Israel is not the Middle East’s only theocracy. It is arguably also not the Middle East’s only apartheid state. It is, however, the Middle East’s only nuclear-armed country. Not only is it the only nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East, but its military is by far larger and more powerful than that of all other Middle Eastern nations combined. This enormous military might is delivered on an annual basis, free of charge, by Washington.
Israel’s massive military might, minus its nuclear weapons, was let loose on May 8, 2021 on the Middle East’s largest open-air prison, otherwise known as Gaza. This open-air prison is more densely populated than any other population centre anywhere else in the world.
For decades now, Israel has hermetically sealed Gaza’s borders — not even life-saving medicines are permitted to go through. In 2008, former US President Jimmy Carter, aiming to end the Gaza blockade, acted as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, the democratically elected government of Gaza. President Carter’s proposal was actually brilliant for its simplicity. Israel would re-open Gaza’s borders and Hamas would ensure that no Gaza citizen would send projectiles into Israel. Hamas immediately agreed. Israel, however, did not. It insisted that the firing of projectiles come to an end first, and only then would it agree to re-opening Gaza’s borders for its desperate citizens. Hamas immediately agreed to that change and requested a set schedule after the firing of projectiles came to an end as to when Israel would reopen the borders. Israel refused and insisted instead that the border be opened in a “reasonable period of time.” Reluctantly, once again Hamas agreed and set about the impossible task of ensuring that not a single Gaza citizen would fire any projectiles at Israel. Hamas succeeded in this task. However, Israel never did reopen its border with Gaza and eventually the intermittent firing of projectiles by desperate Gazans resumed.
In May 2010, the Mavi Marmara, leading a flotilla of six ships, set sail from Cyprus with medical supplies for Gaza. Its crew and passengers were all unarmed pacifists. Before setting sail, the pacifists had the entire flotilla searched to verify that there were no arms on board. As the flotilla approached Gaza, the Israel navy ordered that it stop. The pacifists, convinced of the righteousness of their cause, proceeded. In the middle of the night, before they reached the Gaza shore and while they were still in international waters, numerous Israeli military helicopters dropped heavily armed Israeli commandos by rope ladders onto the Mavi Marmara. While taking control of the ship, the commandos killed nine of the pacificists and injured many others.
Subsequent humanitarian attempts to sail to Gaza with desperately needed medicines and supplies have also been stopped by the Israeli military, with the ships confiscated and those on board deported.
It is long past time for the international community to resurrect President Carter’s brilliant mediation proposal. The desperate and hungry citizens of Gaza deserve nothing less.
Below are seven links to background information on the Middle East. I assure you that you will find them very informative. I urge you for the sake of not just the Gaza population but also the Palestinians in the illegally occupied West Bank and the Palestinians living in the apartheid state of Israel to take a few moments now to click on the links below to become more informed about the plight of these people.
- Palestine Historical Summary in Maps [pdf] (Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East)
- Historical Context of Israel-Palestine Conflict (CJPME)
- Israel’s War on Palestine
- On Contact: Palestinian and Israeli hostilities (Chris Hedges and Dr. Sami Al-Arian)
- Abby Martin’s “Gaza Fights for Freedom”
- Canadian church leaders call on foreign minister to oppose Israel’s “evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes” (Canada Talks Israel Palestine)
- Crazed anti-Palestinian Green adviser must be removed (Yves Engler)
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (May 20, 2021): 418.87 ppm
One year ago (May 20, 2020): 416.98 ppm
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