Sunday, November 18, 2012

Palestinian Bid for Non-member Observer State

Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison—it is the most densely populated area on this planet. Since the election of Hamas in 2006, Israel has imposed a harsh siege on Gaza. Israel now controls the water, land, and air space of Gaza; Israel mainly controls who and what goes in and out of Gaza; Israel determines the daily number of calories ingested by Gazans (“Put them on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,” said an Olmert advisor); and Israeli gunboats force Gaza’s fishermen to fish within a three-mile limit, in water polluted by Gaza’s Israeli-destroyed sewage system. A recent UNRWA report noted that unless damage to Gaza’s aquifer is reversed, Gaza may not be a "livable place” by 2020. The list goes on and on—this is collective punishment. And, sadly, Israel does this with our tax dollars and with total impunity. Israel wants Gazans to feel powerless; Israel wants Gazans to feel hopeless about even the possibility of a better future. 

Noam Chomsky recently visited Gaza. He reports, “The Gaza Strip could have become a prosperous Mediterranean region, with rich agriculture and a flourishing fishing industry, marvelous beaches and, as discovered a decade ago, good prospects for extensive natural gas supplies within its territorial waters. By coincidence or not, that is when Israel intensified its naval blockade, driving fishing boats toward shore ….”

Perhaps, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are now provoking Gaza, implicitly threatening another assault akin to Operation Cast Lead. During that travesty, it was excruciatingly evident that Gazans were trapped—they had no way to escape. Perhaps Israel is using its current provocation to stop the Palestinian bid for non-member observer state status at the United Nations later this month. Israeli leadership has notified the world that Israel will “go crazy” if the UN grants even limited recognition to the Palestinians. Ehud Barak said the Palestinian UN bid had to be delayed "immediately."

The next day, the IDF went into Gaza with tanks and bulldozers and killed a child. The Popular Resistance Committees fired rockets into southern Israel saying they were a “revenge invoice;” the PRC wanted to make it clear to the world that they saw the Israeli attack as a provocation. However, Americans are mainly ignorant of these facts because our mainstream media keeps us from knowing the facts.

As Annie Roberts wrote, “On Election Day in 2008, Israel invaded Gaza and broke the ceasefire. The ensuing rocket fire was used as the pretext for a full on invasion and war against Gaza beginning 3 weeks later. November 29, the day the Palestinian delegation is expected to submit its bid for observer status at the UN, is two weeks from tomorrow.”

Let’s see what happens.

Helaine Meisler

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