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Pre-2008 Posts

BaT Shalom: Break the Siege on Gaza!

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Members of BaT Shalom

Does it help the children of Sderot when we force the children of Gaza to drink polluted water? It seems the government of Israel thinks so (if they think).

Gaza is under siege! Hundreds of commodities needed for maintaining daily life are not allowed into the Strip, by order of the Government of Israel. Even the entry of water filters – vital for purifying the water drawn from Gazan wells, which are heavily polluted by brine, oil and sewage – has already been prevented for over half a year. The Israeli media doesn’t succeed (and doesn’t even try always) to convey to the public a true impression of how severe the situation is. But anyone who has talked to Gazans in the past months understands that the situation has long since developed into a regional disaster, which puts us, too, in danger.

As is well known, the Gaza Strip is a small, poor, overcrowded territory even in “ordinary” times. The occupation of the Strip did not end with the “Disengagement”; on the contrary, passage of persons and goods, in and out of the Strip, was made far more difficult by the Israeli authorities, and no one can enter or leave, by land, sea or air, except by permission from the Israeli security services. As far as Gazans are concerned, Disengagement brought no liberty, but just made occupation that much worse!

However bad the suffering is of the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and the kibbutzim and moshavim in the area under the barrage of Qassam missiles, mortar shells and sniper bullets, it is in no way a justification for a cruel siege which severely harms a million and half civilians – men, women and children. The siege is an immoral act and a violation of International Law – and from a practical point of view, increasing the bitterness and suffering in Gaza leads to an intensification of attacks on the Israeli side, not to their end. Unlike what we have been made to believe, residents of Sderot and residents of Gaza are not to be seen as opponents: both are victims of a stupid and vicious policy of the Government of Israel.

(For those unfamiliar with Bat Shalom, they describe themselves as “women with a vision for a just peace, envisioning a peace rooted in the needs, rights, values and histories of both the Israeli and Palestinian people”. — Heart)

Discussion

10 thoughts on “BaT Shalom: Break the Siege on Gaza!

  1. Want to break the siege on Gaza? It’s easy. Just stop the rocket attacks.

    Why aren’t you walking with the Israeli victims of those attacks?

    Israeli disengagement brought no liberty to Gaza, but not because of Israelis. It is because of the tyrannical murderers of Hamas. Rid yourselves of them and peace has a chance.

    Posted by Ed | January 25, 2008, 9:43 pm
  2. I have posted today in support of Israelis harmed by constant rocketfire from the Gaza strip over the past months. I do stand in solidarity with all of the people harmed in this violence, as does BaT Shalom.

    I think so long as we think in terms of “ridding” ourselves of
    human beings, we cannot expect any resolution, certainly no peace.

    Posted by womensspace | January 25, 2008, 10:18 pm
  3. Hamas did not come from vacuum. To lay all of the situation on Hamas is like laying the massacre in the Russian theater only on the rebels without looking at the actions of Russia towards the people that spawned those rebels. When you hear of the fathers paying the Russian soldiers not to rape their daughters, the anger is more understandable.

    The power elite on both sides of the struggle have no interest in peace. Even if those in power make a gesture, it is suborned by the fringe, witness the Israeli settlers refusing to leave the lands that have been designated as Palestinian.

    But to respond to the post above, the US has no business getting high and mighty on the issue. Not after what we have caused to happen in Iraq.

    Posted by Miranda | January 25, 2008, 10:54 pm
  4. Miranda, do you mean Ed’s comment or my post (re “post above”)?

    Just to be clear, BaT Shalom is an Israeli-Palestinian organization.

    Posted by womensspace | January 25, 2008, 10:58 pm
  5. Totally with you about the US getting high and mighty!

    Posted by womensspace | January 25, 2008, 11:08 pm
  6. Israel seems to have the same attitude toward Hamas as Ed. Israel is not interested in negotiating with Hamas, based on the principle of refusing to negotiate with terrorists. It seems Israel will stop at nothing in its efforts to get rid of Hamas. This has now gone so far, even the US media is troubled. That is a hopeful development, since it usually unreservedly supports Israel, along with most US politicians.

    Posted by Aletha | January 26, 2008, 5:58 am
  7. By ‘post above’, I was referring to the ‘What would you do?’ post currently at the top of the page. I don’t agree with Israel’s tactics, but the US has done the same and worse.

    Posted by Miranda | January 26, 2008, 11:21 am
  8. Yeah, but here’s the bizarre thing (or maybe not, since this seems to be the way things go more often than not politically in the Middle East when everything shakes out and people start talking about what really happened.) Israel has actively supported Hamas in the recent past, directly and indirectly, which is in part the reason Hamas is where it is today! Some years back, it was the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) that was perceived as the threat. Israel hoped to splinter and weaken the PLO (which is secular and leftist) by supporting a competing religious group (Hamas is Islamic). But Hamas gained the support of the Palestinian people on the grass roots level because, as religious organizations often do, it built a social, cultural and religious community and infrastructure which eased the sufferings of Palestinian refugees. The wild card that took Israel by surprise was the surge in Islamic movements throughout the Middle East after the Iranian revolution, the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the rise of the Hezbollah in Lebanon, etc., which energized and strengthened Hamas. But even then (!) Israel kept supporting Hamas (1) to infiltrate, identify, and weed out, hopefully, its most violent and dangerous hardline members; (2) because some in Israel felt that if Hamas rose to power, it would refuse to participate in peace negotations, leaving Israel as the only democracy in the region and thus continuing to have the protection of the U.S. Of course it’s all gone to shite now because first of all, Hamas created a good counterintelligence system and shot the infiltrators and collaborators, and then because Hamas was voted in democratically! Oops.

    I read somewhere where some US intelligence official or State Dept. guy said Israel consistently does this kind of thing, that Israel is like the guy who sets fire to his hair and then tries to put it out by hitting it with a hammer. It’s its own worst enemy as far as fighting terrorism.

    And this is sure Exhibit A of that! We’ve got Hamas, with the long time backing of Israel, now in control in Palestine and firing rockets at Israel and Israel trying to put out that fire with the biggest hammer it can find.

    So disgusting the way when you look close, the U.S. ends up having had some role, usually a significant one, in the rise to power of guys it ultimately ends up trying to take down and sometimes executing and acting all indignant and self-righteous about, Oh, teh Axis of Evil or whatever, dear god, you fracking liar. YOUR MONEY and YOUR GUYS put them in in the first place because whatever Israel did, you know it did with the backing of the U.S. And I say “YOUR” because you didn’t do that with my consent or participation or knowledge or the knowledge of most U.S. citizens. Our government has a history of such corruption this way it boggles the mind and most Americans have no idea.

    Posted by womensspace | January 26, 2008, 3:29 pm
  9. I appreciate you posting on this topic, Heart.

    I was unaware of Israel’s backing of Hamas. But then, it really doesn’t (or shouldn’t) come as a surprise, considering, as you say, the U.S. has done the same thing.

    And yeah…I know Bush supporters who refuse to give a hint of credibility to the *fact* that the U.S. government gave Al Queda 40 million just months before 9/11.

    It’s like those old psychological experiments; if you show a man a picture with a breast (or whatever “taboo” image) in the background of another image, he’ll deny it’s there, even when flat out asked.

    As white supposedly “civilized” people, we are able to deny what we don’t want to see, rendering it completely invisible. But for those of us who are smacked with brutalities in everyday life (I’m thinking of, and including, womyn here), it’s a bit more complicated to dismiss the work of power-structures.

    Posted by Laur | January 28, 2008, 8:50 am
  10. Bush gave that money to the Taliban, actually, which may indirectly be the same thing, but maybe not. People often conflate the two. But I remember. It was May 2001 and I was LIVID.

    Posted by R.E. | January 29, 2008, 9:09 am

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