More on collective punishment

The Gaza blockade continues. The UN warns that the Isrealis are will be worsening a humanitarian crisis if they do not restore the fuel and electricity supplies to Gaza that have been suspended for the last four days, depleting emergency supplies. Electricity and fuel are necessary to power water pumps, so failure to restore them will result in thirst and disease due to lack of clean drinking water. The Red Cross is negotiating with Israel to pursuade Israel to allow humanitarian aid, especially medicines and food into Gaza.

‘Under international law, Israel has the obligation to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza. It also has the duty to ensure that the vital supplies for the population, including food and medicine, are adequate’

Yesterday, Israeli troops seized a third of the Palestinian cabinet and a further 23 legislators, (democratically elected, remember) all of whom are members of Hamas. The Israelis claim that this is the response to a captured Isreali soldier and Hamas’s declaration of the end of a ceasefire.

Why don’t the Israelis and the international community see how disproportional and unjustified this response is? The blockade has created a situation where Gazans access to food, drinking water, medicine, electricity, and their salaries, has been cut without justification, as collective punishment for the election of Hamas. As predicted, the crisis that the Israelis caused did not result in “security”, but in a Hamas response to the occupation.

To put the Hamas response in perspective, the raid that the Isrealis are citing as cause for this latest closure of Gaza resulted in the death of one soldier and the capture of another. Compare this to the number of people who have died and will die as a result of malnutrition and illness that are directly caused by the blockade. For all that the Israelis cry “security reasons”, they are killing far more civilians than Hamas is, and all as part of illegal collective punishment.

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