refuse to accept that the religion-based identity of Jewish comprises a “right” to a colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

    Zionists – and rapists – are truly hateful and immoral people.

    • JeffB
      October 12, 2017, 3:25 pm

      @Eljay

      Sorry that analogy doesn’t cut it. It isn’t even close to true. There are no chains. Israel’s desire for Gaza is that they agree to be a peaceful state in Gaza. It the Gazans not the Israelis who insisted on no peace. “We recognize the State of Israel. We agree to live in peace with Israel and will coordinate with them as neighbors. Gaza makes no further claims” would end this immediately. If you want to make an analogy the analogy would be something like a nasty attack dog that tries to kill someone every time people go near it and so hasn’t been stuck on a chain tied to a pole in the ground.

      I think the Gazans in 2017 probably are ready to accept an Israeli offer. Netanyahu is missing an opportunity here. But in 2014 they Gazans weren’t. You can read the rhetoric here in the archives about how they were going to defeat Israel.

      • Keith
        October 12, 2017, 4:11 pm

        JEFFB- “It the Gazans not the Israelis who insisted on no peace.”

        Once again, shameless Zionist apologetics from you. Gazans are the experimental subjects of Israel’s matrix of control in which Israel periodically “mows the lawn.” Numerous cease fire agreements contain Israel’s promise to remove the illegal blockage, a promise which Israel always reneges on. The reality is as described in the article, the asymetrical power relations are such that it is Israel which could unilaterally end the conflict, the Palestinians in Gaza relatively powerless. Ilan Pappe discusses:

        “Thus in 1967, the Israeli government then — and all the successive governments since — regarded the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as territories that had always be under either direct or indirect Israeli rule. The second decision was that the people who live in these territories will not be granted Israeli citizenship, nor were they allowed to have their own sovereignty or independence. They were also not driven out, as were the Palestinians in 1948. So, they were intentionally defined as people without citizen rights and at the mercy of first military rule, and then civil administration that did not only violate their civic rights, but also their human rights. The only system I know where people are deprived of these basic rights is the prison system. These people were incarcerated in this mega-prison for no other crime than being Palestinians. They were allowed some benefits, such as working in Israel and a limited measure of autonomy if they consented to such life — this is the open prison model, and they were collectively punished when they resisted, and this is the maximum-security prison.” (Ilan Pappe) https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/the-biggest-prison-on-earth/

      • JeffB
        October 12, 2017, 4:20 pm

        @Keith

        These are the terms: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/world/middleeast/israel-gaza-strip-conflict.html

        There is no promise to remove the blockage much the opposite. And no Gaza has never agreed to live at peace with Israel. Mowing the lawn is degrading enemy forces that’s a standard tactic against an enemy where you don’t see concentration of force. And no Israel cannot unilaterally get Gaza to stop attacking Israel. That’s the problem. The Gazans will not agree to respecting the border.

      • lonely rico
        October 12, 2017, 4:32 pm

        >JeffB

        There are no chains.

        But there is a concrete wall, with sniper towers for the COURAGEOUS Israeli soldiers to shoot the caged unarmed Palestinians. And there are heavily armed navel vessels, shooting unarmed Palestinian fishermen, trying desperately to feed their starving families. And there are fighter planes, and drones that terrorize and murder helpless Palestinians.
        Israel’s sadism de-legitimizes the Zionist state every single day of the ten years of this illegal blockade.
        Absent the emergency UN aid, massive starvation would decimate the population of Gaza, and this is what Israel desires!
        JeffB, your vacuous BS defending this criminality is disgusting.
        Israel is an affront to humanity.

      • eljay
        October 12, 2017, 5:01 pm

        || JeffB @Eljay

        Sorry that analogy doesn’t cut it. It isn’t even close to true. There are no chains. Israel’s desire for Gaza is that they agree to be a peaceful state in Gaza. It the Gazans not the Israelis who insisted on no peace. … ||

        Okay, okay, there are no chains. The rapist allows his victims to roam free in the basement. And despite his generosity, those bitches still insist on no peace.

        || … If you want to make an analogy the analogy would be something like a nasty attack dog that tries to kill someone every time people go near it and so hasn’t been stuck on a chain tied to a pole in the ground. … ||

        Your sanitized analogy conveniently omits the fact that those self-entitled people entered the dog’s yard, claimed it for themselves, set up tents, beat the dog, chained it in a corner of the yard and killed its pups. But, yeah, it’s all the dog’s fault for being “nasty”.

      • John O
        October 12, 2017, 5:03 pm

        @JeffB

        “The Gazans will not agree to respecting the border.”

        You mean Israel has agreed where its border lies? Who knew?

      • JeffB
        October 12, 2017, 5:05 pm

        @lonely rico

        Your missing the reference to chains in the analogy. Answer my question I always ask. If the situation is as you say, why haven’t the Gazans asked the Israelis for terms of surrender? Why is the Gazans don’t (or at least didn’t prior to 2014) see themselves as being as helpless as you do?

      • Keith
        October 12, 2017, 5:11 pm

        JEFFB- “There is no promise to remove the blockage much the opposite.”

        You are correct for once. Israel promised to ease the illegal blockade, not end it, but didn’t do that either. For an accurate assessment of the situation, I quote Noam Chomsky.

        “On August 26th, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.

        This is, however, just the most recent of a series of ceasefire agreements reached after each of Israel’s periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza. Throughout this period, the terms of these agreements remain essentially the same. The regular pattern is for Israel, then, to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it — as Israel has officially recognized — until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality. These escalations, which amount to shooting fish in a pond, are called “mowing the lawn” in Israeli parlance. The most recent was more accurately described as “removing the topsoil” by a senior U.S. military officer, appalled by the practices of the self-described “most moral army in the world.” (Noam Chomsky) http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/whats-next-for-israel-hamas-and-gaza/

      • JeffB
        October 13, 2017, 6:33 am

        @JohnO

        “The Gazans will not agree to respecting the border.”
        You mean Israel has agreed where its border lies? Who knew?

        Israel has a clear cut border with Gaza. There is no debate on that border at all. Interestingly the Israeli right has been talking about granting Gaza more land in Israel proper (and potentially exchange some Israeli land for Egyptian land) and expanding the territory. There remain property issues with the West Bankers but not the Gazans.

      • JeffB
        October 13, 2017, 6:58 am

        @Eljay

        Your sanitized analogy conveniently omits the fact that those self-entitled people entered the dog’s yard, claimed it for themselves, set up tents, beat the dog, chained it in a corner of the yard and killed its pups. But, yeah, it’s all the dog’s fault for being “nasty”.

        They never did that to the Gazans either. Here is a map of Yishuv settlement. You can see there is almost nothing in the towns and villages for the people who became Gazans.

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Palestine_Index_to_Villages_and_Settlements%2C_showing_Land_in_Jewish_Possession_as_at_31.12.44.jpg

        The only major incident in Gaza prior to the 1947 war was in 1929 when the Gazans ethnically cleansed hundreds of Palestine Jews (not recent immigrants from Europe) to Tel Aviv. I know you want to make this a reaction to Jewish aggression but there wasn’t any. Gazans have nothing to gripe about prior to 1947. And I should mention in the early 1970s when Israel does a major construction project which even neutral foreign observers agree is for the benefit of the Gazans (the effects of this construction problem are probably the reason the health problems took until the 2010 to appear) it is the PLO who objects. You don’t have any settlement until 1972. The barrier doesn’t exist until 1994.

        Much as you would like to blame the Jews history doesn’t allow it. The Gazans were the aggressors on this one. Excluding the 47 war, the conflict with them starts with the first Intifada.

      • eljay
        October 13, 2017, 8:43 am

        || JeffB: @Eljay … Here is a map of Yishuv settlement. You can see there is almost nothing in the towns and villages for the people who became Gazans. … ||

        That map of “Land in Jewish Possession” show that:
        – most of Palestine was not in Jewish possession; and
        – Gaza was a large region within Palestine.

        Since then:
        – Palestine was partitioned;
        – the “Jewish State” stole, occupied and colonized most of territory outside of its / Partition borders; and
        – Gaza was reduced to a small coastal region, its population confined and isolated from the remainder of not-Israel.

        But, sure, Zionists ain’t never done nuthin’ to the Palestinians in Gaza.

      • John O
        October 13, 2017, 9:25 am

        @JeffB

        “property issues with the West Bankers”

        Your gift for comedic euphemism is truly remarkable.

      • JeffB
        October 13, 2017, 12:11 pm

        @Eljay

        Gaza was reduced to a small coastal region, its popuLation confined and isolated from the remainder of not-Israel.

        That’s also their fault. Prior to the 1st Intifada there was free and liberal travel from Gaza, to Jewish and Israeli Arab parts of Green Line Israel, to the West Bank. There was even reasonably good travel in and out of the country for Gazans.

        The Gazans had that. They more than the West Bankers decided to screw that up. The first intifada starts at Jabalia. And their really good reason for screwing up that coexistence was there was a bad traffic accident that was, I will admit, an Israeli guy’s fault. Normally you would expect them to argue for a bigger settlement check from the company that owned the truck or protesting to have the driver’s license rescinded. The Gazans instead decided to: call a general strike, boycott cooperation with the Israeli Civil Administration institutions in the Gaza Strip, start an economic boycott, refuse to pay taxes, refuse to drive Palestinian cars with Israeli licenses, graffiti, barricading, and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the IDF. And after a 1/2 dozen years of them not being willing to act appropriately, they got a sealed border. As they engaged in terrorism against Israel and Egypt that border has tightened and now mostly they can’t travel.

        I will agree you can blame Israel for not being a society of perfect drivers, where traffic accidents happen. The rest of the mess is mainly on the Gazans. Its sheer bigotry to ignore their role in constant escalation.

      • eljay
        October 13, 2017, 12:51 pm

        || JeffB: @Eljay … I will agree you can blame Israel for not being a society of perfect drivers, where traffic accidents happen. The rest of the mess is mainly on the Gazans. Its sheer bigotry to ignore their role in constant escalation. ||

        Yup, he puts a roof over their heads, feeds them and buys them nice clothes. You can blame the rapist for not being a perfect man, but the rest of the mess is mainly on the ungrateful bitches in the basement. It’s sheer bigotry to ignore their role in constant escalation.

        You’re as hateful and immoral a Jewish supremacist (Zionist) as Jack Green…but not nearly as amusing.

      • Jane Porter
        October 13, 2017, 3:51 pm

        Why does israel have to be “recognized by the Palestinian?”. A real country doesn’t have to demand to be recognized,
        So it means thatIsrael has doubts about its legality
        Imagine that in the Warsaw ghetto or in Auchwitz, that the occupying Germans would have compelled the inmates of the camp as well as the rest of the polish people to “recognize” their land as a German country. And don’t forget the zionism was invented by german jews, completely german culturally. Prussia in the 18th century invaded their eastern neighbors, displaced the original population to install german colonists, The French at the end of the 19th century compelled the Kabyian in Algeria to leave their land to install french colonists, and as the people refused they burned their villages massacred part of villagers, and put their people on their land. The french Pieds-noirs were poor people in France, the government wanted to get rid of them, fearing new uprising and revolutions, so they made them rich settlers in Algeria. So if you look at the History of Israel , the plot is quite similar.
        In the History the invaders of a land became legal when they mixed with the population,Ex: the franks who invaded Gaule (France) but mixed themselves with the original population. And that was not the case of Israel, who wanted Palestine for ” jews only.” That’was the Zionists founders ‘s aim.

      • eljay
        October 13, 2017, 4:30 pm

        || Jane Porter: Why does israel have to be “recognized by the Palestinian?”. … ||

        Jewish supremacists (Zionists) want their non-Jewish victims to legitimize:
        – their own dispossession;
        – the loss of most of their native territory to the Zionist colonialist project; and
        – the existence of Israel as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” that, at best, will treat them as second-class citizens.

      • JeffB
        October 13, 2017, 7:39 pm

        @Jane Porter

        Why does israel have to be “recognized by the Palestinian?”.

        That was the big agreement that came out of the 1991 talks that led to Oslo and the early Oslo talks. All the peace for all the land. Israel had wanted to give the Palestinians some land in exchange for resolving most claims. The Palestinian side had wanted to resolve some claims in exchange for all the land. This formula was the compromise. The final status would resolve all Palestinian claims. The Palestinians would get all the 1967 territory back. Both sides then started waffling a bit. Palestinians felt that RoR was an individual right that they could not totally negate in a peace treaty. Israelis had certain specific pieces of land they really really wanted like the road to Hebrew University or the Kotel.

        And then you have settlements making “all the land” harder and harder. And then you have Palestinian terrorism and Gaza making “all the peace” something the Palestinians can’t deliver. Then you have the Arab league sweetening the deal, and then pulling back….

        But without a solid resolution what do the Palestinians have to trade for any of the land Israel wants? Even with a solid resolution it is getting harder to see that they have enough to trade to justify the cost. That’s why Liberal Zionists were so upset about the settlement project. Without settlements reasonable people could argue that Israel was getting a much worse deal. With the settlements having raised the cost…. almost everyone can see the ’67 are not a good deal for Israel.

        A real country doesn’t have to demand to be recognized

        Is China a real country? Was the Soviet government of Russia real? Is Norway a real country? The Philippines? Zimbabwe? They all had recognition problems.

      • oldgeezer
        October 17, 2017, 9:53 pm

        @jeffb

        Name one border Israel has ever agreed to respect. I will give you two. Egypt and Jordan. Not that I know it respects them of course. I’ll just accept an argument they do. So technically I should say name one more.

        Witness the recent violation of Syrian airspace which Israel categorized as a routine (violation and act of war against Syria) operation.

        In the last lawn mowing exercise it was no the Gazans who did not respect the border that triggered the battles. It was Israel. They violated the border to carry out murders. The Gazans responded at which time the perps (Israel) whined they were being attacked.

        This was confirmed by Israel in interviews with the ToI in which they admitted that Hamas had been respecting it’s agreement and enforcing the agreement against other militant groups that disobeyed.

        Israeli zionists, such as yourself, are basically lying scum. My apologies to biological flotsam. You certainly have been caught in many lies in the past couple of weeks as you’ve spewed your acid induced views of the ME conflict.

      • JeffB
        October 18, 2017, 12:03 pm

        @oldgeezer

        Egypt, Jordan is Israel’s southern and eastern borders. Israel respects the Mediterranean sea, the fish haven’t been invaded. So that leaves the north. Which is the one border where the Arabs won’t sign a peace treaty. It is worth noting the Northern border with Lebanon was quiet before the Palestinians moved in. Which I think shows that Israel is willing to live at peace if its neighbors are.

        Witness the recent violation of Syrian airspace which Israel categorized as a routine (violation and act of war against Syria) operation.

        Yes. Syria when it existed as a country was in a declared state of war with Israel, and has attempted invasion multiple times. It is not entitled to security of its airspace while being at war. If there ever is again a Syria to sign a peace treaty then can sign one and then there will be secure border.

        This was confirmed by Israel in interviews with the ToI in which they admitted that Hamas had been respecting it’s agreement and enforcing the agreement against other militant groups that disobeyed.

        Hamas as the government of the territory is responsible for any militia operating within its territory that they are not actively opposing. If the Michigan militia attacked Canada, the USA wouldn’t be respecting the border.

      • oldgeezer
        October 18, 2017, 6:44 pm

        @jeffb

        I can’t easily blockquote as i am on my phone but…

        Bs.. Israel does respect it’s treaties with Egypt and Jordan due to US pressure. It certainly does not respect maritime law particularly in terms of enforcement of it’s blockade. And also in terms of ceasefire agreements with Hamas. It’s criminal infractions are numerous and well documented. In terms of Syria there is a ceasefire and Israeli incursions into Syrian airspace are a violation of that agreement. Goes to show that Israel is a rogue state whose word cannot be trusted on the wormd stage. It must be said again and again israel never misses an opportunity to delegitimize itself

        Israel has been bee offered many chances for a peace treaty but refuses to aacept or negotiate one. With anyone for that matter as the Jordan and Egypt treaties only exist due to external pressure.

        Israel has no rigbt of anything as long as it insists on being an outlaw regime.

        I call bs on your last point as well. Certainly the US would be responsible but provided it acted against the michigan militia. Just as Hamas has acted against militants. If I use your logic then Israel is responsible for carrying out attacks against 20 Christian churches including total destruction proving that there is no freedom of religion in the 2bit state and that they are waging war against Christianity. No I dont claim that. That is your claim and logic.

    • Maghlawatan
      October 12, 2017, 5:35 pm

      AIPAC exists to.provide carte blanche to Israeli nihilism in Gaza. 3000 years of Jewish Menschheit were traded for political power. Nobody in Congress dares stand against the machine. 100 pieces of legislation per year. It is grotesque. This is Zionism.

      • Jack Green
        October 13, 2017, 9:50 pm

        Jane Porter

        Herzl, the father of Zionism, was born in what is now Hungary.

      • Jack Green
        October 13, 2017, 9:57 pm

        Jane Porter

        Unlike the Prussian & French invaders, the Zionists were returning to land from which their ancestors had been dragged off into slavery. Also, the Zionists bought land rather than taking it by force.

        While some Zionists would have liked all gentiles to leave, other Zionists did not want all gentiles to leave.

      • Mooser
        October 14, 2017, 3:07 pm

        “Herzl, the father of Zionism, was born in what is now Hungary.”

        And although Herzl may have studied with an expert dialectician and grammarian, “Jack” can tell that he was born Hungarian!
        Not only Hungarian, but of royal blood, he is a prince!

      • RoHa
        October 14, 2017, 6:10 pm

        A Triumph for Professor Higgins!

      • amigo
        October 15, 2017, 10:23 am

        “Unlike the Prussian & French invaders, the Zionists were returning to land from which their ancestors had been dragged off into slavery.”jacko

        Ah yes . another myth about Jews being dragged off to slavery in Eygpt.

        “Opinion Were Jews Ever Really Slaves in Egypt, or Is Passover a Myth?

        Where is the real proof – archaeological evidence, state records and primary sources?

        Here’s a question for you: what do actor Charlton Heston, DreamWorks animation studios and Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin all have in common? Well, they’ve all, at one time or another, perpetuated the myth that the Jews built the pyramids. And it is a myth, make no mistake. Even if we take the earliest possible date for Jewish slavery that the Bible suggests, the Jews were enslaved in Egypt a good three hundred years after the 1750 B.C. completion date of the pyramids. That is, of course, if they were ever slaves in Egypt at all.

        We are so quick to point out the obvious lies about Jews and Israel that come out in Egypt – the Sinai Governors claims that the Mossad released a shark into the Red Sea to kill Egyptians, or, as I once read in a newspaper whilst on holiday in Cairo, the tale of the magnetic belt buckles that Jews were selling cheap in Egypt that would sterilize men on contact – yet we so rarely examine our own misconceptions about the nature of our history with the Egyptian nation.

        read more: https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/the-jewish-thinker/were-jews-ever-really-slaves-in-egypt-or-is-passover-a-myth-1.420844

        Must be painful watching all those myths you so “slavishly” believe being crumbled into dust.

      • Mooser
        October 15, 2017, 2:22 pm

        “A Triumph for Professor Higgins!”

        Now wait, now wait! Give credit where it’s due; a lot of the glory goes to you!

  2. Maghlawatan
    October 12, 2017, 4:57 pm

    The sewage is such a strong image of the limits of Israeli sadism. It flows up the coast. To Israeli beaches.

  3. Maghlawatan
    October 12, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Jews in Israel still keep dairy and meat apart whîle sewage flows into.the Med from Gaza. Psychically the whole Zionist project is filth. Back in the old days Jews were forbidden by their own rabbis from going to Palestine. The return was always a fantasy. The land without a people. They were all shunted out of sight to Gaza. Judaism is a way of life. The minute you start to abuse people in order to be Jewish it becomes nihilism. The old rabbis understood that.

    • Jack Green
      October 13, 2017, 9:58 pm

      Maghlawatan

      Jews had been persecuted for centuries in majority-gentile countries. Even when not actively persecuting the Jews, the majority-gentile countries refused to give refuge to the Jews when they needed it. There would have been no Holocaust if majority-gentile countries would have allowed in Jewish refugees who were escaping from the Nazis. The idea of Zionism was that Jews would return to their homeland & have a majority-Jewish country because majority-gentile countries had failed to provide safety for the Jews.

      • RoHa
        October 14, 2017, 9:18 am

        ” There would have been no Holocaust if majority-gentile countries had allowed in Jewish refugees who were escaping from the Nazis.”

        The basic conditional constructions are not complicated. Why are they so difficult to learn?

        And it is wrong to seek safety for a group at the expense of third parties.

      • Marnie
        October 15, 2017, 7:58 am

        All countries have failed to provide safety for their citizens who are women and children. Or people of color. The idea of zionism was purely a racist supremacist one, to steal the land from the people living on it and claim it as the jewish homeland. Now I’ve got to vomit because posts like yours are incredibly nauseating.

  4. JosephA
    October 12, 2017, 10:33 pm

    A sad, sad state of affairs for humanity. May one day Egypt or Israel stop this insane blockade.

  5. jon s
    October 14, 2017, 5:15 pm

    The naval blockade was judged to be legal by the Palmer commission:

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/Palmer-Committee-Final-report.pdf

    see p.38-45

    • Annie Robbins
      October 14, 2017, 8:41 pm

      the palmer commission? wasn’t Uribe on that commission?

      In June 2010 an international human rights mission investigated the biggest mass grave in the western hemisphere — containing some 2,000 execution victims who had been dumped there since 2004 — which had just been discovered in the Colombian town of La Macarena. At the same time Uribe travelled to that very locality but not to pay his condolences to the victims’ families, or guarantee that an investigation would determine what happened there. Instead, he went to visit the local military base — exactly the same people that, according to victims’ reports, filled that mass grave with its grisly contents — to praise them for their work.

      …Uribe’s scorn for human right defenders is notorious. According to Human Rights First, “President Uribe and other administration officials have branded [human rights defenders] as terrorist sympathizers and have insinuated that illicit connections exist between human rights NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and illegal armed groups. Irresponsible comments by government officials in Colombia put the lives of human rights defenders at even greater risk and threaten to undermine the value and credibility of their work

      • Donald Johnson
        October 14, 2017, 9:42 pm

        Thanks Annie. What kind of mind reads this article about the effects of the blockade and then says it’s legal?

        Israelis and their supporters think BDS is viciously antisemitic when nothing anyone has proposed comes close to the effects of the Gaza blockade. I don’t know if this is racism or extreme narcissism or both.

      • JeffB
        October 18, 2017, 12:17 pm

        @Donald

        Israelis and their supporters think BDS is viciously antisemitic when nothing anyone has proposed comes close to the effects of the Gaza blockade

        You have been on Mondoweiss far too long to believe that. You see things to be done to the Israelis proposed well beyond the Gaza blockade regularly here. Ask Amigo or Echinococcus about their proposals (100% ethnic cleansing and 100% population destructive respectively). The rhetoric of the BDS movement is genocidal. That’s been the objection. There are BDSers who only support mild sanctions but then why belong to a movement with such rhetoric? If you mean the BDSers don’t have any realistic possibility of carrying out a blockade in the near future, of course that is true. The movement is silly in trying to achieve policy objectives well beyond what mild sanctions can with mild sanctions and the movement is equally silly in believing that anyone wants to all out war on a nuclear power over the Palestinians.

        The Gaza blockade is cruel. It never should have been necessary to inflict this level of harm to get the Palestinians to finally admit their “armed resistance” fantasy was totally unworkable. When Hamas took control there should have been an immediate stated desire for cooperation and coexistence with Israel. The destruction and loss was totally unnecessary. The people though who encouraged the Gazans all through with promises of a level of “international solidarity” that they couldn’t deliver on were you all, the Arab states and the Europeans. As I’ve said here for many years the only state in the world for whom the disposition of the territories is a matter of vital national interest is Israel. Ultimately that means Israel will decide what does or doesn’t happen. That’s who the Palestinians need to be appealing to and negotiating with. Not the UN, not BDS, not even the USA.

        Gaza has done a lot of harm to itself in the last dozen years. It needs an awful lot of help. The country in the best position to help doesn’t like the Gazans. A responsible government would be addressing those problems.

    • Maghlawatan
      October 15, 2017, 2:49 pm

      Who paid for the Palmer commission? Weinstein or Adelson?

  6. jon s
    October 15, 2017, 7:11 am

    I’m not a legal expert, but it makes sense to enforce a naval blockade of a territory under the control of a terrorist organization. In any case the terrible situation in Gaza -which may become uninhabitable within the next few years if things don’t change – is not due to the naval blockade.
    I would like nothing more than to see a prosperous Gaza , not only for altruistic reasons: it’s never a good idea to have a desperate and starving neighbor next door.
    Hamas has totally failed to provide anything but misery for their own people . This failure on the part of Hamas is apparently one of the reasons for the recent agreement with the PA.

    • Maghlawatan
      October 15, 2017, 9:43 am

      Jon

      You are one of the reasons I think Israel is doomed. If educated lefties can’t understand the evil of Zionism what hope do Beitar fans havé? In Germany in the 40s the support of people like you for the status quo led to catastrophe. Gaza is a system run by Jews.Pauperisation is deliberate. The destruction of the sewage system is deliberate. 80% in need of charity is deliberate.

    • Marnie
      October 15, 2017, 12:03 pm

      “it’s never a good idea to have a desperate and starving neighbor next door”.

      Why? Because you might actually have to help them? You don’t want them to be prosperous; what if they win?

    • jon s
      October 15, 2017, 3:39 pm

      Maghlawatan,I would like to see the people of gaza free and prosperous.I would like to see a whole different government from the one we’ve got. How does that make me a supporter of the status quo?
      And Gaza is run by Hamas, not “by Jews”.

      • Marnie
        October 15, 2017, 9:36 pm

        “And Gaza is run by Hamas, not “by Jews”.”

        No. That may be the lie you tell yourself to get to sleep, but in reality, Hamas was democratically elected and israeli has protested, in some of the strongest, deadliest ways possible. Hamas has no control of coming and going, has no control over its coastline, has no control of what comes in, has no airport, has no factories (bombed by israel), has no infrastructure (bombed by israel) and no electricity (that’s right).

      • ErsatzYisrael
        October 16, 2017, 10:45 am

        jon s said on October 15, 2017, at 3:39 pm:

        And Gaza is run by Hamas, not “by Jews”.

        The belligerent occupying power in all of Palestine including Gaza is the genocidal Zionist apartheid regime, not “Hamas”.

        And the currency, the population register, the collection of taxes and customs duties, the territorial sea adjacent to the Gaza Strip, the airspace above Gaza, the illegal blockade of Gaza, the water supply in Gaza, the electrical system in Gaza, the entire electromagnetic spectrum in Gaza, all border crossings into and out of Gaza, etc., are run by the genocidal Zionist apartheid regime, not “Hamas”.

      • jon s
        October 16, 2017, 10:45 am

        Marnie,
        Maybe you should connect the dots: with Hamas rule, that’s what they’ll get. No development, no hope.

      • ErsatzYisrael
        October 16, 2017, 11:45 am

        jon s said on October 16, 2017, at 10:45 am:

        Marnie,
        Maybe you should connect the dots: with Hamas rule, that’s what they’ll get. No development, no hope.

        Zio dimwit,
        Maybe you should quit talking out your backside and go play with your toys:
        with Zionist apartheid rule, there can never be peace in Palestine.

      • Marnie
        October 16, 2017, 12:20 pm

        jon s
        October 16, 2017, 10:45 am

        Marnie,
        Maybe you should connect the dots: with Hamas rule, that’s what they’ll get. No development, no hope.

        Dear jon –
        I have. Here’s the dots: Hamas won the election and the zionist state has been trying to bomb them into submission ever since, about every 2-3 years actually. If they had no hope, they’d give up. In the meantime, the zionist state has been racking up the war crimes for the ICC because the world sees what’s going on. You go ahead and keep defending the indefensible though.

      • Mooser
        October 16, 2017, 12:52 pm

        “ErsatzYisrael” (love that nym), there’s no point in getting upset with “Jon s”. He’s just a cracker who thinks he’s a matzoh.

    • ErsatzYisrael
      October 16, 2017, 10:58 am

      jon s said on October 15, 2017, at 7:11 am:

      …it makes sense to enforce a naval blockade of a territory under the control of a terrorist organization.

      I agree, the terrorist Zionist apartheid regime currently controlling Gaza needs to be neutralized, pronto.

  7. Ossinev
    October 15, 2017, 10:00 am

    @Jon S
    “I would like nothing more than to see a prosperous Gaza , not only for altruistic reasons: it’s never a good idea to have a desperate and starving neighbor next door”

    Aaaaahhh. So reassuring. So its pure Zionist altruism not the smell of the bombed and burnt out family homes or the smell of the untreated sewage floating up towards the Tel Aviv beaches and the desperate/starving neighbour syndrome and the effect of all of these on the quality of Chosen People life and Chosen Land property values.

  8. jon s
    October 17, 2017, 12:35 pm

    The people of Gaza should have better schools, better health care, massive investments in infrastructure, agriculture, industry and commerce. Hamas has utterly failed to address those needs.

    • Mooser
      October 17, 2017, 1:08 pm

      “jon s” got his pilpul prescription refilled the other day, (when he got the brilliant idea to blame the nakba on the Palestinians)
      and he’s been flying high ever since. And when combined with thread-jumping, how can he lose?

    • eljay
      October 17, 2017, 2:16 pm

      || jon s: The people of Gaza should have better schools, better health care … ||

      I agree.

      || … massive investments in infrastructure, agriculture, industry and commerce. Hamas has utterly failed to address those needs. ||

      Hamas isn’t blocking “massive investments in infrastructure, agriculture, industry and commerce”.

      But I agree with you:
      – Israel ends its land, sea and air blockade of Gaza.
      – Hamas freely solicits massive investments in infrastructure, agriculture, industry and commerce.
      – Hamas takes the credit if it succeeds at delivering better schools and better health care, and the blame if it fails to deliver.

    • amigo
      October 17, 2017, 4:46 pm

      “The people of Gaza should have better schools, better health care, massive investments in infrastructure, agriculture, industry and commerce. Hamas has utterly failed to address those needs.” Jon S

      Don,t forget the beautifully manicured and fertilised green lawns which require the requisite periodic mowing and provide A Tank training course for your brave idfers on their way to blow the hell out of all that hi tech infrastructure and agricultural industry.

      Sure teach.

    • oldgeezer
      October 18, 2017, 7:17 pm

      @jon s

      You’re a total fake. Assuming you are not deaf dumb and blind you are well aware that Israel keeps flattening civilian infrastructure. A war crime.

      Indeed it is not only Gaza but it has done the same to Lebanon and is now publicly threatening to do it again. Israel has beco.e a criminal state. By it’s own choice. Despicable brigands.

  9. Ossinev
    October 17, 2017, 1:29 pm

    @Jons
    “The people of Gaza should have better schools, better health care, massive investments in infrastructure, agriculture, industry and commerce. Hamas has utterly failed to address those needs”

    Ah but Zioland bless has really really addressed those needs in the last decade by bombing Gaza`s electricity plants,sewage plants,schools,hospitals,office buildings,roads etc etc etc.That`s even without taking into consideration the incineration of thousands of innocent civilians including hundreds of children

    Yes I can almost picture you reaching for your much thumbed Hasbara script. Let me guess is it going to be a million, one hundred thousand,ten thousand rockets are fired at Israel from Gaza every nanosecond.

    Good to know that people on the “Israeli Left” !!! have got a handle on the problem and yes surprise surprise it has nothing to do with the massive tonnage of high tech explosives which Zioland has dropped on Gaza. It`s all the fault of Hamas and their relentless barrage of firecrackers.

  10. jon s
    October 18, 2017, 4:10 pm

    Hamas could have made addressing the needs of their people -all the items that I mentioned- their top priority. If peaceful civilian development would have been their top priority -and not trying to kill Jews- the people of Gaza could have been on the road to reconstruction and prosperity. But I suppose that expecting that kind of transformation from Hamas is like expecting a shark to become a vegetarian.

    • Mooser
      October 18, 2017, 5:47 pm

      “But I suppose that expecting that kind of transformation from Hamas is like expecting a shark to become a vegetarian.”

      Ta-da! Presenting the “Israeli left”!

      • Mooser
        October 18, 2017, 7:37 pm

        Their politics run the gamut, from Z to Z.

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