Moral Low Ground


WIKILEAKS RELEASE: Israel Intentionally Kept Gaza Economy on Brink of Collapse

Rafah orphanage destroyed by Israeli attack during Operation Cast Lead. (Wikipedia)

Rafah orphanage destroyed by Israeli attack during Operation Cast Lead. (Wikipedia)

Newly released US government documents prove that Israel intentionally kept Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse.”

The Palestinian enclave, home to 1,300,000 people, is being punished for electing the hard-line Islamist group Hamas, in democratic elections, to govern the territory. Hamas, in an act of defiance against Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, launched thousands of rockets  from Gaza into Israel until a brutal 2008-2009 Israeli invasion largely ended the attacks. It also ended the lives of 926 innocent civilians.

The US diplomatic cables, leaked by whistleblower website Wikileaks,  also prove that the US was briefed on Israel’s plans: “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (US embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,” one of the cables read.  Another said that Israel intended to get Gaza’s economy “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

It’s no news that Israel wanted to squeeze the Palestinians to the point of near starvation. “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,” Dov Weisglass, a top adviser to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert explained back in 2006.”We will not harm the supply of food  for children, medicine for those who need it and fuel for institutions that save lives,” Olmert promised. But what about food for adults? What about fuel for non-life saving institutions and the general population? These innocent people would be victims of Israel’s sadistic embargo.

The  blockade of Gaza banned, at one time or another, all of the following items– and this is just a partial list: canned goods; plastic sheeting; toys; books; electric appliances; auto parts; fabrics; threads; needles; light bulbs; candles; matches; books; musical instruments; crayons; clothing; shoes; mattresses; sheets; blankets; cutlery; crockery; cups; glasses; animals; pasta; tea; coffee; sausages; chocolate; sesame seeds; nuts; margarine; salt; artificial sweetener; legumes; yeast; diapers; sanitary napkins and toilet paper.

As you might imagine, life was– and still is– hell for the innocent people of Gaza. Israel says it has loosened its draconian embargo since international outcry over its excessively violent raid on a flotilla of humanitarian aid ships that killed nine activists last May. But Palestinians, and many international observers, say Gaza remains the “world’s largest open-air prison.” British Prime Minister David Cameron made waves last July when he declared that “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.”

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