Bloggin’ Banat

two arab-american chicks takin’ over the blogosphere

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza, Foreign Media Still Banned From Covering It January 5, 2009

The Israeli attacks in Gaza have now caused over 500 Palestinian deaths and over 2,600 injured. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza today is of unprecedented proportions.  It really isn’t news by now that the Gaza Strip is deprived of the most basic human needs such as water, food, fuel, electricity, and medicines due to the Israeli siege and blockade.  But if you’ve been listening to what Israeli officials have been saying lately, there’s no humanitarian crisis at all and they’re doing all they can to help the people of Gaza.

On Sunday, Oved Yehezkel, the Israeli cabinet secretary said that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during a cabinet meeting  that “We will not allow a humanitarian crisis to develop in the Gaza Strip. We will help supply food and medicine.” How can Olmert get away with such a blatant lie?  A humanitarian crisis exists and has been in existence for years; the situation now is dire due to the Israeli attacks. As Chris Gunness, spokesman for UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency) said: “Bread and wheat are going to run out extremely rapidly, and people are going to start getting extremely hungry. Medical supplies are in critically short supply. When you have a situation where houses are being blown up and women and children are being maimed, I would say that’s a humanitarian crisis.”  I think most human beings would agree with him.

In the meantime, foreign journalists are still prevented from covering Israel’s assault from within Gaza.  Israel has maintained its ban on foreign reporters despite a Supreme Court ruling last week allowing for a pool of reporters to cover the fighting.  The Israeli army’s coordinator of activities in the territories, Maj. Peter Lerner, said there was a plan to open the border crossing on Sunday to allow a small group of reporters through but the crossing ended up staying closed due to the security situation.  According to the ruling, journalists would be allowed in when the border crossings were opened for humanitarian aid.  If, as Olmert stated, Israel is allowing food and medicine to get through to Gaza, why then aren’t the journalists?  Obviously, there’s disconnect between what Israeli officials are saying and what is actually happening on the ground.  All of this is going on and American leaders still stand apart from the rest of the world in their full support for Israel.

I wonder how long the United States will continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s lies, human rights and international law violations? I wonder when the United States will stop vetoing statements and resolutions by the UN Security Council that justly blame Israel for its actions? Have Americans stopped to consider what good being Israel’s “stalwart ally” has been for the United States? The only thing Israel has done is spy on America.  Americans need to wake up.  One day, this unconditional support for Israel is going to come back and bite America in the ass.


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