Who will save Gaza's children?

The LINK to the article below is to a British newspaper, the Guardian. We would never expect to read about this inhumane situation in the United States, because it would put Israel in a bad light, but also because Americans as a whole don't seem to care about Palestinians, even though that can be partly attributed to news censorship and pro-Israel propaganda.

Earlier this year, it was reported that over 300 children died in the Gaza massacre. But now we learn that the toll on children from Israel's siege is continuing in the form of rising infant deaths.

Who will save Gaza's children?

Among all the complex and long-term solutions being sought in Copenhagen for averting environmental catastrophe across the world, there is one place where the catastrophe has already happened, but could be immediately ameliorated with one simple political act.

In Gaza there is now no uncontaminated water; of the 40,000 or so newborn babies, at least half are at immediate risk of nitrate poisoning - incidence of "blue baby syndrome", methaemoglobinaemia, is exceptionally high; an unprecedented number of people have been exposed to nitrate poisoning over 10 years; in some places the nitrate content in water is 300 times World Health Organisation standards; the agricultural economy is dying from the contamination and salinated water; the underground aquifer is stressed to the point of collapse; and sewage and waste water flows into public spaces and the aquifer.

The blockade of Gaza has gone on for nearly four years, and the vital water and sanitation infrastructure went past creaking to virtual collapse during the three-week assault on the territory almost a year ago.

LINK

The toll on Palestinian children of Israel's brutal siege continues to rise. Infant death rates in Gaza exceed those in the West Bank, which in turn exceed those in Israel.

It is obvious that the Obama administration is ineffective in intervening as Israel continues to use the excuse of Hamas to deliver collective punishment to 1.5 Gazan Palestinians. That infants are taking the brunt of this punishment seems to mean nothing to this administration, let alone the Israelis.

This inhumane siege must be stopped, somehow.

Tags: Gaza, infant death, Israel, Netanyahu, obama, Palestine, siege (all tags)

Comments

21 Comments

the blockade will end

when the Gazans accept the Jewish State of Israel, show Hamas the door and let it hit their asses on the way out, and then there shall be peace.

by Lakrosse 2009-12-13 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

Either Israel needs to recognize a full Palestinian state, or give up its near total dedication of state apparatuses and resources to the promotion of specific Jewish interests.  If it does either of these, we can expect a peace that would be as beneficial for Israelis as for Palestinians.  

As I have written many times, the most useful thing that occupied Palestinians could do to further either of these goals is to apply en masse for Israeli citizenship.  How would Israel justify refusing even 200,000 civilians living under its control the rights of citizenship?  It would try, but it would meet with both internal and international opposition.  This move would ultimately either force the Israeli political establishment to choose one of these options (Palestinian statehood or a secular bi-national democracy) or enfranchise Palestinians to further either of these goals through a political process.  

by Strummerson 2009-12-14 04:00AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

"How would Israel justify refusing even 200,000 civilians living under its control the rights of citizenship?"

Easy as apple pie. That's what the Fatah government is all about, not just being a subcontractor to enforce Israel's occupation, but to provide a facade of democracy by controlling elections inside the Palestinian "cantons." Abbas may be leaving, but there are other quislings waiting in the wings.

Israel knows that it is moving toward full Apartheid, but with the exceptionalism it is accorded internationally, Obama's speech at Oslo notwithstanding, I believe it believes it can tolerate international condemnation, just as it has all along, e.g., with the Goldstone Report about the Gaza massacres late last year. The US government, the president as well as the Congress, will be right there at Israel's side to deny that Palestinians are not living freely in their own state, with their own government, institutions, and police force.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

Please MS, you must read more carefully.  I suggested here that occupied Palestinians could change the whole context of the conflict and press their rights by applying for Israeli citizenship.  Cultural-historical reasons make this move unlikely, in the absence of a charismatic leader who convinces them to do so.  But if even 200,000, a small minority, applied for Israeli citizenship it would dramatically alter the dynamics of the conflict.  Your response simply ignores the central thrust of my post.  Now, if you want to argue that a citizenship drive by occupied Palestinians would have no effect, that's another argument.  But running past your commenters' posts and using them to restate your position is hardly interesting or ethical.

by Strummerson 2009-12-14 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

Then let me quote you further:

"As I have written many times, the most useful thing that occupied Palestinians could do to further either of these goals is to apply en masse for Israeli citizenship.  How would Israel justify refusing even 200,000 civilians living under its control the rights of citizenship?"

"en masse" or "even 200,000" living under its control...

What difference does it make. I made my point, and if you wish to respond to it, okay. But otherwise that I am misinterpreting what said is absurd.

What I said was, Israel would no way make 200 thousand or even five million Palestinians citizens of the "Jewish state" of Israel. Why you would even bother proposing such a thing is beyond me, and one of the reasons I do not have any hope that one state solutions will work.

It's not going to happen. You underestimate the strength of Israeli ethnocentricism, which has only gotten stronger since the disappearance of the left wing. An Afrikaaner-like mentality posesses Israel today, strangely.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

"What difference does it make."

Quite a lot actually.  It's a tactic that Israeli analysts often raise in their discussions.  It's something we have never seen before and would represent a direct, public, and compelling challenge to Israel's facade of liberalism and democracy.

"I made my point, and if you wish to respond to it, okay."

No.  You didn't make your point.  All you did was re-state your position without acknowledging that this hypothesized a fundamentally dynamic.  Restating a position regardless of what anyone else writes does not resemble making a point.  That is not how discussions work

"But otherwise that I am misinterpreting what said is absurd."

It is absurd is completely ignoring the premise of another's comment.  

"What I said was, Israel would no way make 200 thousand or even five million Palestinians citizens of the "Jewish state" of Israel."

My point exactly.  I don't think they will.  Doing so would constitute an abandonment of the "Jewish state concept."

"Why you would even bother proposing such a thing is beyond me, and one of the reasons I do not have any hope that one state solutions will work."

Yes. It is clearly beyond you.  But I don't think this is so of necessity.  It's merely due to your tactical blindness and inflexibility.  The whole point is tactical.  Force Israel to confront its contradictions and lay them bare in the international arena.  But to argue that this is why one state solutions "won't work" misses the point.  It's why they are currently out of reach.  There is an outside possibility that as Israel resists and refuses, that over time it could force a generational shift and an ideological sea change within Israel.  But the point is to force the issue as clearly and strongly as possible.  

"It's not going to happen."

I acknowledged its unlikeliness, given the culture and history of Palestinian politics.  I understand the history of those dynamics mean it would require a game changer.  If someone like Marwan Barghouti pushed this initiative front and center with the backing of a few other charismatic individuals and with strong solidarity from Palestinians in Israel who already hold citizenship, it might.  

"You underestimate the strength of Israeli ethnocentricism, which has only gotten stronger since the disappearance of the left wing."

Do me a favor and stop telling me what I understand and don't understand about Israel.  When you begin to read Hebrew and spend some time living in Israel among Israelis, engage with them and read what they write, then you can tell me what I underestimate and what I overestimate.  Otherwise this is just pompous posturing.

"An Afrikaaner-like mentality posesses Israel today, strangely."

Not strangely at all.  It possesses Israel instructively.  The SouthAfrica analogy functioned as a moral accusation when people started to make it in the late '80s.  It was provocative and controversial then.  Not so much anymore.  Now it's instructive in the sense of historical precedent.  How did Apartheid work out?  Did Apartheid prove sustainable?  If that is the trajectory, their will either be a two state solution or a Palestinian PM of a bi-national state within 20 years.  That's the whole point of a citizenship drive, it presses toward one of those alternatives.  Unless what you are actually arguing is that Israel will prove capable sustaining something that South Africa could not.  I think the socio-economic make-up of Israel and its comparative dearth of natural resources (unlike South Africa) suggests such a situation will prove less sustainable there.

by Strummerson 2009-12-14 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

Okay let's go on with this. So you read Hebrew. I say big deal. Os there two stories being told of inside Israel, one in Hebrew, one in English?

How did Apartheid work out?  Did Apartheid prove sustainable?  If that is the trajectory, their will either be a two state solution or a Palestinian PM of a bi-national state within 20 years.  That's the whole point of a citizenship drive....

Unblievable how many different terms one can find for the concept of Apartheid in this context: bi-national state seems to be today's preferred angle. Bi-nationalism once meant something, but today it only means a cheap labor force from the bantustants to work in settlement agribusiness and industries. And of course they will be able to select their bantustan mayors and representatives. And the whole thing could be run out of Ramallah.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

There are many stories told in Hebrew and many in English.  Some are told in Israel, some are told outside Israel and some are told in both contexts.  Go apply for a professional or academic position focusing on Israel without having command of Hebrew or familiarity with its dynamics and see how far you get.  It's absurd for someone who does not read Hebrew and has never spent time in Israel (I lived there as recently as this past summer and correspond regularly with Israelis) and has demonstrated critical engagement with Israeli political and cultural discourses what they underestimate about Israel.  You think you would ever catch me telling someone who spoke and read Arabic and had lived a significant portion of their lives in the occupied territories that they fail to understand Palestinian political dynamics?  It would never happen.  I know individuals who fit that description and value their perspectives, even when we do not ultimately agree.

The proof is in the pudding of this comment MS.  You continue with your idiosyncratic and opportunistic parsing of bi-nationalism as equivalent to bantustans.  You fail to understand the accepted terms of the debate.  No one I am familiar with, in person or in writing, associates bi-nationalism with the Likud's bantustanization efforts.  No one.  This includes Likudniks.  Most Zionists, left to right, see bi-nationalism as to the left of ANY Zionist position.  You can repeat your attempt to cast these two radically opposed approaches as equivalent as much as you like.  But anyone who has taken the time to familiarize themselves with the terms of this conflict will think you are daft or obfuscating in the most clumsy manner possible.  Time to get your terms straight.

by Strummerson 2009-12-14 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

It is time to look at the reality. My advice.

I just put up a diary on the Jordan Valley. Take a look, especially at the video. If there are no Palestinians left in the Jordan Valley by the time you and your friends get over the idealism, then the Jordan Valley will no longer have any potential to become binational, whatever that means for right of center Israeli politicians. The only binationalism left for the Jordan Valley is this: we own the valley (the Israeli settlers or Israel at large), you do the work (the Palestinians who have not yet been ethnically cleansed from the region).

You want so much for Israel to come out of this smelling like roses, that your judgment is now so distorted by idealism that only you and your friends can believe yourselves. I don't mean to be rude, but you're ignoring what is happening on the ground while your head is in the clouds.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

Oh fuck you.  And I mean to return your habitual rudeness for once.  Me and my friends?  Which ones are you referring to?  Wth whom are you associating me?  Ignoring reality?  Not in the least.  You are correct that the reality is getting worse.  Reciting facts that you know that I am familiar with does not establish your greater grasp of any reality.  But you do all you can to discourage even the exploration of any viable response.  The political stalemate and deterioration of conditions requires people who are knowledgeable and insightful to think of new strategic possibilities and consider ones that have been discussed yet never tried.  Trying to consider such strategies and tactics is not a denial of reality but a responsible and creative response to it.  

The fact that you don't even have a basic grasp of the ideological terms of this conflict while you are so completely arrogant that you dismiss every perspective that does not accord with your dogmatic, programmatic stance--one based on familiarity with a limited range of perspectives--frankly makes you a significant liability, not an asset with regard to this issue.

You want to inspire an effective, broad-based BDS campaign?  Fine.  Are you so ossified and limited in your thinking that you cannot see how forcing the Israeli administration to confront thousands of Palestinian applications for citizenship is exactly the kind of thing that could kick that kind of campaign into an unforeseen gear?

by Strummerson 2009-12-14 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

I will tqke your heated insult as just a momentary flaw in your argument. It's not a problem. But you implied it yourself: if you can't speak Arabic it is impossible for you to appreciate the Palestinian view, and of course, vice versus. Still I do not demean you for not being able to speak Arabic.

"No one I am familiar with, in person or in writing, associates bi-nationalism with the Likud's bantustanization efforts.  No one.  This includes Likudniks.  Most Zionists, left to right, see bi-nationalism as to the left of ANY Zionist position."

And maybe that is why we will never see it.

Binationalism may have been possible before 1948, but considering what happened subsequent to the UN partition, the ethnic cleansing of two thirds of the Palestinian people, I don't see it as an option, territorially or otherwise. What we have today is a gulag of small cantons in which territorial Palestinians now live, and their situation in the future pretty much would be what it is today in the Jordan Valley, as one example (see the latest diary above on this matter).

Read canton as bantustan and you will appreciate just what lies in the future.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

Take it however you want.  Your previous post failed to respond to any of my arguments at all.  It was just your usual ad hominem bullshit you pull out when you can't cobble together a response.  And if you ever bothered to read anything anyone else ever posted responsibly you would have noted a repeated assertion that there are significant historical-cultural reasons why such an initiative is highly unlikely at this point.  But I indeed acknowledge that not reading Arabic limits me to some degree here.  Have you ever acknowledged any of your limits?  

Now you pivot to an argument regarding why bi-nationalism is not in the cards at this immediate historical juncture.  But I did not argue that it was.  I suggested that a citizenship drive would force more Israelis and international activists and governments to recognize that the future holds only two alternatives.  It's about tactics.

And now, I have exhausted my little nostalgic foray into an attempt to have an intelligent conversation with you.  One cannot have a productive interchange with another if they refuse to engage the arguments you actually take the time to lay out.

Last word is yours.  I am certain that it will have little to do with anything I have actually argued.  I still don't know if this is about your capacities or your will and I confess that I remain curious about this question.  Should be amusing.

by Strummerson 2009-12-14 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

No. I don't know it all. But I can see the reality on the ground and it is not the one you hope might lead to your solution.

The last word is yours.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

PS: When I refer to the reality on the ground I am referring to realities like this one:



Inside the ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley today and yesterday.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 06:13PM | 0 recs
Nutshell time

P l e a s e  r e a d  v e r y  s l o w l y

A citizenship drive, unlikely though it is, could succeed where all else has thus far failed, in  mobilizing Israelis to face the reality that this conflict can only be resolved in one of two ways, a two state solution or a bi-national state.  (You seem to believe that a permanent Apartheid situation will prove sustainable.  I disagree.  SO does the history of South African Apartheid).  If Israel neither grants citizenship nor accepts a two state plan, continued demand for citizenship could mobilize the international community in unprecedented fashion.  This would most likely result in a two state resolution, which you are committed to.  

My point is not about end-game, but about tactics.  Given the reality in the video above, I would think you would be interested in exploring any hypothetical possibility, even if not politically viable this month or year, that might address that reality productively.

D o  y o u  u n d e r s t a n d  now ?

by Strummerson 2009-12-14 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Nutshell time

You have the last word.

"unlikely though it is"

The video only reminds us that the bantustanization of Palestine is continuing. Call it what you will, binationalism or cantonization or whatever including a Palestinian state gulag style, the end result is Apartheid. Palestinians, whether inside or outside of Israel proper mounting a citizen revolt is not going to move anything. Palestinians are largely only heard in some Israeli newspapers.

The only possible hope today is the BDS Movement, which is gaining ground in Europe, but almost totally unknown in the US. The British government getting into the act by requiring that products produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the territories be clearly indicated on the product. That's a big step forward as a government is now acting. Others may follow, we hope.

In the US, the mainstream media are avoiding covering BDS activity as a major issue. I haven't looked into it. but even the boycott efforts of proPalestinian org Adalah against Lievev in NYC probably wasn't carried by the local newspapers.

Yet I think there is potential for growth in the US, especially if more college kids and more church groups get aroused by the human rights battle going on.

by MainStreet 2009-12-15 04:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Nutshell time

You are simply too dense for me to continue with this.

by Strummerson 2009-12-15 05:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Nutshell time

My point, for the twelfth time this thread, is that a citizenship drive unlikely  though it is would be the very thing to propel international campaigns such as the BDS movement and would be the best possible way to pressure Israel toward the two state solution.

And if you insist on continuing to willfully equate two diametrically opposed concepts as the Likud bantustanization program and a binational state, then your ethics are as completely completely degraded as your capacity to grasp the central concepts in this conflict.

And now you vomit as much gobbledegook as you please, I really cannot continue to engage with you.  I'll never get these seconds back.  I've pissed them away into the intellectual and political abyss that you call MainStreet.

by Strummerson 2009-12-15 05:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Nutshell time

If the unlikely is that unlikely why don't you join the BDS Movement and call it a day. Israel has chosen Apartheid and the only place to attack it from, it that is your wish, is from the outside. Even Uri Avnery can't get a thousand protestors in the streets of Tel Aviv, but even then, no one is listening. All we get are nice pictures on his site. The more he has protested, the more right wing Israel has become.

If all the leftist citizens of Israel got out in the streets in a weekend rebellion against the state, seriously would we hear about it in the USA? Give us binationalism or, what was it before, one state! Who's listening. The US media are turned off. AIPAC is busy. Tiger's infidelity is more important. Rahm is out there telling Americans that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, that old Eban crap line, the first lie he may ever have told.

You have had the last word several times now. How many last lines do you want?

by MainStreet 2009-12-15 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Nutshell time

If the unlikely is that unlikely why don't you join the BDS Movement and call it a day. Israel has chosen Apartheid and the only place to attack it from, it that is your wish, is from the outside. Even Uri Avnery can't get a thousand protestors in the streets of Tel Aviv, but even then, no one is listening. All we get are nice pictures on his site. The more he has protested, the more right wing Israel has become.

If all the leftist citizens of Israel got out in the streets in a weekend rebellion against the state, seriously would we hear about it in the USA? Give us binationalism or, what was it before, one state! Who's listening. The US media are turned off. AIPAC is busy. Tiger's infidelity is more important. Rahm is out there telling Americans that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, that old Eban crap line, the first lie he may ever have told.

You have had the last word several times now. How many last lines do you want?

by MainStreet 2009-12-15 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: the blockade will end

PS: And as for Israeli Palestinians living inside of Israel, I also believe it thinks it can tolerate that 20% of its nonJewish population living in a "Jewish state" as it has for some time.

Again comes George Orwell to the rescue: in Israel, everyone is created equal, only some are more equal than others. And of course all of the half million plus settlers will be considered full fledged citizens of Israel, which at some future time will extend from the Jordan River to the sea.

by MainStreet 2009-12-14 05:25AM | 0 recs

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