Revolution #54, July 23, 2006

Gaza Under Siege

Even as the bombs fall on Lebanon, Israel’s brutal siege of Gaza continues into its third week. Like the attack on Lebanon, the attack on Gaza is aimed at an entire population as well as the civilian infrastructure. Israeli F-16s bombed the power station, plunging most of Gaza into total darkness. Lack of electricity also means no water, no sewage system, no cooling, no storing of whatever food is left, no communication, and more.

Hospitals have been able to function with generators. But generators rely on fuel and Israel has sealed off all the entrances to Gaza for the last two weeks, preventing fuel as well as water, medicine, and food from reaching the people and leaving thousands of people stranded. Sick and elderly sustained on machines are slowly perishing. Babies in incubators are dying. With the growing piles of rubbish that can no longer be picked up from the streets, disease is festering. A large humanitarian crisis is developing in Gaza because of Israel’s attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared, “I want no one to sleep at night in Gaza,” and Israeli jets fly over Gaza air-space forcing the population to live in a state of heightened tension, expecting an attack at any moment. An even more brutal tactic is the sudden explosion of sonic booms over towns and refugee camps in Gaza. These are not the kind of sonic boom you might hear from a high-flying jet in the U.S. Made by low-flying Israeli fighters, these sound and feel like a very large explosion has taken place very close by and can shatter all the windows and shake buildings.

Nora Barrows-Friedman, a co-host of Flashpoints on Pacifica radio, reported from Gaza on July 13, “Israel killed 24 people yesterday, including an entire family in Khan Younis, in the middle of the besieged prison of the Gaza Strip. Mother, father, children. All wiped out. Several days earlier, the same story—a family trying to enjoy a bit of a respite between shelling, barbecuing corn on the cob in their backyard, when a missile landed on their heads. And who can forget, before the official Israeli siege began late last month, the June 9th explosion on the Gaza beach, which killed seven members of the Ghaliya family—the young surviving girl running frantically between the sliced and charred bodies of her father and mother, six-month-old brother.”

According to Ma’an Press Agency, the Palestinian Ministry of Health revealed on July 10 that the Israeli Army was possibly using banned chemical weapons. The Ministry of Health reported that doctors in Gaza are reporting injuries caused explosives containing toxics and radioactive materials which burn and tear the victim’s body from the inside and leave long term deformations.

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