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;
-- Israel's Turkel Commission, the Netanyahu government's arranged whitewash; and
-- a second Ban Ki-moon appointed UN commission with former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe vice-chairman, a man tainted by corruption, scandal, and links to his country's drug cartels and paramilitary death squads, responsible for murdering thousands of trade unionists, campesinos, human rights workers, independent journalists, pro-democracy advocates, and others opposing Colombia's narco-state terrorism and ties to US imperialism - his appointment outraging activists demanding justice, not coverup and denial.
In an August 17 open letter, Besieged Gaza, Palestine, its members listed below, wrote Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging he demand Ban Ki-moon remove Uribe, saying:
"Mr. Prime Minister, it is an insult to the memory of those killed (including nine Turkish citizens on Turkey's Mavi Marmara) to have their blood 'redeemed' by a man who has a record of violations against human rights and international law. (He was) an accomplice in corruption and crimes against humanity....(He) supported the displacement of Afro-Colombian families from their ancestral territories in La Toma, Suarez, and kept silent against the denial of their economic and territorial rights. (He's also) a devoted Zionist, committed to the myth and fabrication of 'Israel's security.' "
It's obscene to assign this man "a duty to uncover crimes against humanity against citizens of your own country," ones he intends to suppress. (We) urge you now to take action (against him and defend) justice and accountability for Palestine through boycotting apartheid Israel, severing all diplomatic ties with it, and imposing sanctions against it until it complies with international law and ends its occupation, colonization and apartheid in Palestine."
Palestinian General Federations of Trade Unions
University Teachers' Association in Palestine