Thursday, November 18, 2010
MEDIA BURY DOCUMENTS REVEALING ISRAEL’S DELIBERATE POLICY OF NEAR-STARVATION FOR GAZA
November 17, 2010 from Media Lens
“PUT THE PALESTINIANS ON A DIET”
Israel has been forced to reveal what Palestinians and other observers on the ground have known for a long time: that the blockade of Gaza is state policy intended to inflict collective punishment, not to bolster Israeli “security”.
An Israeli human rights group has won a legal battle to compel the Israeli government to release three important documents. These outline state policy for permitting the transfer of goods into Gaza prior to the May 31 attack on the peace flotilla in which nine people were killed by Israeli forces. The group, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, is demanding Israeli transparency. Meanwhile, Israel refuses to release documents on the current version of blockade policy which was “eased” after international condemnation following the flotilla attack.
The released documents, whose existence Israel had denied for eighteen months, reveal that the state approved “a policy of deliberate reduction” of basic goods, including food and fuel, in the Gaza Strip. Gisha Director Sari Bashi explains:
“Instead of considering security concerns, on the one hand, and the rights and needs of civilians living in Gaza, on the other, Israel banned glucose for biscuits and the fuel needed for regular supply of electricity – paralyzing normal life in Gaza and impairing the moral character of the State of Israel. I am sorry to say that major elements of this policy are still in place.” (Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, ‘Due to Gisha's Petition: Israel Reveals Documents related to the Gaza Closure Policy’, October 21, 2010; http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=1904&intSiteSN=113)
As Saeed Bannoura of the International Middle East Media Center reports, the Israeli government imposed a deliberate policy:
“in which the dietary needs for the population of Gaza are chillingly calculated, and the amounts of food let in by the Israeli government measured to remain just enough to keep the population alive at a near-starvation level. This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are ‘putting the people of Gaza on a diet’.” (Saeed Bannoura, ‘Israeli government documents show deliberate policy to keep Gazans at near-starvation levels’, International Middle East Media Center, November 6, 2010 21:32; http://www.imemc.org/article/59843)
“This release of documents also severely undermines Israel's oft-made claim that the siege is ‘for security reasons’, as it documents a deliberate and systematic policy of collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza.”
When Israel and the United States were reacting to Hamas’s election victory in Gaza in January 2006, long-time Israeli government adviser Dov Weisglass stated:
“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” (‘Hamas readies for government, Israel prepares sanctions’, Agence France Presse, February 16, 2006)
The released documents contain actual equations used by the Israeli government to calculate the exact amounts of food, fuel and other necessities needed to do exactly that. (‘Submitted to Gisha in the framework of a Freedom of Information Act Petition, AP 2744/09 Gisha v. Defense Ministry’, Appendices B, C and D; http://gisha.org/UserFiles/File/HiddenMessages/DefenseMinistryDocumentsRevealedFOIAPetition.pdf)
continue reading this article at Media Lens Alerts for more information and a way to take action to hold the media accountable.
Weblink came to my attention via @mparent27777 on Twitter. Thanks Marc!