Notes from Besieged Gaza - by Stephen Lendman
On June 17, Israel's Cabinet issued a six point plan, agreeing to ease access for civilian goods entering Gaza without loosening inflexible security measures to restrict them. So what's changed? Not much. Increased truck traffic has been modest at best. The consumer ban was partially lifted, permitting previously prohibited items like ketchup, chocolate and children's toys.
Yet, banned products still include vitally needed industrial and construction items, unrelated to security concerns Israel claims, bogusly calling them "dual use." As a result, the promised ease is unfulfilled. Strangling Gaza economically continues. Raw materials, spare parts, essential equipment, and numerous other non-military related goods are denied. In addition, no policy change eased people movement into and out of Gaza, those inside effectively imprisoned, exports still banned, and humanitarian flotillas threatened with forcible interdiction, in some cases their cargos and personal possessions stolen to prevent essential goods and cash donations from being delivered.
In an August 22 Common Dreams article, Ann Wright headlined," "Israeli Soldiers Sell Gaza Flotilla Passengers' Computers and Steal Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Cash," saying:
"An Israeli newspaper has revealed that four to six computers (among the hundreds seized from Mavi Marmara passengers were) sold by an Israeli First Lieutenant to three junior military personnel. On August 18, a second officer was arrested in connection with the theft."
Labor Party MK Eitan Kabel called the revelation "embarrassing, humiliating and infuriating," but there's more. "Israeli commandos also took cash and credit cards from passengers," an estimated $1,000 or more from each, or at least $750,000, donations intended for Gazans. Four passengers alone had $68,000 stolen, money needy Gazans didn't get.
Other items were also taken, including cell phones, cameras, and electronic equipment, supposedly kept safe but not returned when passengers were released. No one so far has been held accountable, nor for the cold-blooded murder of up to 15 passengers, three commissions investigating them, including:
-- the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), hopefully a second Goldstone Commission;