By Agustin Velloso
Special to PalestineChronicle.com
On Sunday, 11th November 2007, at about four o’clock in the morning, the pharmacist Salim Madani is in Sufa, the only border post to the Gaza Strip that the government of Israel opens every now and then. He, and a few others have been waiting for 14 day for a truck loaded with medicines for distribution in the Strip, still stuck on the Israeli side. They have been waiting for permission from the Israeli government so that they may move the load onto another truck so the medicines can move into Khan Yunis on the Palestinian side.
For many months ill Palestinians have been dying needlessly because many other trucks have not been authorized to transport medicines or even any other basic products – to the prison into which Gaza has been transformed. The children Mohammad Turk, Mohammad Helow and Shaban Lulu, are only three of the hundreds of Palestinians that have died in the last so many months as a result of the Israeli and international blockade.
Shifa’a hospital staff in Gaza City pointed out September 5, 2006 that the three boys had died because of renal complications that could not be treated as they had run out of the necessary medicines. The Emergency General Director of the Ministry of Health warned at the time of the imminent danger of death faced by more than six hundred children suffering from renal deficiencies. Since then, actually since Israel occupied Palestine for the first time, it has been very plain that Palestinian children, old people, women and men face the very present danger of losing their land, their houses, their way of life and even life itself, for no other reason other than they are not Jews.
It is also glaringly clear that from that date on that the international community has refused to put a stop to this slow and painful genocide. On the contrary, they have chosen to make it possible in many ways for Israel to carry out its own Final Solution in Palestine: giving them weapons, money, political support and punishing the Palestinians in Gaza with a boycott that cries out to heaven with anguish for its cruelty and brutality.
Here, in Spain, on September 12, 2007, while the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was making public the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli bullets and missiles (4.878 of whom 969 were children), the Prince of Asturias Foundation, in an act that could only be understood if committed by a psychopath such as Hannibal Lector, granted the "Concord Prize" to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem for being a living memory of a great historical tragedy and for its great efforts to promote, among the present and future generations, from that memory, the defeat of hate, racism and intolerance (sic).
Salim, sick of his pointless wait, is about to go back home once more when he sees that another truck appears to take the place of the one for which he has been waiting. Puzzled, he decides to wait. Several workers transfer the goods very quickly from the truck that brought them through Israeli territory to the truck that will take them to the Palestinian side. This is a compulsory system implanted by Israel to make life for the Palestinian people as difficult as possible. What was it? Perhaps food or basic products, urgent supplies or medicines. Of course not! it was a load of banners, flags, pennants, T-shirts and caps to be used at the march to take place on the 11th to commemorate the anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death.
Thanks to the politics of the slow motion Final Solution implemented in the Gaza Strip, Gazans lack everything and very nearly nothing goes in. On the other hand, the border post of Sufa, which according to OCHA’s report no 50 of November 9, 2007 lacks the infrastructure to handle the distribution of food and medicines and was open only six days out of the nine it was supposed to be operational according report no 49 of October 2.
Talking in less technical terms but closer to reality, what OCHA is actually saying is that the Israelis stop the food at the border until it perishes and the medicines go out of date. In this way " the beasts in two legs" (as the Palestinians are called by the Israelis) fall ill for lack of vitamins, enough food or the essential elements necessary for a healthy life. Then they find that they cannot find any help in medicines that turn out to be ineffective.
Back in Gaza city, Salim goes out to the street where he watches thousands of demonstrators with empty stomachs and heads full of false illusions. A few, nevertheless, have a fully satisfied belly and a wallet far bigger than most; they plan to move from plan A, which is commemorating the death of Arafat three years ago, to plan B, which is provoking the Palestinian [Hamas] security forces by engineering a violent confrontation with them. It seems necessary to add, in every propitious occasion, one more problem to the long and heavy list that the whole world has thrown onto Hamas’ back in order to try to defeat it on points, once they have had to admit that it is too strong to be defeated by KO.
It is necessary to exhaust and confuse the hungry and desperate masses, so that they are able to believe that it is Hamas, the party they voted so massively into power, almost two years ago, the real obstacle that stops them getting the bread and peace that has been denied to them, although not by Gaza, but by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
While Salim sees what is happening and smokes a cigarette, he wonders in silence why a big march to remember Arafat could not have been organized last year, or the year before, but this year.
For his part, Abu Mazen, along with the others, gives orders to extract as much political profit from the violence as possible despite the fact that on the eve of the march there was a meeting between Fatah and Hamas to smooth over any tensions. Below the surface, however, they were preparing a subversive action against the legitimate Hamas government, but even more so, against the Palestinian cause.
A few insults and threats here, some stone throwing and the firing of a few shots there, were enough for the pressure cooker that is Gaza to explode without hope. The social and mental balance of these people cannot possibly be more fragile after the collective punishment they have endured in the last few years, so a well timed provocation could be quite enough to bring the government down.
The ingenious Israeli policies in Palestine, which basically try to implement the Final Solution in slow motion are evident to the careful observer. Sadly, it seems that the Palestinians themselves have hastened this process with a fratricidal war. For that Israel relies on a handful of collaborators, with hundreds of thousands of very desperate people and a group of accomplices who support them and even reward them.
-Agustin Velloso is an activist and a writer based in Madrid – Spain. He is a regular contributor to PalestineChronicle.com. (Translated by Ernesto Paramo – www.tlaxcala.org)