Clash at blockade inevitable – conditions deteriorate in Gaza
The Gaza Strip – home to one of the world’s youngest and fastest growing populations, where just about half of the people are under the age of 15.
Since legitimate elections were held in 2006, Hamas was voted into power by winning a majority of seats in parliament. Since that moment, unemployment has risen to 35%, a staggering 98% of Gaza’s industry has been forced to close, and most Gazans live on less than 2$ a day.
Violence continues to be met with violence on both sides. Even though 80% of the population relies on food aid, almost all of it has been halted by blockades created by Israel and Egypt on either side. Today, Israeli soldiers were attacked when they attempted to board a ship that was part of an aide convey, which sparked a retaliation that killed 10-16 people and wounding even more.
The blockade has been condemned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, The UN Human Rights Council, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who urged Israel increase the amount of aide let through, yet the blockade is officially supported by the United States.
The blockade has spurred a massive black-market for goods, utilizing underground tunnels to smuggle food and medicines into Gaza, as well as weapons. Recent shipments of medicine, going through official channels, often take so long the products all expire, requiring they be destroyed.
Global Whisperer’s Take:
A blockade of this kind is an absolute atrocity. People are being denied food and medicines, many of them refugees with no where else to go, many of them young children. Water and electric service is often interrupted, camps sometimes only receiving 8 hours of electricity a day. Its a massive human rights emergency. Jimmy Carter was right to urge Israel to stop the blockage, tear down the walls, and begin the healing process.
The elected legitimacy of Hamas is a slap to the face of the United States, who have always stated they would never deal with a terrorist organization, and yet conditions have become so bad that the majority of people living in the Gaza Strip today voted for just such an organization. For a nation that champions democracy, they have been placed into an awkward place indeed; how do you respect the will of a ‘free’ people yet negotiate peace with an organization that is the sworn enemy of Israel?
The rod has been tried, and suffering has been spread all around the territory, yet the United States is perhaps the only nation in position to hold Israel and Hamas at bay, and work to a negotiate a lasting peace for the decent people of Gaza.