Gaza: The Auschwitz of our time
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
In 1940, several months after invading Poland in September 1939, the Nazis forced about 500,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, surrounding it with a high wall. Tens of thousands died from hunger and disease. Eventually, 300,000 were sent to death camps, mainly Treblinka in eastern Poland.
Similarly, Israel is now incarcerating nearly a million and a half helpless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip into a hell similar in nature to the Warsaw Ghetto. The Gaza concentration camp is not only fitted with a wall, but also with every conceivable tool of repression, such as electric fences and watch towers manned by Gestapo-like trigger-happy Jewish soldiers who shoot first and ask questions later.
Moreover, thousands of Israeli soldiers, are surrounding Gaza in a hermetic manner, shooting and killing any Palestinian trying to escape, e.g. enter Israel to search for work or even food.
Palestinian kids survive on bread and tea
Even Palestinian kids playing soccer near the hateful fences, are routinely riddled with bullets or reduced into pieces of human flesh by the "most moral army in the world."
As a result of these genocidal designs, Gazans in the thousands are dying of malnutrition and illness resulting from anemia. Moreover, Children in great numbers are surviving on a meager and totally inadequate diet consisting mainly of bread and tea.
This week, this writer contacted several Gaza families and asked to speak with the kids. The answers I received were truly horrifying. I did speak with 10 kids and was shocked to find out that aseven of the kids told me their diet during the previous week consisted mainly of bread and tea in addition to some tomatoes.
The grown-ups, especially the parents, wouldn’t reveal the extent of the unfolding tragedy they are facing. They would only say a terse "al hamdulillah" (thank God). But the tone of their voices tells us that they are in real distress.
The Gaza Strip into the largest detention camp in the world
The harsh blockade of Gaza didn’t start in mid June when Hamas took over the small seaside region after defeating and ousting the American-backed Fatah forces led by Muhammed Dahlan and cohorts who had been planning, with American dollars and arms, to murder the Hamas leadership in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from the Bush Administration and Israel.
In fact, Gaza has been effectively under siege since 2000 when the second Palestinian intifada or uprising broke out. Since, then Gazans have been barred from exporting their products and produces.
Moreover, Israel, which has been telling the world that it had ended its occupation of Gaza, still retains full control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, thus reducing the Gaza Strip into the largest detention camp in the world.
To make a long story short, Gazans are being pushed into a situation very similar to that which prevailed at the Ghetto Warsaw. They are not allowed to work (unemployment in Gaza stands at more than 70%), they are not allowed to travel abroad, they are not allowed to enter Israel for work, they are not allowed even to go fishing offshore since Israeli gunboats would open fire at any fishing-boat daring to go more than a mile off the shore.
The criminal and draconian measures are meant to further impoverish Gazans to the extent that they won’t be able to purchase food.
The declared Israeli goal behind starving and tormenting the people of Gaza is to force them to revolt against the democratically-elected government, led by the Hamas movement, and settle for a quisling-like government that would sell-out Palestinian national rights, including the paramount right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes and villages by Jewish gangs in 1948, when Israel was created.
It is believed that up to two thirds of the inhabitants of Gaza are refugees. Hence, the intensive repression and coercion being meted out to these people in order to force them to give up their right to return to their homes and villages in what is now Israel.
It is crystal clear that Israel is steadily but certainly effecting a Nazi-like approach toward the people of the Gaza Strip.
The PR-conscious Israeli government, however, is hoping that the world will not take proactive measures to expose the creeping genocide in Gaza . This is why Israel is allowing limited shipments of food products , such as flour and cooking oil, into Gaza , to avoid a possible international outcry.
However, the supplies are conspicuously meager and don’t meet the basic nutritional needs of the vast bulk of Gaza children.
Unfortunately, the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) seems to be conniving and colluding with Israel to keep the unfolding Gaza tragedy as silent as possible.
UNRWA officials do make idle statements from time to time, warning of an impending "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza. However, the UN agency often refrains from "saying it as it is," probably for fear of upsetting the Israelis and the Americans, who apparently don’t like to hear words like "starvation, and concentration camps" with regard to the situation in Gaza find their way to the international media.
Israel is undoubtedly the central culprit in this man-made tragedy in Gaza, since it is up to her to allow Gazans to obtain food and export their products and especially their produces to the West Bank. Such a step, which would cost Israel nothing, would help Gazans obtain some meager income to feed their children.
However, Israel, as always, has apparently chosen to be faithful to long traditions of callousness and moral depravity, not unlike the way the Nazis treated their victims.
US administration, Abbas as guilty as Israel
But Israel is not the only guilty party in this tragedy. The US is actually as criminal as Israel, since the Bush administration is urging Israel to keep up the pressure on Gaza.
In fact, American officials keep congratulating their Israeli colleagues on the "success" of the blockade against Gaza. I wonder what kind of politicians are those who enjoy watching children starve to death? Are they human beings or cannibalistic beasts? This question ought to be directed to Condoleezza Rice whose behavior toward the Palestinian people is probably a thousand times worse than the behavior of the worst American white slave masters toward here forefathers.
Maybe it is naive to appeal to Rice’s sense of justice and morality since her manifestly criminal record wi
But if the Bush administration, which has been carrying a holocaust in Iraq, and Israel, which has been effecting ethnic cleansing in Palestine in the name of Jewish nationalism, can be "excused" on the ground that only evil can be expected from evil governments, the Palestinian regime of Mahmoud Abbas has no excuse whatsoever to collude and connive with Israel against the very people it is claiming to serve.
Such behavior, including the tacit and implicit encouragement of Israel to tighten the blockade of Gaza, and keep hundreds of thousands of encircled Gazans hungry and thoroughly tormented, characterizes quislings and agents of a foreign occupation.
Clearly, Abbas and his aides have much to explain to the Palestinian people. They also have much to atone for. This is if they still possess any sense of shame.