by Zafar Bangash (Reflections, Crescent International Vol. 37, No. 11, Muharram, 1430)
Ever since the Palestinian Islamic resistance group, Hamas, won the January 2006 elections, Ghazzah has been turned into a concentration camp. Western countries immediately withdrew financial support once Hamas took full control in Ghazzah in June 2007. The aim was to strangle the Hamas-led government; so much for the West’s respect for democracy.
The 1.5 million Palestinians crammed into Ghazzah are being subjected to collective punishment. They suffer long periods of darkness because Israel has cut off fuel supplies that run Ghazzah’s sole power plant and hospital generators. Doctors are forced to send even seriously sick patients or those needing emergency surgery home from the hospital because of lack of electricity and medicines. Many basic medicines such as those required for diabetes, heart conditions, asthma and other chronic diseases have run out. Expensive medical equipment, such as CT scans and X-rays have broken down because of power cuts or lack of spare parts. Water treatment plants have also broken down and cannot be repaired. In many localities, raw sewage runs in the streets creating a serious health hazard and risk of disease.
Food is so scarce that many people are forced to eat grass. The UN Food Agency that feeds hundreds of thousands of Palestinians is unable to get supplies in because Israel has closed the border. The Zionists have dismissed pleas from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon to lift the siege and let food supplies in. According to the Popular Committee Against the Siege, basic food items such as milk, flour, cooking oil, meat, rice and legumes are running very low. Some figures indicate that only 15 percent of Ghazzah’s food needs are being satisfied because of Israeli border control measures. Children, constituting 56 percent of Ghazzah’s population, are the most seriously affected.
By joining Palestinian fishermen, international peace activists have tried to break the Israeli siege. Fish from the sea is the only means of getting badly needed protein and can feed dozens of families at a time. The peace activists’ aim is to prevent the Israeli Navy from attacking and destroying Palestinian fishing boats. Last November, three peace activists — Andrew Muncie of Scotland, Vittorio Arrigoni of Italy who is a Scottish British citizen, and the American activist, Darlene Wallach — were detained by Israel and imprisoned at Al-Ramla prison. They went on a hunger strike to draw attention to Israeli violations of all civil statutes. The Zionists frequently destroy the Palestinians’ boats, thereby eliminating their only means of livelihood. There have been other attempts at supplying food by sea. A boat carrying food from Cyprus managed to enter Ghazzah last November. On board were Lord Nazir Ahmed and Yvonne Ridley ofBritain; ostensibly, the boat made it through because of the British nationals. However, Libyan and Qatari ships carrying food items have been unsuccessful because of Israel’s naval blockade. The situation in Ghazzah is becoming desperate.
Prior to Eid al-Adha, some enterprising Palestinians attempted to smuggle goats from Egypt through tunnels at the Refah border crossing. Like any sycophantic proxy Muslim regime, which is more intent on mollifying taghut than relieving starving Muslims, Egyptian police and security forces immediately blow up the tunnels they discover. Desperate people are forced to take desperate measures for survival. Tunnel digging continues, even as collapses lead to tragic consequences. But how much food or other supplies can be smuggled using such tunnels? Perhaps for the first time in history, many Palestinians went without meat during Eid al-Adha.
Other regimes, like the Saudis, are also playing politics with the lives of the Palestinians. Far from helping to break the Zionist-imposed siege, this year, the Palestinians of Ghazzah were even denied the right to perform Hajj. Since the Saudis recognize only the US-Zionist-backed puppet regime of Mahmoud Abbas, they asked the Palestinian Authority for a list of people who will perform Hajj. The Palestinian Authority has no authority in Ghazzah; it is intensely despised by the people there and is rightly seen as a Zionist puppet. Most of its members are corrupt and act like gangsters, not very different from the rulers in Middle Eastern countries. They all have the same hatred for the Palestinians as the Zionist occupiers because the Palestinians refuse to go away quietly. When the Hamas-led government in Ghazzah provided its own list of those who will perform Hajj, the Saudis refused to give them visas because they were not carrying passports issued by the Palestinian Authority! While the Saudis insist that Muslims should not politicize Hajj by raising anti-US slogans (contrary to Allah’s command in the noble Qur’an to openly declare dissociation from the mushriks), they themselves play the worst kind of politics. Their denial of Hajj visas to the Palestinians selected by Hamas is a breach of a major tenet of Islam. This alone makes them unfit to be in control of the Haramain.
The Zionists have blocked food supplies to humans as well as animals. Perhaps they believe the Palestinians are no better than animals. This makes Zionists not only criminals but also racists and bigots. A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ghazzah that constitutes war crimes. Western journalists often downplay or justify Zionist crimes but even they are prevented from entering Ghazzah. Try as they might, the Zionists will no longer be able to hide their crimes.