Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gaza Powers Down - Literally

People packed into a small strip amidst a desert, untold amounts of heavily armed local and private security armies with an economy dependent on fuel to power the city is what the Las Vegas Strip has in common with the Gaza Strip. Imagine Vegas being unlit during its peak season. It is winter in Gaza, a time for when fuel is most needed. Their land border controlled by Israel, dictates the range of their economic fortunes between bad and awful.

From Gaza, homemade rockets landed in Sderot, prompting Israel to attack and again hermetically seal the borders, cutting off Gaza's ability to fuel Gaza's main power station. Israel's latest blockade's intended action is to put more strain on the Palestinian government to control its borders and ultimately Hamas. Just last week, the White House was trumpeting President Bush's ability to reignite Peace talks, but a Bush led initiative never had a solid coalition to get the two sides back to serious negotiations in a well lit room. The UN's Secretary General weighed in on Israel's action to harshly punish all of Gaza for the actions of several snipers after Israel launched retaliatory strikes killing two Hamas militant leaders and capturing four others. (David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images)
The organisation has criticised Israel's decision to close border crossings into Gaza, preventing aid deliveries to the 1.5 million people living in the territory, saying on Saturday that the move could provoke a humanitarian crisis.

"Such action cuts off the population from much-needed fuel supplies used to pump water and generate electricity to homes and hospitals," Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said.
Ban also urged an immediate end to violence in Gaza and Palestinian sniper and rocket attacks into Israel. He called for "maximum restraint on the part of the Israel defence forces".

Another calamitous humanitarian crisis on Bush's deplorable unthinking watch as Leader of the Free World cannot his harm his dude ranch cowboy reputation, but the suffering of tens of thousands upon hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians will continue hardening attitudes in the Middle East, making positions intractable as a future more responsible America tries to help forge the Palestinian territories into a fledgling nation state. In past Peace talks, Israel traded valuable land for Peace, in a real effort to live and trade side by side in an Arab region. Recently, Israel suffered acidic world condemnation for its actions in the bombing of Lebanon's civilian infrastructure and its strident tone on its sovereign right to protect its people and its borders. No nation on earth is exempt from terrorist attacks, but every nation or kingdom has an inalienable right to protect itself. That point is where things get bogged down in the blowing sands of the Sinai or Mesopotamia - on the issue of retaliatory actions versus preeminent strike doctrines with all involved having a polished granite position.
The Palestinian Energy Authority said two turbines at the plant had shut early on Sunday and the plant would be closed within 24 hours.

The Energy Authority said more than a million Gazans would be affected by power outages, which would also hit hospitals, sewage works and food refrigeration systems.

But Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the situation was not as bad as the Palestinians made out.

"They have an interest in exaggerating," he said. (AFP)

Well, minimizing another's pain and suffering is not going to win the hearts and minds of third parties. This week, the UN rights forum is holding a special meeting to discuss this issue, not the Bush White House that was so interested in brokering its version of peace last week amidst all the photo ops.

A few years ago, an Israeli journalist went to Palestine to understand and listen to the stories. This heartfelt book is the result of her journey and received richly deserved praise for telling a story through the yes of those who live in the blotches of territories known as Palestine. From Wendy Pearlman is the book, Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Infitada.


Dan ~ said...

People, rightly so, criticize Israel for founding a country on top of an already-occupied land due to permission from a governmental body completely foreign and ignorant of the local area.

However, it should be noted that when the same situation was given to Americans, we didn't allow the indigenous people to maintain their own territory and start a separate country. We butchered them outright.

So let's at least give credit to Israel for (perhaps grudgingly) not taking the poison blanket route.

Maureen said...

Dan Your assumption is careless as the archives plainly show. Israel is a nation among other nations and is afforded no special exemptions or amelioration in the world community and will continue to receive fair treatment just the same as my thoughts on the current travesty of American foreign policy. My archives plainly undercut the contention that America nor most dominant nation states on the planet have clean hands with regards to the treatment of indigenous cultures. One example.

Dan ~ said...

I'm sorry, I don't think I was very clear. I wasn't trying to imply that you were being too easy on Israel; I was reacting to some of the harsh language you had for Israel's actions, ("harshly punish" and so on).

I'm not saying Israel shouldn't be accountable, nor am I saying that Israel isn't defending itself in a dramatic and sometimes over-the-top manner.

My intent was to point out the sad similarities of Israel's emergence as a country with our own. I hope we can help find a way for Israel to live side-by-side with Palestine in part because it will be an achievement we failed to make with the Native Americans.

Maureen said...

Thanks Dan. My apologies if it seemed ungracious as some brook no criticism of Israel and my goal is to look at all equally and not through the lens of favoritism. UAE received their turn on the construction debacle not too long ago as they import indigenous people from southeast Asia to build the Dubai into a luxury metropolis.