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)