Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Guest Blogger: Two Sides of Gaza

There are some scary things going on in Gaza. Not surprising, I know. The ceasefire ended recently with the "Merry Christmas" deaths of over 300 Palestinians - civilians mostly. The Palestinian people live in occupied territories in Israel proper, and were shunned by the U.S. after voting in a Hamas party majority in a democratic (key word) election in 2006. Hamas is a political faction that is looked ill upon by Israelis and Americans because of past indiscretions. Look it up. 

On a personal note, Miami, bro was in Israel in '96, and even then, we experienced a blockade of water to the West Bank (described below). We stayed in East Jerusalem, and were without water for a few days. So you know, West Jerusalem, had water, where the Israelis lived, and right next to them, in the Palestinian neighborhood, they had NO running water. Palestinians have been enduring this for decades now. Imagine being without life's basics for an extended period of time, and imagine how you might respond. 

Another note: after reading about how horrible things are in Israel/Gaza/West Bank, please see You Don't Mess with the Zohan. My whole family loved it and Adam Sandler makes some poignant observations on the situation between the Israelis and Arabs, with which I agree wholeheartedly.  

Karin Brown, a friend of my cousin, is living in Jerusalem. It was there that she attended a peace rally detailed below:

Yesterday we attended a protest just outside the gates of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with Israeli students lining one side of the street, and Palestinian students lining the opposite side of the street-- all students of the same university.  The protest was in response to the Israel's air strikes on Gaza, now in their fourth day, that have left over 360 Palestinians dead, and many more injured.  Israel's blockades of Gaza over the past months, years (restricting or completely stopping import/export) have left the hospitals short of medicine and medical supplies-- so they cannot adequately care for those injured by the bombing. This surge in violence marks the end of a 6 month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-- Israel's blockade over the last months means that they did not actually keep up their end of the agreement.  About 80% of Gaza's 1.4 million residents depend on food aid-- and just as recently as Dec 18 this food aid was suspended because Israel closed the border.  Imagine Gaza, a place where life's basics-- water, electricity, gas, food, sanitation--- are not guaranteed.  They are controlled by Israel, withheld by Israel, manipulated by Israel.

Israel has the right to protect its civilians, but there is more to the story than just this. 

The students outside of Hebrew University exchanged chants in their respective languages.  At one point, in response to obscene chants from the Israelis, the crowd of 150 Palestinians turned their backs on the Israelis, and stood in silence with their hands in the air giving peace signs.  As the protest broke up Palestinian students left to donate blood.  

4 comments:

swampthing said...

genocide - mass murder, mass homicide, massacre; annihilation, extermination, elimination, liquidation, eradication, decimation, butchery, bloodletting; pogrom, ethnic cleansing, holocaust.

Jackpot said...

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Anonymous said...

I think that Jackpot is on to something for peace in the middle east.

farrahflave said...

Depressing but coverage from Gaza... MUST WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev6ojm62qwA