Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You are now entering Hostile Territory

Firstly, a blessed and joyous Ramadan to everyone. I only wish it was so joyous an occasion for my friends and family in Gaza.

Today Israel officially announced Hamas a "hostile entity" (although that sort of had me confused-is this to say they were of "friendly entity" status before??). My friend Darryl congratulated me on what he called a "Status Upgrade". "Its like getting bumped up to first class" he said. So now I am both hostile and stateless-is that some kind of new record?

The new classification if of course an an attempt by the Israeli government to grant itself a legal green light to do whatever the hell it wants in Gaza, without being bound by the restrictions of an "Occupier"; in the words of al-Haq human rights organization, it is "a deliberate attempt by Israel to obscure its continued Occupation of the Gaza Strip"...not that the law has stopped them before.

But fear not, country folk. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed reassuringly that the U.S. "would not abandon the innocent Palestinians". Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also said that Israel will continue to supply Gaza's humanitarian needs..., just not "all the needs that are more than the humanitarian".

... like fuel, for example. Oh, and electricity. So don't worry, people of Gaza, you won't starve (remember: you are on a diet). You will get to eat your (cold) Ramadan iftars,-only in the dark, and of course no water to wash down that meal (or your clothes, for that matter) since the pumps are driven by electricity.

And no gas to heat your food or houses with come winter. And you'll have to consume what you get quickly, since the refrigerators (both yours and the supermarket's) won't work without power. And don't even THINK about getting sick-prevention is your best insurance policy now. Hospital ICUs will have to be powered by generators. Kidney dialysis? Start writing a will. Baby formula? Breastfeed. Vaccinations? Stay home from school.

"Civilian levers" is what the Israeli cabinet has mockingly decided to call these "measures" of collective punishment. No doubt this sick euphemism was the brain-child of the ever-reliable Dov Weisglass, of "the Gaza diet" fame.

And remember, you are the "innocent Palestinians" stuck in the middle of all of this.

Now how about some thank you notes to Condi? Its Ramadan, after all, the month of mercy, forgiveness and thanks.


Anonymous Christina Pacosz said...

There is a photo of Condi and Tzipi appearing like sweetly smiling schoolgirls on Al-Jazeera's site today that says it all unfortunately. How the world can continue to turn away from the suffering of the Palestinians is beyond understanding. Words are never enough but they are all I have. Best wishes for the best Ramadan despite the terrible trials of no electricity/water, etc.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Bilbo said...

It certainly is nasty of those Israelis to repay the generous gift of rockets from Gaza with cutoffs of power, goods and services. What are they thinking? Has anyone considered what might happen if the rockets stopped? Perhaps then the Israelis would stop their actions. At some point, people on both sides are going to have to decide that this endless cycle of chicken and egg exchange of retaliation is stupid, and decide that living in peace is better. What a fantasy!

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Frida said...

Civilian levers? How can they say this stuff with a straight face?

For some reason the spin has always been what makes me the maddest. If you are going to cut off the water, fuel, food and electricity supply to men, women and children who are trying to live a life of some quality under unbearable circumstances then at least have the balls to call a spade a spade. These are not "civilian levers" this is a classic, text book example of collective punishment, and there is a reason it is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions.

Maybe we should suggest that they sit down and watch "The Pianist" to remind themselves of where, when, how and why the Geneva Conventions were developed.

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you not writing anything about the cause of the Israeli measures, i.e. the permanent Palestinian rocket attacks launchend from Gaza. When I read Palestinian texts, it's always the same: We are innocent, we are only victims! Palestinians have to take responsibility for their own actions instead of pathetically complaining about Israel.

12:45 PM  
Blogger John & Anthea Mullis said...

Ramadan Kareem Laila

May Allah bless you and your family this Holy month.

For most of my life I was taught Israel were God's chosen people.

Well either Allah is a poor judge of character, or they were wrong!!!

How can people who claim to be Godly act like the children of Shaytan.

To quote Jesus, "By their fruits you shall know them."


3:34 PM  
Blogger Fatima said...

ramadan kareem to you too, ya Laila. Allah ma'hum there and everywhere.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did the Gazans vote for war if they can't stomach the consequences?

Why does the Islamist government of Gaza continue to allow the firing of rockets into Israel and itself bombard the crossing points if these things then hurt Gazans?

(And why the silence on how Hamas have treated Palestinian journalists Laila? Surely you don't support the thugs of Hamas and the beatings they hand out to your colleagues?)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Mushon said...

I know what sins I will be thinking of in this year's Yom Kippur. Israelis around the world should reflect on the constant wrongs we are responsible to and try for make sure we are doing everything we can to not find ourselves regretting the same sins next year.

Laila, as always my heart, my plea for forgiveness, and my action for change is with you, your family and your people.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Shihab said...

Ramadan Kareem Laila.

Our prayers are with you and your family and those suffering in Gaza. May Allah bestow the wisdom in our leaders for a way out of this mess and misery!

Cruelty will definitely be rewarded in the Afterlife, for Palestinian or Israeli.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to know if the majority of palestinians in Gaza support Hamas? and if they feel that Hamas represent their interest?

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may be really cliche but did you hear the one about the guy that killed both of his parents and asked the judge for mercy because he is suffering as an orphan?

6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bla Bla Bla.
You guys (You, not someone else) have been firing missiles at Israel for over 6 years. Not a year or two, six.
You also have elected Hamas to run your business and by that announced you call for the destruction of Israel.
Dont whine and complain. Israel has always had its hand reached for peace but you keep bitting it and the complaining.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous josy said...

i would so happily share my power, water, and safety with the people of gaza. if i could bottle the comfort i live in and send it to the palestinians i would, in a heartbeat. please, people of gaza, remember that it's the people that are big and powerful that are doing this shit, not the people who struggle to get by. i'm so, so sorry to be part of a country that is opressing you.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exactly is failing to give you something for free "collective punishment"? It's not like Israel plans to cut off the electricity generated in Gaza, they just won't provide any of their own. Israelis have no desire to provide the power used to make the bombs that kill them. Makes sense to me.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Tsedek said...

Laila, i really don't see the point in complaining about the 'rations' Israel is imposing upon the Gazans if all you have to do is stop the qassam firing for it to become normal again.
Why do you keep on complaining about something that could be so easily return to normal?
I am very much against this 'collective punishment' strategy of Israel but I don't see the point in your blog postings when all 'you' have to do is like I said: stop those qassams.
You haven't answered me when I asked you this in your previous posting. What am I to understand from that? That you agree?

2:01 PM  
Anonymous joncharles said...

The more I read about the situation in Palestine, the more upset/angry I get at the Israeli and American Administrations.

The "Hostile entity" label is just a deceptive play on words to create more misery and strife towards people living in Gaza. Even school children have been affected - going to school on an empty stomachs and without any textbooks!

The 'conquer and divide' strategy of recognizing Abbas and not Hamas is revolting considering that the latter is democratically elected by the people. The world, in particular, Europe, America and Israel has to recognise that sometimes people elect leaders which they may not like but that does not mean we cut them off completely.

The solution at least for the immediate future: Stop the sanctions and border crossing that is hurting ordinary Gazans. Also - to engage Hamas, which a group of Israeli writers have asked their government to do so - "talk" to Hamas, which I think is the most sensible thing to do now.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Ronen said...

As you say, Ramadan Kareem Laila.

I'll start with saying that I was touched by this entry. I really was. But then I started thinking and things are not as black and white as you claim. that's understandable. you have family and friends suffering. Why should you stop and consider the whole picture? There is no reason and I won't try to tell you where you are wrong. Surly you understand that your text is entirely one sided. As I said, this is understandable.
I will comment on one issue. I am a former Hebrew soldier. I've served in the Gaza strip, Hevron, Shchem, and more. I always treated all people in the exact same way - with nothing less then respect and kindness. as did all of my friends to the company. During my service there where more then one point in witch both sides were nearing peace. each and every time, Israel released terrorists, helped the Palestinians raise police forces, gave Palestinians weapons, resources, technology and anything else They needed. We (Palestinians and Hebrew )patrolled conquered territory together, and helped each other with true communication. We made friends there and looked forward to a better future. And yet, it took no time at all for the people of Gaza to ELECT a government of terrorists. Did you not know that Hamas are terrorists? are you shocked now to hear that some of the people in your government deliberately sent Palestinian kids to murder Hebrew kids, women and men? The answer is obvious. You knew it all. And yet you elected them. You've elected a government that said with all it's might - We will destroy our neighbors. No negotiation will take place. We are not here to play and sing. We are here to kill Israelis. Well, they keep on trying each and every day. Shooting missiles at strictly civilian population. Not at soldiers. Just people. Just like you and your family. I know. you and your family are having some bad times over there. I wish with all my heart there would have been a solution. I promise that no Israeli has any interest in you having a bad time. but what will you have us do? sit and wait for Hamas to succeed? That won't happen. We do have a right to defend ourselves.
I can only hope that should Hamas understand that there will be no more silence treatment from Israel, They won't shoot at us any more. Thats it. Don't shoot at us and we won't shoot at you. and if it will work out as I wish it will, then in no time at all, there will be Israelis again in Gaza. This time, as tourists.
Peace and Shalom.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what are these collective punishment measures supposed to do, exactly? It seems like the average Palestinian cant even control what happens on their street, let alone freeze these various violent factions in their tracks.


2:23 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

It's foolish to think that stopping Qassam fire over into Israel would help Gaza get back to normalcy. The phony disengagement was the beginning the imprisonment of the Gazans and the total dissection of the West Bank. It's great to decontextualise in order to suit our own reality.

Qassams are mere retaliations from a people being occupied and who are subsisting on rations and pity (thanks to the West).

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Mush said...

We are tired of hearing about Palestinians, you and your people can not expect the world to feel sorry for you any more.

Israel left Gaza and declared it will in the future leave the west bank. Your people had a chance to prove the world they can run they're own state peacefully. instead the majority of Palestinians chose fanatic Hamas to run the country, while Israel acknowledges your right to have your own country, your elected leaders declared that Israel has no right to exist. thousands of missiles were shot by Palestinians towards Israel since Israel left Gaza.

Amazingly, the Palestinians who are living under Israeli occupation in the west bank have much better life then those living under the Hamas regime in Gaza.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, then, joshua you will never know would you, because it has never been tried. which makes (the not knowing) your opinion -to say the very least- 'unreliable'.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Laila,

This is not a comment to your article, but a mail to you.

I read you in the Courrier International. I feel deeply sad for what happen to you and your "entity", as you call it.

I am musician. I imagined breaking a little hole in the wall that make your people prisonner by following way :
- get in contact with a unknown musician from Gaza,
- obtain a piece of music from her or him, maybe a mp3, or a score, or any other support
- arrange the piece for a medium orchestra here in Geneva, (I have a opportunity soon)
- playing the piece soon in concert

I found impossible until know to get a contact with an "unknown musician" from Gaza.

Maybe you know a musician? Maybe you will have enough time to answer me?

In any case, I want you to know my deep concern about the sufferings you are living there, and my profound hope that a solution may be found, endly, for that terrible situation.

Yves Massy

I am sorry for my bad english, I hope you will understand me

11:18 AM  
Blogger Bibi-Aisha said...

It never fails to shock me how people can be so blinded in their thinking,and so ignorant in logical intellect. Palestenians have a right to defend themselves. Their land was stolen from them, they live under oppressive,apartheid conditions far worse than ever experienced in south africa. If your country was invaded,your land taken from you, your rights to decent life degraded,would you just accept it? i don't agree with the killing of civilians in suicide bombs,or rocket attacks, as islam clearly states civilians are not to be harmed. But soldiers are legal casualties of war-for indeed, palestine is a war zone. They have a legitimate right to protect themselves. America and israel are the worlds state terrorists. The cruel and inhumane murder in lebanon by israel, the atrocities of iraq and afghanistan testify. Leila,i apologise for digressing from the topic. Our duas are with the people of palestine, and surely, the oppressors will face the Almighty and answer for their crimes.

2:13 AM  

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