Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Siege of Gaza

In war, and in war-like situations, a fog of madness descends. And sometimes that madness is not the spontaneous outbreak of catastrophic violence, but mimicry: it pretends to be its opposite.

Unhurried bureaucrats practise their rational, orderly professions; paper flows in their offices, not blood. Administrative processes and office protocols are scrupulously observed. The means justifies the end.

Thanks to an Israeli human rights group, details are now emerging about Israel's illegal blockade* of Gaza. Arcane decisions, subject to change without notice, govern the daily lives of Gazans.

Children's toys are not allowed in.
Nor is wood to make furniture. Canned meat and tuna are, but not canned fruit; mineral water gets through, but not fruit juice; cinnamon is permitted, coriander is not.

Here is the full list of what is allowed to enter Gaza, at least as of this writing. Israeli authorities have also taken it upon themselves to calculate, to the last calorie, the minimal intake of nourishment required by the inhabitants of Gaza to survive.

This precise yet lunatic attention to detail has resonances that I dare not mention.

Before our eyes (unless we choose to look away), 1.5 million "drugged cockroaches in a bottle" are struggling to live their daily lives, or perhaps just to stay sane, caught between the twin and co-dependent madnesses of Hamas fundamentalism and Israeli state policy.

[H/t ftbt, b/c]
* "Israeli acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed."

From Part II, Article 4, Additional Protocol II of the Fourth Geneva Convention:

1. All persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities, whether or not their liberty has been restricted, are entitled to respect for their person, honour and convictions and religious practices. They shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction. It is prohibited to order that there shall be no survivors.

2. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the following acts against the persons referred to in paragraph I are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever:
(b) collective punishments;


Testify said...

Todd, we appear to be in agreement that Gaza does not resemble any modern definition of democracy. Perhaps you will explain that fact to thwap, who is confused on the point.

The question appears to be how closely Hamas resembles democracy in the 19th or 18th century. I'll let you and your superior knowledge of history make that judgment. You might indicate which party in days gone by had a principle like this one in Hamas' charter: "the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"

As for the rule of law, consider Amnesty International: "Hamas forces and militias in the Gaza Strip have engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of "collaborating" with Israel, as well as opponents and critics. At least two dozen men have been shot dead by Hamas gunmen in this period. Scores of others have been shot in the legs, kneecapped or inflicted with other injuries intended to cause permanent disability, subjected to severe beatings which have caused multiple fractures and other injuries, or otherwise tortured or ill-treated.

One would think that the friends of the Palestinians would insist they deserve better instead of making excuses for Hamas.

Dr.Dawg said...


The pic was taken just after Operation Cast Lead, IIRC. No doubt toys were permitted before the siege, and the ball doesn't look new.

Do we have dates for your photos?

Jay Currie said...

Hmmm...These look like children's toys to me, Steve C


and, here's more:


And, not to put to fine a point on it but where did the junkyard kid to the left in Dawg's pic get the soccer ball?

Banning children's toys...yeah, right.