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July 20, 2017

A ‘de-developed’ Gaza

Editorial

 
July 20, 2017

From the day it took power in Gaza 10 years ago, Hamas has been the target of foes both internal and external. The primary aggressor has, of course, been the state of Israel which ramped up its war on the Palestinian people, using Hamas as an excuse to cut off the two million residents of Gaza from the rest of the world. But it has had assistance from a Palestinian Authority that is still smarting from its defeat in the battle for Gaza in 2007 and Egypt, which has long sealed its border with Gaza. A new UN report, detailing the plight of Gaza, says that the area has “de-developed” in the last 10 years to the point where it has essentially become unlivable. The fault is almost entirely Israel’s, which has all but restricted the entry of essential goods and services into Gaza. It, along with Egypt, blockaded Gaza because it had the temerity to be under the rule of Hamas. This, as the report points out, has had catastrophic effects. The only water aquifer in Gaza is projected to be depleted by the end of the year and water treatment facilities cannot be constructed because Israel has banned the imports of most materials needed for its construction. Even if such facilities were available, they would barely be able to function because Gaza is only given two hours of electricity a day. And now the PA has asked Israel to reduce even further the little electricity it provides.

The UN report, as thorough as it is in documenting the misery in which the people of Gaza live, shies away from stating the obvious conclusion: What Israel is doing in Gaza is collective punishment for a crime no one committed. It has used banned chemical weapons in an illegal war, starved a population to death because it does not approve of its government and refused to allow even basic items like medicine in. As horrific as this treatment is, it is the logical end of Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian land. Having been unable to sap the thirst for freedom, it is making the people of Gaza pay for demanding their essential rights. The question now is what the UN plans to do about the conditions it has detailed in its own report. The hundreds of resolutions passed against Israel in the UN General Assembly for its illegal occupation have been worthless because of the US veto in the Security Council. The UN Secretary General has mostly been silent about Israel’s crimes and US complicity in those horrifying war crimes. It is up to the rest of the world to treat Israel as the pariah state that it deserves to be.