Gaza: Musings on Double Standards

By Felicity Arbuthnot

One of the images of Jewish heroism, lauded in history books and in Holocaust commemorations, is the courage of those, especially the young, in the Warsaw Ghetto, when all Jewish Warsaw residents were ordered by the German invaders in to a small section of the city.

The courage of those who dug tunnels, smuggled goods necessary for survival in, and communications in and out, has become a legendary act of resistance and courage.

The people of Gaza (roughly seventy five percent of whom are under twenty five) have had even the water in their natural springs stolen by a population to whom Balfour promised: "the establishment of a home in Palestine for the Jewish people … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine .. " The Palestinians, their lands, homes, even cemeteries, stolen and destroyed, their ancient olive groves burned, their people spat at, imprisoned, tortured, bombed, walled in, is now also near land locked by Israel’s maritime aggression in Gaza’s territorial waters. Even fishing is a victim.

Gaza, since 2000 especially, has become a sunnier Warsaw Ghetto. Imports are strangulatingly controlled or totally denied by Israel, thus life line tunnels have also been dug between Gaza and Egypt.

In the building of one desperation-borne structure: "in the cold, often trapped and suffocating under water or collapsing walls of dirt and concrete, eighty two people died", working in shifts, twenty four hours a day, Hyam Noir and Fady Adwan write graphically.

Goods brought through the tunnels, as in Nazi occupied Warsaw seventy years earlier, are life’s necessities for survival, including medicines, food, clothes, vital spare parts, foreign currency.

World governments either collude with this ongoing humanitarian disaster and legal shame, or simply ignore Gaza’s plight. That Balfour stated clearly that the Jewish people were to be guests in Palestine, not jailers and conquerers, has been ignored from literally, day one. For  building their desperation-driven sub-terranian life line, the rightful residents of Palestine are called terrorists.

Shame on every politician, of any country who colludes with, or ignores this ongoing obscenity.

– Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.) She contributed this article to

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