Israel blockades UN food shipments to Gaza
All afternoon I’ve been playing around with the idea of writing about this latest story in the Washington Post.
Again, I’m having trouble with it. You see, I just don’t like the idea of children going hungry. I don’t care who’s children they are. Children are children, and they should never have to pay a price for opposing adults’ politics.
The United Nations said Friday that it had closed its food-distribution program because it cannot resupply its warehouses and that 750,000 Palestinians who depend on U.N. aid will have to wait until Israel lets more food enter the strip.
European Union External Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner called on Israel to reopen the crossings in keeping with international law requiring that civilians have access to essential services, such as electricity and clean water.
“I am profoundly concerned about the consequences for the Gazan population of the complete closure of all Gaza crossings for deliveries of fuel and basic humanitarian assistance,” she told the Reuters news agency.
She said 20 European members of parliament were also denied entry into Gaza this week.
The Israeli blockade has disrupted a U.N. program that feeds about half of Gaza’s 1.4 million residents. Food distributed by the body’s Relief and Works Agency includes flour, oil, rice, sugar and canned meat, and is meant to provide 60 percent of daily caloric needs.
“Many of these families have been subsisting on this ration for years, and they are living hand-to-mouth,” Ging said. “This is a disastrous situation, and it’s getting worse and worse. Even during the cease-fire we were prohibited from building up our reserves, which could have prevented the current crisis.”
“Instead of blaming Israel, they should be blaming Hamas,” Lerner said. “We hope the Palestinians will stop firing rockets and we can get the crossings opened again.”
Palestinian parliament member Jamal al-Khodari said that 80 percent of Gazans live below the poverty line and that the average per capita income is $2 a day.
“This is an illegal collective punishment, he said. “There is a shortage of medicines in the hospitals, and the cutting of electricity is further pushing the situation deeper toward a crisis.”
Ahmed Abu Hamda, a Palestinian journalist in Gaza, said the Israeli closure was the main talk of Palestinians at Friday prayer in the mosques.
“People just feel hopeless; we don’t see any solution to this situation,” he said in a telephone interview. “They say, ‘What the hell is going on here? I just want to live.’ ”
I most definitely understand how Israel feels. God only knows, if someone were lobbing bombs into my home and my neighborhood, threatening the lives of my children and my neighbors, I’d be really upset and angry too.
Yet, when I think of the poor, hungry Palestinian children, my heart bleeds for them. They’re not responsible for this mess. Why should they suffer?
Oftentimes, when I think about the Palestinian children I think about the Jewish ghettos at the beginning of WWII. There’s so much similarity that it hurts to think about it.
To borrow the words of some other famous person: what we have here is a failure to communicate.
Hamas must understand that Israel is not going anywhere. It’s here to stay. The world has decreed it.
What Israel must understand is that the Palestinians also are there to stay. The world has decreed it.
So, if the two conflicting factions are ever to end the killing of innocent children, both sides must agree to a compromise. Children should never go hungry or be slaughtered because of some adult’s ideological viewpoint. They didn’t create the mess and they shouldn’t be the ones to suffer because of it.