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Ship to Gaza: Estelle arrives in Stockholm with a message

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SV Estelle 3
SV Estelle, sailing vessel for the Ship to Gaza. (Photo: Krzysztof Lubelski/Marine Traffic)

This piece was originally published in Aftonbladet on Monday, July 9, 2012

The blockade—or put more correctly and in the term those who are hemmed in prefer: the siege—denies Palestinians in Gaza their human and civil rights. It robs them of their right to live as human beings.

But the siege has not achieved any of the goals that its proponents hold up as arguments in favor of it. It has not stopped sporadic rocket attacks into southern Israel. And it has neither removed Hamas from power nor impeded the recruiting of militia to armed resistance groups.

On the contrary.

The so-called tunnel economy, which is one of the results of the siege, breeds criminals and men in power while devastating the economy and causing businesses to collapse.

The only thing the siege has definitely succeeded in is to magnify bitterness and suspicion on either side of the wall—a wall that encloses the short strip of beach, along with the sea that is forbidden territory for Palestinians.

So the question is not why the siege should be ended but why it has not already been ended. Why is the Israeli government clinging to this inhumane, illegal and—for all parties involved—destructive policy? And why does the international community, which purports to support international law and human rights, keep allowing the siege to continue?

 

There are three factors that may shed some light on that mystery

Geopolitics. Many people were surprised and indignant over the Greek government’s decision last summer to suddenly forbid any and all ships destined for Gaza, regardless of nationality, to depart from its ports. Nobody believed that the reason was concern for the safety of the passengers. Instead, there was an idea thrown around that the highly challenged Greek government had caved in to pressure and that Israel had expanded its siege policy, from then on viewing the entire Eastern Basin of the Mediterranean Sea as its territorial waters, its Mare Nostrum.

That idea was not as baseless as it might appear. On the morning of May 31, 2010, the first constellation of Ship to Gaza/Freedom Flotilla was attacked by an Israeli military force, way out in international waters. The attack resulted in nine deaths and approximately fifty wounded.

A few days after the assault, it became known that there had been a significant natural-gas discovery in the Eastern Basin, named Leviathan after the sea monster in the Old Testament.

According to optimistic calculations, the discovery will transform Israel from an importer into an exporter of energy for decades to follow. Assuming that the discovery lives up to its expectations, it would change the geopolitical status of the region and bring income to the nations surrounding the Eastern Basin of the Mediterranean Sea. To Palestine as well, assuming the nation exists and its borders include a Mediterranean coastline.

israel gasfield
Gas fields located off of the coast of the Gaza Strip. (Image: USGS)

The natural-gas discovery suggests that there may be non-military motives to Israel’s arbitrary expansion of its security zone in the Mediterranean Sea, which occurred at the same time as the freedom of movement for Palestinian fishermen in Gaza was restricted to three nautical miles.
Separation policy.

Israeli policy vis-à-vis the occupied Palestinian territories varies according to area. In the West Bank, it is characterized by colonization, which breaks the territories up into a complicated and not-easily-delineated archipelago of scattered areas. Settlements, checkpoints and Israeli-only highways tear apart Palestinians’ life and work, while they simultaneously resolutely act as barriers to any possibility of a cohesive, independent Palestine.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, Israel implements what one of its own human rights organizations, GISHA, terms separation policy. This policy has significantly deeper roots than those of the settlement evacuations in 2005 or the tightening of the siege in 2007. While residents of the West Bank are granted access to Gaza, it is nearly impossible for Palestinian residents of Gaza to obtain a permit to travel to the West Bank. While trade is permitted between the West Bank (and not only the settlements) and Israel, trade between Gaza and Israel and between Gaza and the West Bank has been virtually eradicated.

The separation policy has yielded some headway, which is noticeable in the language we use. People are increasingly referring to “Gazans” and Gaza rather than as Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with the Strip understood to be an obvious part of the Palestinian territories.

This is worth paying attention to—for initiatives such as Ship to Gaza as well. Advocating for the opening up of relations between the rest of the world and the Gaza Strip, but not the rest of Palestine, might in fact support Israel’s separation policy.

Combined, the colonization of the West Bank and the separation of Gaza offer a clear view of the goal of the occupation: to shatter once and for all the dream of an independent, free Palestine, consisting of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The aim of the occupation policy, including the siege, is to disable the two-state solution that is unanimously backed by the international community and that drives the immense aid efforts which are hailed in lofty speeches and declarations.

Aid policy. The non-profit, religious, private and multinational organizations that provide most of the aid are under severe pressure from their own states and, ultimately, from the so-called “Quartet”, which sets the tone and direction for the involvement of the international community in the region. Threats of canceled aid, or even criminalization, may be used to invoke silence and obedience.

Despite the risks, humanitarian aid organization speak out to point out the unbearable consequences of the siege, demanding action from those who are politically responsible. A short while ago, 50 of the leading aid organizations, with the World Health Organization leading the way, demanded an immediate ending of the siege.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which operates in Gaza and is highly regarded, recently highlighted a dilemma within international, cooperative aid work. In practicality, the aid efforts provide lubricant and financing for the occupation as they relieve Israel of its legal responsibilities for Palestinians’ health and well-being. Without the international aid, the situation in Gaza would very swiftly appear to be just as catastrophic as it is.

The situation is truly absurd. The two-state solution is the motive behind one of the largest aid efforts in history. Israel’s occupation is shooting, blockading, colonizing and bulldozing the two-state solution into annihilation. This systematic destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, which has gone on for decades to varying degrees, and in full force since 2000, is repaired with patchwork through international aid; that is, by taxpayers in the rest of the world.

This creative destruction is what world leaders call a peace process and a road map to peace.

Sv Estelle 1
(Photo: Bilderblogg/Jinge)

Ship to Gaza is proposing a different approach. With Estelle, our sailing schooner, we are sending the Palestinians on the Gaza Strip a message: You are not alone, and you are not forgotten. The situation is grim, but not hopeless. And on board Estelle travels a clear message to world leaders: Let your actions match your grandiose words about human rights; end the siege as a first step toward true peace and justice.

This article was translated from Swedish to English by Christopher Pastorella.

Mikael Lofgren

Mikael Löfgren is the spokesperson for the Ship to Gaza—Sweden.

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33 Responses

  1. Roya on July 14, 2012, 10:17 am

    “On the morning of May 31, 2010, the first constellation of Ship to Gaza/Freedom Flotilla was attacked by an Israeli military force, way out in international waters. The attack resulted in nine deaths and approximately fifty wounded.

    No, not attack, not raid, Gaza Flotilla Massacre. Not Gaza War, Gaza Massacre. Not Lebanon War, Israel-Lebanon War. Things aren’t going to change until we stop using vocabulary that has been pre-approved and kosherized by Zionists.

  2. ritzl on July 14, 2012, 11:08 am

    I’m really curious as to how Israel is going to get away with claiming the whole Levant basin area as its own economic zone. That would seem to be a major escalation of outrageous claims that even the blind deaf and dumb international community could not overlook, which of course makes it about 90% that they will (as opposed to 99% on all the other outrageous claims).

    • Inanna on July 14, 2012, 8:48 pm

      They’re trying to claim as much as they can. They’ve signed an agreement with Cyprus in which they arrogated over 800 sq km of Lebanon’s share to themselves. Lebanon managed to get back about 500 sq km but Israel (with assistance from US envoy Frederic Hof who recommends using methods that ensure Israel gets the best deal) does not want to give back the remaining ~300 sq km. There’s been a lot of going back and forth of the Lebanese Minister of Energy Gebran Bessil to Nicosia about this. Lebanon has gone to the UN with this so we’ll see what happens.

      • ritzl on July 16, 2012, 12:25 am

        Thanks Inanna. My intent in saying that was that Palestinian claims are ignored with impunity because they can be, without international effect. But superimposing that Israeli behavior onto contested, international, high-value, highly-visible, energy resources is a whole new game with a different set of rules.

        Superimposing past practices on a new context seems to be exactly what Israel is doing. It’ll be interesting to see if that effort results in the unintended consequences (for Israel) of a strenuous and visible revisit of those practices in general (i.e. wrt the Palestinians). Another way to say it is that this may be the point that international pushback to Israeli lawlessness begins. Hope so, anyway.

        But then again, [fomenting] instability in the region facilitates the achievement of the hyper-focused Israeli resource interests. I even saw that in one of the articles I read on this, “Europe would prefer to buy from a stable supplier.” as an argument for letting Israel garner the bulk of the find for its own purposes. It’s hard to tell who’s saying that kind of stuff and what the agenda might be, but there it is.

        http://www.investorplace.com/2011/04/israel-shale-oil-leviathan-field-crude/

        The competitive knives will be sharpened on this, imo, where they are not for Palestinian human and/or resource rights. Outcome, TBD.

      • Inanna on July 17, 2012, 10:48 pm

        Thanks for elaborating ritzl. I agree that the Israelis will try to use the same MO re: the Levant basin. But note that they deal more or less fairly with Cyprus (non-Arab country) but not fairly at all with an Arab country (Lebanon) and are assisted in this by the US, which is acting as Israel’s lawyer.

  3. ritzl on July 14, 2012, 12:43 pm

    Oh, and keep up the good work.

  4. JohnAdamTurnbull on July 14, 2012, 12:50 pm

    The decade-old discovery of undersea gas fields in the Levant Basin is a much bigger factor in Israeli policy than is suggested by the amount of attention it gets in human-rights-based political discussions. This discovery is much of the reason why Israel, and to a lesser extent even Hamas, are so determined to separate Gaza from the West Bank. If the energy wealth accrued to all of Palestine, by virtue of its sovereignty over a conventional 200-mile limit, then both Palestinians in Gaza and in the West Bank would be very wealthy people. The possibility of that wealth in the “wrong” hands is, from Israel’s position, far more threatening than anything either the PA or Hamas can now offer.

    Of course, energy wealth is also literally under-lying the relations between Israel and Greece as well. The Island of Crete is a likely pipeline terminal point for gas processing on the way to European markets. Europe, for that matter, currently runs on Russian gas and prefers to keep its future supply choice open. It will do that by going with a winner on the question of Israel-Palestine.

    Last week, the Israeli Navy asked for bigger, more powerful ships. First, the request was rationalized by the need to keep weapons out of Gaza, but, of course, that could be done with a small fleet of inflatables. Then it was admitted that protecting future gas-extraction rigs far off the coast was a more realistic concern.

    Israel is in an interesting bind on this question. An energy source is a critical need for an economy the size of Portugal’s. It’s the major support of stable relations with Egypt. The opportunity to secure a supply — and enrich the Israeli tycoons — is the quiet motor of Israeli policy. With its notional right to a resource exploitation zone off its coast, Gaza is in the way.

    • Hostage on July 16, 2012, 12:23 am

      The decade-old discovery of undersea gas fields in the Levant Basin is a much bigger factor in Israeli policy than is suggested by the amount of attention it gets in human-rights-based political discussions.

      The story has been covered since day one on Iran’s Press TV.

      The possibility of that wealth in the “wrong” hands is, from Israel’s position, far more threatening than anything either the PA or Hamas can now offer.

      Well the good news is that Arafat signed a $4 billion deal with British Gas and the British government invented the principle of retroactive operation of recognition involving acts of a state inside its own territory or territorial waters. That sort of thing usually happens while pursuing claims for enormous sums of money on behalf of banks and businesses in cases like the Tinoco Arbitration, US v Belmont, & etc.

      • ritzl on July 16, 2012, 1:58 am

        Hostage, can you explain what “retroactive operation of recognition involving acts of a state inside its own territory or territorial waters.” means?

        Sorry to be dense.

      • Hostage on July 16, 2012, 10:11 am

        Hostage, can you explain what “retroactive operation of recognition involving acts of a state inside its own territory or territorial waters.” means?

        Surely. When Palestine applied for membership in the United Nations and UNESCO, it cited the bases in international law and its 1988 unilateral declaration of independence – its first act of state. The long standing state practice under customary international law holds that when a government is finally recognized as the government of a country, the recognition is retroactive in effect and validates all the actions and conduct of the government so recognized from the commencement of its existence.

        So despite the fact that no other countries actually recognized the United States of America on the 4th of July 1776, or that it did not exercise effective control over most its territory for many more years, international law still validates all of its subsequent actions and conduct as those of a sovereign state. Something similar has already happened in the case of Palestine, where about 130 countries have extended formal recognition on the bases of international law and its 1988 declaration.

        So Great Britain can, and probably will recognize the State of Palestine and the validity of its $4 billion contract with the British Gas company at a later date – even if the PA is eventually overthrown or dissolved by the Israelis. That’s exactly what happened in the Tinoco Arbitration case. Great Britain only recognized the regime, after it was deposed, in order to pursue financial claims in an oil exploration concession and some Costa Rican notes held by its banks. The court of arbitration agreed, and the principle of retroactive recognition was applied to validate the acts of the defunct regime. Hersh Lauterpact outlined the basic facts of the case in the International Law Report:

        Tinoco overthrew the Gonzales Government of Costa Rica and established a new Government. He governed for two years when he was himself overthrown and the old Government restored to power. During the time the Tinoco Government was governing it granted certain concessions to search for oil to a British company.

        It also passed legislation issuing certain new currencies, and British banks, in the course of business, became holders of much of this currency. The old Government, when it was restored to power, passed acts nullifying the [oil] concessions granted by the Tinoco Government and nullifying the currency laws it had made. The United Kingdom Government argued, on behalf of its nationals, that the legislation passed by the restored Government nullifying the acts of the Tinoco Government was invalid and that the restored Costa Rica Government should recognize the concessions given to British companies and the validity of Tinoco’s currency held by British banks.

        The case was submitted to arbitration and was heard before Taft Chief Justice of the United States. The United Kingdom had always refused to recognize the Tinoco Government as either a de facto or a de jure Government, but despite this it presented its claim at the arbitration proceedings on the basis that the Tinoco Government had in fact and in law been a de facto and a de jure Government and therefore all its acts were valid and its successor had no right to repudiate them. Costa Rica objected to this argument on the ground that the United Kingdom, having consistently refused to recognize the Tinoco Government as either a de facto or a de jure Government, was now estopped from arguing that the Tinoco Government had in fact been a de jure and a de facto one.

        Taft C.J. rejected this argument of the Costa Rica Government . . . . He came to the conclusion that in fact the Tinoco Government had been a de facto Government during the period of its existence. At page 201 of the report of the case he is reported as saying:
        “ Such non-recognition for any reason, however, cannot outweigh the evidence disclosed by the record before me of the de facto character of the Tinoco Government.’’

        The retroactivity rule does not always apply to acts or concessions outside the territory or territorial waters where de jure or effective control would naturally be disputed.

      • ritzl on July 17, 2012, 10:02 am

        Thanks Hostage. Much appreciated. This I/P energy issue seems to be a place where I/L could operate with teeth.

      • JohnAdamTurnbull on July 16, 2012, 2:11 am

        Yes, Press TV likes this one.

        I did some further reading. This is an interesting piece:

        http://al-shabaka.org/policy-brief/economic-issues/gas-fields-gaza-gift-or-curse?page=show

        “However, even if a credit worthy buyer agrees to sign a contract, the developers would still need political and security clearance from Israel to export the gas. Successive Israeli governments since 2000 have refused to provide this. Thus, the developers are faced with an ultimatum amounting to blackmail: either agree to sell the gas to Israel at below market price or don’t sell it at all.

        […]

        There is no clear development plan for Leviathan, but when development goes ahead, it would turn Israel into a net gas exporter. Thus, Israel has its own quantities of gas, and does not need to covet the fields off Gaza. One can only conclude that Israel continues to block the development of the gas fields as part of its blockade against the Gaza Strip.”

      • Hostage on July 16, 2012, 10:37 am

        Thus, Israel has its own quantities of gas, and does not need to covet the fields off Gaza. One can only conclude that Israel continues to block the development of the gas fields as part of its blockade against the Gaza Strip.”

        Yes, but it’s playing dog in the manger with a British exploration company that obtained a 60 percent share of any gas that it finds as part of its 25 year concession. The EU recognizes the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinians over the natural resources of the territory, so Israel is asking for trouble with the UK and the EU in the long run.

  5. HarryLaw on July 14, 2012, 1:58 pm

    ritzl, ” I’m really curious as to how Israel is going to get away with claiming the whole Levant basin area as its own economic zone.” That’s easy, they have already claimed the whole of Palestine, part of Syria and still have eyes for the Litani River and Southern Lebanon. The Israeli High Court has just declared all natural resources in the West Bank [Quarries case] are for the Israelis to virtually do what they like with, who is going to stop them, murder incorporated [the United States] won’t do it, rather they will probably back the Israelis up.

    • Roya on July 14, 2012, 7:33 pm

      Nice descriptive nickname for the U.S., Harry.

    • ritzl on July 16, 2012, 12:50 am

      Agree that sad experience suggests that is one way it could, and may very well go, but see my comment to Inanna upthread.

      This situation is different if only as a contest among relative equals, in a fresh (few “facts on the ground” yet) context, in international fora (including, hypothetically, a high-stakes bidding war between politically influential O/G intermediaries, drilling, and/or production companies).

  6. HarryLaw on July 14, 2012, 4:30 pm

    What is happening to the Gaza gas fields? The Israelis will steal that as they have everything else in Occupied Palestine, here is how the UN in Resolution 1483, [2003] decided how the Coalition must administer natural resources in occupied territory, for the exclusive benefit of the Iraqi people…… 20. Decides that all export sales of petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas from Iraq following the date of the adoption of this resolution shall be
    made consistent with prevailing international market best practices, to be audited by
    independent public accountants reporting to the International Advisory and
    Monitoring Board referred to in paragraph 12 above in order to ensure transparency,
    and decides further that, except as provided in paragraph 21 below, all proceeds
    from such sales shall be deposited into the Development Fund for Iraq until such
    time as an internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq is properly
    constituted; When Abass was told about Israel drilling for oil right on the border of the West Bank a few days ago, with what could be a significant find, he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. What have the Israelis to fear.

    • Hostage on July 16, 2012, 12:44 am

      The Israelis will steal that as they have everything else in Occupied Palestine,

      A British firm owns a 60 percent share in the gas, and I’d imagine the UK would seek sanctions against Israel through the EU if Israel interferes with that 25 year deal with the PA. The Foreign Office is already funding studies that establish the fact that Israel is violating human rights. Israel’s trade agreement with the EU is conditioned on respect for human rights and progress on ending the occupation.

      Some one just engaged Prof James Crawford of Cambridge to write a 60 page opinion which explains that it would not violate any international law or the World Trade Agreement to ban imports of settlement products into the EU regardless of how they are labelled. So it looks like the UK may be poised to step-up the pressure another notch on settlement products. They led the charge on mislabeling: http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/342/LegalOpinionIsraeliSettlements.pdf

      Here is the background on the gas deal: British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.
      The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).
      The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).
      The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.
      The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.

      http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=701

  7. Eva Smagacz on July 14, 2012, 6:22 pm

    Give Abbas a break – he is one wrong move from a dose of polonium.

    • Roya on July 15, 2012, 12:42 pm

      Why would Israel assassinate its own puppet? I’d say Obama is closer than Abbas to being poloniumed given the barely discernible slap on the wrist he gave Netanyahu for the illegal settlements. And that still doesn’t say much.

      • Eva Smagacz on July 15, 2012, 6:02 pm

        Could we please have section on mondoweissisms?
        Mondoweissisim being our own, collective, contribution to vocabulary of Middle East?
        I vote for “being poloniumed” as a first entry.

      • annie on July 16, 2012, 10:19 am

        I vote for “being poloniumed” as a first entry.

        mooser’s ziocaine has to be numero uno’d

      • eljay on July 16, 2012, 10:25 am

        >> mooser’s ziocaine has to be numero uno’d

        +1 to ziocaine as #1!

      • seafoid on July 16, 2012, 10:42 am

        Ziocaine is the besht

      • seafoid on July 16, 2012, 10:44 am

        Is Ziobot a Mondoism ?

      • Hostage on July 15, 2012, 9:37 pm

        Why would Israel assassinate its own puppet?

        Arafat could have filed a declaration with the International Criminal Court against the Israelis any time after July 2002, but it was Abbas that actually did so. Wikileaks revealed that the Israeli military considered the PA’s criminal complaint in the Hague to be an act of war.
        *link to wikileaks.org

        Arafat backed down on Palestine’s bid for statehood when Netanyahu promised to annex most of the West Bank, including all of Area C and Area B. Abbas simply called his bluff and said Palestinians would demand equal rights including the right to vote in Israel if that happened and pressed-on with efforts through the UN. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/1999

        The Palestinians have joined UNESCO over US and Israeli objections, and has been seated among the non-member state delegations during the recent UN diplomatic conferences, despite the objections of Canada, the US and Israel. http://www.group194.net/english/index.php?mode=article&id=30141

        And of course he really proved that he was an Israeli puppet when Palestine got the Church of the Nativity declared a World Heritage site.

  8. Ladidah on July 14, 2012, 9:12 pm

    The discussion of the gas fields is indeed critically important as it sets forth yet another reason for the incessant drive to claim all of the resources of the area for Israeli exploitation and use (the water reservoir beneath the West Bank has similarly – and for a long time – served such a purpose.)

    However, I must question this:

    “The so-called tunnel economy, which is one of the results of the siege, breeds criminals and men in power while devastating the economy and causing businesses to collapse.”

    The tunnel economy is indeed a result of the siege; it has (like all capitalist industries) included exploitation of workers, including young/child workers. Those who have become wealthy in this industry have (again, like most industries) acquired some power as a result of their wealth.

    HOWEVER, the tunnel economy certainly has not “devastated the economy,” on the contrary, it is a reaction to impending economic devastation. The building that exists in Gaza, the relatively full shops of both inexpensive and more expensive products, and certainly the bustling economy in Al-Arish and Egyptian Rafah are largely fueled by the tunnel-driven economy (ie, not profits from the tunnels themselves, but from the goods and products brought through the tunnels, including massive amounts of Al-Arish produced cement). It is unclear how the tunnel economy has caused businesses to collapse, again the rise of the tunnels as an economic driver rather than a last resort for resistance forces came (as the author recognizes) as a result of the siege. Businesses aren’t failing because of the tunnels, but because the tunnels (despite their growing capacity) are not sufficient.

    One key issue is the 1994 Paris Economic Accords, one of the most devastating “agreements” of the Oslo era with ongoing and longlasting impacts for Palestinians. While Israeli commitments under these agreements are rarely fulfilled or recognized, it is these agreements that requires that Rafah shall be an international crossing for persons only rather than goods, and that *all goods entering Gaza must go through an Israeli crossing*.

    The tunnel economy is a popular imperative to survive. The siege needs to be broken, but not just the part that has arrived since 2006, or 2007, or 2009, but the economic siege of the occupation that has been institutionalized in Oslo-era protocols.

    • ritzl on July 16, 2012, 2:22 am

      Thanks Ladidah. The competing economic interests in Sinai v. Gaza and related treaty overlays (real or as rationalizations for the economic interests) truly is complex. I wasn’t aware of the specifics of a lot of what you describe. There seems to be an Occupation Industry in Egypt as well as Israel.

      Open trade will never happen with Israel, but one would hope that the Sinai economy would be poised to benefit from open trade (vastly more than a tunnel economy given the huge need) enough to move, however “informally,” toward opening Rafah for all purposes.

      Maybe even enough benefit to offset, substantially, the military aid we send to Cairo. Different power centers. Different form of corruption though. Yup, complex.

  9. YoungMassJew on July 16, 2012, 2:08 am

    How courageous and noble are the people of Gaza to keep fighting to survive under a brutal inhumane seize that has caused over 50 % unemployment. One can not but get choked up hearing about the plight of the people here who live in a area the size of Washington D.C. thats one of the most densely populated areas in the world that doesn’t have adequate sewage treatment, among many other problems like their houses of worshiped being bombed and families having a picnic being murdered on the beach by the Israeli regime. How I wish I could have ditched the birthrighters in Sderot and snuck into Gaza to help you guys. My thoughts and prayers will always be with the people of Gaza.

    • Roya on July 16, 2012, 1:18 pm

      YoungMassJew, you’re Jewish, from Massachusetts(?), and went on birthright so can I ask how you defied the odds and fell out of love with Zionism/Israel?

      • YoungMassJew on July 16, 2012, 6:19 pm

        To make a long story short, I finally came to my senses after kind of suspecting all along that Israel was indeed a rogue pariah state, but it wasn’t until I scanned Walt and Mearsheimer’s work at barnes and noble did I know the whole truth as well as doing a google search on Israel/Palestine and discovering Mondoweiss a few months ago. As to why I’m able to criticize Israel and Jewish behavior more broadly without any hesitation or guilt, I would refer you to my biographical info as well as my previous posts. I think if you click on my name you’ll find it, but you might need to scroll up/down a bit. When I go into my story, some people think I’m grandstanding.

      • Roya on July 17, 2012, 2:50 pm

        Thanks for sharing. And I hope your SodaStream thing is going well.

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