Video: Break the silence on Gaza with people power

After 10 years of Israeli siege, the United Nations says Gaza is effectively unlivable.

Israel has consigned the people of Gaza to “living in abject poverty under practically inhuman conditions unparalleled in the modern world,” the human rights group B’Tselem said last month.

In recent weeks the situation has deteriorated even further, as Israel has sharply cut the electricity supply, bringing available energy in Gaza to the lowest level ever.

Health, water and sewage treatment systems are breaking down, making life unbearable.

“This is not a natural disaster. This is a policy choice by Israel to do this to 2 million people, and it’s a policy choice the so-called international community are supporting,” I told Aaron Maté of The Real News.

“At best the so-called international community scrambles to do an appeal to various donor governments to patch up, to do palliative care,” for people in Gaza, I told Maté. “What they don’t do is challenge Israel and hold it accountable.”

By refusing to provide people in Gaza with basic health and other services, Israel, as the occupying power, is committing war crimes, I argued.

And it’s happening in silence – even Democracy Now, a flagship progressive outlet, has mentioned the situation only in brief and infrequent headlines.

The humanitarian catastrophe is also the result of collusion between Israel and the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Abbas wants to put political pressure on Hamas, which governs the interior of Gaza, by inflicting additional suffering on the 2 million Palestinians who live there.

This pressure has included curtailing medicine supplies to Gaza and refusing medical referrals for hundreds of patients who need urgent treatment outside the territory, leading to more than a dozen deaths.

“It’s up to us to challenge the institutional complicity and silence,” I told Maté. If regime media don’t make noise about Gaza, “people should be demonstrating, holding protests at the UN and Israeli embassies, at Palestinian Authority embassies, because they’re all complicit in this siege.”

Watch the video above.

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Thanks Ali, for this eloquent, impassioned response to Gaza's anguish. You mentioned that even Democracy Now has avoided covering the catastrophe in any but the most fleeting manner. This lapse may be attributed to the intense focus they apply daily to the accusation that Russia tipped the 2016 election to Donald Trump. Then again, perhaps not. And the people of Gaza wait, sweltering in a darkness not of their making, but of ours.

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I agree with everything that Ali Abunimah says here except his agreement with Haidar Eid in Gaza that BDS is the only hope for the people of Gaza. If one looks at the situation in Gaza and, for that matter, all of Palestine, without filters, it should be obvious that BDS, in its dozen years of existence, has proven to be no match for the billions that wealthy capitalists such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have invested in the Israeli economy without paying any public price.

While conducting the BDS campaign is important, particularly in Western countries that do not offer aid and political support for Israel as is the case with the US, it simply doesn't even begin to make a dent here where the Israel Lobby is in total control of both Congress and the White House, as well the AFL-CIO and every state legislature.

Under those circumstances, it really doesn't matter that grass roots support for Palestinians is growing in the US since it is no match doe the institutions that Ali acknowledge are making the decisions that favor of Israel. The comparisons with South Africa fail to take into account that South Africa had no lobby to speak of in the US during apartheid. There were no members of Congress it could buy off and threaten. In other words, it is an entirely different situation and that after a dozen years in which no material progress has been made in pushing BDS in the US, that has actually affected Israel, I find it difficult to understand why this factor has been largely ignored? That instead of talking up BDS, and it is mostly, talk, there have been no efforts made to conduct national campaigns challenging aid to Israel or the liberal Democrats who kiss its behind?

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If Ali’s charges are true, I can’t defend Abbas. Collective punishment has to be judged wrong for the gander as well as the goose. Without that moral imperative, embodied in the 4th Geneva Convention, Palestine would lose, to my mind, a critical foothold in its quest for justice through international consensus and its moribund law. However, how ever “deeply unpopular” Mahmoud Abbas may be, he still represents Palestine on the world stage and I still regard his insufficient progress (non-member observer STATE status) as something in the face of a nothingness, that makes the hope of any progress seem anything but quixotic.
I wish I could agree with Jeffery, that BDS doesn’t offer Gaza its only hope. I wish I could in all honesty forward the idea that international law and a commitment to making it work as it should and so for Palestine, offers real hope. But it’s precisely at that point my conscience is pierced by Ali’s darts.
Ali’s disillusionment and rage is perfectly warranted and perfectly Palestinian. And whether Abbas is a good man, or the devil Ali describes, becomes less relevant with each passing day.
I find the prospect of a Dahlan and Hamas enterprise, while an apparent step forward for truth, justice and the Palestinian way, fraught and possibly, though not necessarily, a giant step backwards. Without absolute proof, that Abbas is “oppressing his own people”, I’m reserving judgment. Am I just timid?

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How so sad for the forgotten Gazans!
Something has to be done from all countries to help them. Israel needs to be sanctioned!

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I agree with Jeffrey Blankfort to a large degree, although I think that BDS should be a very large focal point in lobbying U.S. decision-makers. But a focus on Gaza is far from incompatible with BDS.

With my email in-box constantly deluged with requests that I sign on to petitions or send a message to a Congress Critter, I know that this form of focused lobbying works. But it is as though the BDS folk have never discovered the free services for such campaigns, even though they they have a sufficiently large mailing list to launch them and rapidly expand their reach. Here are just a few:

https://oneclickpolitics.com/
http://www.thepetitionsite.com...
https://buildquorum.com/
http://credoaction.com/
http://change.org
http://sumofus.org/
http://rootsaction.org/
http://diy.rootsaction.org/

I simply do not understand why such tools are not being used in aid of Palestine.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.