Gaza: An Essential Backgrounder

One of the frustrating aspects of the media coverage of the current war in Gaza is the complete lack of context of most reporting, as if what’s happning now has no relations to the long occupation of Gaza and subsequent blockade. Thankfully, the New York Times has provided a helpful backgrounder by Rashid Khalidi.

Here is the key part of Khalidi’s op-ed:

THE OCCUPATION The Gazans have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel is still widely considered to be an occupying power, even though it removed its troops and settlers from the strip in 2005. Israel still controls access to the area, imports and exports, and the movement of people in and out. Israel has control over Gaza’s air space and sea coast, and its forces enter the area at will. As the occupying power, Israel has the responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention to see to the welfare of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

THE BLOCKADE Israel’s blockade of the strip, with the support of the United States and the European Union, has grown increasingly stringent since Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006. Fuel, electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out of the Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threatening problems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation.

The blockade has subjected many to unemployment, penury and malnutrition. This amounts to the collective punishment — with the tacit support of the United States — of a civilian population for exercising its democratic rights.

One thought on “Gaza: An Essential Backgrounder

  1. President George Bush in November 2004: “…And the Palestinians may decide to elect a real strong personality. But we’ll hold their feet to the fire to make sure that democracy prevails, that there are free elections. And if they don’t — the people of the Palestinian Territory don’t like the way this person is responding to their needs, they will vote him or her out.
    […] And one of these days the people of the Palestinian — the Palestinians will realize that there is a bright future because freedom is taking hold — a future that enables their children to get educated; a future in which they can start their businesses; a future in which they’re certain that the money that’s going into the treasury of their government is being spent fairly, in a transparent way; a future in which corruption is not the norm; a future in which rule of law prevails. And that leads to a peaceful society.”

    He was kidding, of course.

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