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Thursday, December 11, 2008

About Humanity

About humanity

Apparently, UN human rights investigator Richard Falk has discredited himself by daring to suggest that by keeping 1.5 million people on the brink of starvation and isolating them from the rest of the world Israel is guilty of a war crime.

This, at least, is the view of an Israeli government spokesman who, quite without irony, asserted that the fault in fact lies with the Palestinians, who are apparently denying themselves medicine, fuel and food.

That Israel should be so divorced from reality and so dismissive of common standards of decency and humanity should come as little surprise. What Israel is doing to Gazans, Palestinians in general, is not new, after all. A century-old landgrab became a 60-year-long process of ethnic cleansing and a 41-year-old illegal occupation.

That Israel should seek to tarnish the most creditable and vocal critics of its crimes is not a surprise either. Think of the horrendous character assassination of former US president Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to name but two of the most egregious examples, that pro-Israel fanatics and Israeli officials have engaged in.

But that the world should stand by, time after time, UN resolution after UN resolution, war crime after war crime, and do nothing, or worse, like the EU, actually upgrade relations with what should rightly be condemned and treated as a pariah state, a stain upon man’s conscience, is unforgivable.

History will judge harshly all those who, in their apathy, bear witness to the slow death by strangulation of an entire people. But that is scant consolation to Gazans. History will not help them now.

Enough has to be enough. Enough of Israel’s lies and crimes and enough of the world’s silent complicity. Like the handful of activists who have now braved and defeated Israel’s blockade of Gaza four times, the countries of this region must start making their presence felt and throw their weight around.

It is time for serious and insistent Arab efforts to break this inhumane siege. A thousand supply ships must head for Gaza and let Israel stop them if they dare.

This is not about Hamas or Fateh, Palestinians or Israelis. This is about humanity.

11 December 2008

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