by Diane V. McLoughlin
June 5, 2010: Gaza has been under an illegal military siege by Israel since 2006. Gaza comprises 1.5 million Palestinian people, 48% of whom are 15 yrs. of age or younger. In 2008 Israel entered into a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. There were no rockets fired by Hamas during the months of July, August, September and October. Eleven rockets in total were fired by other splinter groups - Hamas did its best to control them although they continued to be forced by Israel to exist under inhumane conditions.
The Guardian: 'Israel's policy was summed up by Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, earlier this year. 'The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger'; this is a crime against humanity othewise known as collective punishment. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/16/israel)
The ceasefire was to lead to a lifting of the siege and a normalizing of relations. Israel girded the entire time with U.S. donated weapons to attack Gaza in 'Operation Cast Lead' - in November. Thousands of Gazans were injured; 1,400 Gazans were killed - most of them civilians. Israel deliberately destroyed 20% of Gaza's productive farm land; chicken production facilities and the chickens; water wells; a third of all schools; thousands of homes; U.N. relief facilities including the main warehouse for humanitarian food and medicine storage; a police training ceremony wherein hundreds of graduates were murdered; Gaza's parliament buildings; destruction and murder conducted with illegal weapons such as chemical weapons and flechettes. Incidences of war crimes up to and including the murder of little children in broad daylight bearing white flags as families were ordered from their homes by Israeli soldiers. Embedded Israeli rabbis instructed soldiers to show no mercy.
Today: it takes 400 trucks bearing basic food stuffs per day to keep the Gazans from frank starvation. Israel permits 171 trucks on average to enter Gaza per WEEK.
95% of Gaza's drinking water is contaminated - inviting pandemic, particularly, just as happened in Iraq pre-Iraq war - amongst Gaza's malnourished children.
Why does the humanitarian world try to bring, amongst other things, cement to Gaza? Because Israel, since the ending of their assault on Gaza early in 2009, has refused to allow building materials into Gaza so that the people could begin to rebuild their shattered homes and schools.
Gilad Shalit is a soldier who at the time of his 'kidnapping' was enforcing Israel's illegal military siege. He is not innocent.
Israel has, in contrast, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in detention, without charge or trial.
Originally a series of comments left to, 'Israel boards Gaza aid ship, blockade criticized'; Ori Lewis; Reuters; June 6, 2010