Palestine: Gaza Remains a Giant Holding Cell
[reprinted from Issue No. 318 (Sept. 10, 2014) of Informations Ouvrières (Labor News), the weekly newspaper of the Independent Workers Party of France. The translation is by The Organizer newspaper.]
Since the end of the Israeli bombings of Gaza in late August, the media have been silent on the situation facing the Palestinian people — as if the bombing halt had resolved matters. . . .
By Lucien Gauthier
The setback imposed on the Israeli government — which was compelled to suspend its bombing and ease the blockade of Gaza — does not mean that the issue has been resolved. Essentially, the blockade of the Gaza Strip continues. Only a trickle of goods and reconstruction materials are allowed through the checkpoints by the Israeli army. On the Egyptian side, the Egyptian army is equally sparing in what it allows through the entry point of Rafah.
The blockade is still in place.
It prohibits the reconstruction of Gaza, where thousands of homes, schools and hospitals were destroyed by Israeli bombings. Many building materials are denied entry by Israeli and the Palestinian Authority under the false pretext that they could be used to build tunnels or manufacture weapons! Moreover, homes in Gaza that were destroyed in 2010 by Israeli bombardments have still not been rebuilt.
Continued Inroads on Palestinian Lands by Israeli State
This confinement policy is one that targets the entire Palestinian people.
The French daily Le Monde on September 9, in one of its few articles on Palestine, ran a story on “Israel’s Continued Inroads in the West Bank.” Indeed, the Israeli government has decided to expropriate 400 hectares, [or 1,000 acres] south of Bethlehem, in territory theoretically controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The aim of this land grab is to install new colonies. Hundreds of trees, including olive trees, were uprooted.
One of the Palestinians whose land was seized exhibited ownership documents dating back to the Ottoman era — documents that were certified by the Bethlehem authorities. The Israeli government replied that he had 45 days to challenge the seizure of his land. The Palestinian farmer knows that just like thousands of others before him, his claim will be dismissed.
The Question of Palestine
The millions of Palestinians living outside Palestine — mostly concentrated in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria — cannot return to their historic land.
The leaders of the Israeli State continue to demand that the Palestinian Authority formally and publicly reject any reference to the Right of Return for the millions of Palestinian refugees. For its part, the Palestinian Authority does not dare make any such statements for fear of the reaction of the Palestinian people — but in practice it is carrying out this Israeli dictate.
More than 7,800 Palestinians are imprisoned in Israeli jails, but thousands of other Palestinians are also locked up in the prisons of the Palestinian Authority. Between 2007 and 2011, according to the Arab Organization for Human Rights, based in London, 13,000 Palestinians have been arrested and detained by the police of the Palestinian Authority. Since 1967, more than 700,000 Palestinians — a quarter of the Palestinian population — have been sent to prison.
For 70 years, the Palestinian people — simply because they want to be a free people with land of their own, that is to say, a Palestinian nation — endured imprisonment, repression, torture, bombings, and death. The demand of the united Palestinian people throughout the territories of historic Palestine is one and the same: the right to their land and to their nation, and an end to their confinement.
Today, this demand is concentrated in one slogan: the immediate and complete lifting of the blockade of Gaza!