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Gaza matters « Previous | |Next »
March 7, 2008

The "ballistic intifada" of rocket fire continues, as do Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip and its raids and air attacks inside the enclave. The appalling situation of the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza strip has led a group of development and human-rights agencies - comprising Amnesty International UK, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Trócaire, Care International, Médecins du Monde UK, Cafod and Save the Children UK ---- to call for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of the blockade imposed by the Israeli government.

US PeaceMission.jpg Steve Bell

The report says that the situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than it has ever been since the start of the Israeli military occupation in 1967.

It goes on to say:

The current situation in Gaza is man-made, completely avoidable and, with the necessary political will, can also be reversed. Gaza has suffered from a long-term pattern of economic stagnation and plummeting development indicators.The severity of the situation has increased exponentially since Israel imposed extreme restrictions on the movement of goods and people in response to the Hamas take over of Gaza and to indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel.

It says that the blockade has effectively dismantled the economy and impoverished the population of Gaza and that:
Israel’s policy affects the civilian population of Gaza indiscriminately and constitutes a collective punishment against ordinary men, women and children. The measures taken are illegal under international humanitarian law.

It suggests that international efforts should be directed towards securing a swift end to the blockade of Gaza.

Colin Rubenstein, of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, has an op-ed in The Age in which he writes in that the Palestinian terrorist attack, which killed eight Jewish students and wounded 11 others from ha hail of bullets inside a religious school in Jerusalem, illustrates that:

wanton terrorism remains the key obstacle to achieving the two-state solution that Israel and most others desire...After months of such stepped-up attacks by Hamas, last week Israel launched a brief incursion into Gaza aimed at stopping the incessant rocket fire. This offensive followed Israel's efforts to bring an end to the rocket fire through non-military means - negotiating peace with Abbas while isolating Hamas - and highly targeted military strikes against individual terrorists and terrorist infrastructure.

That ignores the little matter of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, the illegal settlements and the indiscriminate civilian deaths caused by Israel's highly targeted military strikes.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:55 PM | | Comments (2)


I certainly hope that members of Amnesty International UK, Christian Aid, Oxfam, Trócaire, Care International, Médecins du Monde UK, Cafod and Save the Children UK don't get hit by any stray Palestinian rockets.

Rumpole QC,
as you would have read their report you would have noticed this paragraph at the end of the executive summary:

Israel has the right and duty to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks against its civilian population, but the current policy fails to provide Israel with increased security and has led to increasing polarisation. As the head of UNRWA has
pointed out, ‘Hungry, unhealthy, angry communities do not make good partners for peace.’

It results in a gunman armed with a pistol and a Kalashnikov rifle shooting dead eight students of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva (Jewish seminary) in Jerusalem.