The situation in Gaza is so dire it is beyond comprehension.
Entire blocks of residential apartment buildings are being totally destroyed by Israel’s massive and unprecedented aerial bombardment. The health care system in Gaza is no longer on the brink of collapse – it is now collapsing. As you read this blog, surgeons are performing surgery without anesthesia. Nurses, having run out of antiseptics, are now using vinegar to keep wounds from being infected, with even this solution in short supply as stores run out.
However, even before this brutal Israeli attack, the living conditions in Gaza were so bad as to be unbearable for the 2.3 million Gazans penned by Israel into this tiny sliver of land.
There is a tragic irony in Israel’s treatment of Gaza and its residents.
On October 2, 1940, during World War Two, officials in occupied Poland signed an order officially creating a Jewish district in Warsaw – sealing the area and creating what is known as the Warsaw Ghetto. By April 1941, 460,00 Jewish inhabitants had been moved into an area of 3.4 square kilometers.
Conditions in the ghetto were grim. The Nazi administration deliberately limited food supplies to the bare minimum, causing mass starvation and malnutrition. Medical care was scarce and diseases such as typhus became rampant. Between October 1940 and July 1942, approximately 92,000 (20%) of the Jewish population held in the ghetto died.
July 1942 saw the beginning of the relocation of Jewish residents from the ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp. It quickly became evident that this ‘resettlement’ meant almost certain death and underground resistance groups began to form in the ghetto.
In April 1943, as German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport the remaining inhabitants, the resistance groups staged an uprising – the first significant urban revolt against German occupation in Europe. It lasted only four weeks, after which those still alive were caught, deported to Treblinka, and killed.
April 19, 2023 saw the commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Polish and Israeli officials. Those who fought and died in Warsaw were celebrated as heroes and heroines for not simply accepting their fate.
While living in enforced severe conditions does not necessarily lead to violence, it can be argued that it does produce an environment which can create a pretext for violence. The Nazi-controlled Warsaw ghetto lasted for three years. The Israeli-controlled Gaza blockade has lasted for sixteen years.
There is no excuse for the killings and taking of hostages by Hamas on October 7th. Equally, there is no excuse for the years of Israeli-enforced ghettoization and deprivation that has been suffered by the Palestinian people in Gaza.
If world leaders choose to ignore the underlying root causes that provoked this current crisis and try instead to address only this current crisis, it will only be a matter of time before the crisis repeats itself.
It is up to all of us to do everything possible to make certain that the Canadian government hears clearly that we will not be satisfied with any temporary solution that just puts the lid back on a boiling pot, and that the underlying causes of the current dispute must be addressed.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (October 31, 2023): 418.94ppm
One year ago (October 31, 2022): 416.36ppm
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