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by BRUNO ODENT, editorial

Gaza, Not in Our Name.

Translated Sunday 22 October 2006

The confrontation between Fatah and Hamas has added to the chaos in the Palestinian territories. The specter of civil war haunts a whole people already bled to death.

Of course, Palestinians are partly responsible for this new deterioration of their plight. Hamas has chosen to disregard the famous “prisoners’ document” initiated by Marwan Barghouti, the leader of Fatah in the West Bank (1) By refusing to recognize the State of Israël, Hamas has short-circuited any hope that had arisen from the formation of a government of national unity, able to start a new negotiations, from a position of strength, and to demand a true peace process. Fatah remains discredited in the mind of a part of the Palestinian population, because of misappropriation of funds, which has already led people to vote vote against them and in favour of the Islamists.

But one must not reduce simply the crisis to its inter-Palestinian dimensions. The Palestinian disintegration is, in fact, only an additional symptom of the extreme severity of the disease affecting the whole society taking it to the brink of disaster. The unilateral policy of Tel Aviv and the military operations of Tsahal in the Gaza strip, have increased, as never before, the suffering of the Palestinian people. And the war in the Gaza strip, which started just before the war on Lebanon, continues today, with its summary executions and civilian victims.

Two months of raids and commando attacks have created more than 30 million euros of damage in the months of July and August alone, according to a study by the United Nations Development Programme.

Very few products are entering and exiting this narrow strip of territory. And Tel Aviv is witholding the taxes owed to the Palestinian authority, so financially strangled that it can no longer afford to pay its civil servants – who have received no salary in the last 5 months.

The major powers contributed to the strangulation, by deciding to cut off supplies to a whole people. This followed the electoral victory of Hamas, the result of a democratic process of which they had approved and which they had indeed cited as exemplary. And those same powers refused to see, or worse, became accomplices in Israel’s multiple violations of International Law, from the Geneva Convention to rejection of the advice of the International Court concerning the building of the wall to ignoring the dozen resolutions ratified by the UN and never taken into account by the Israeli authorities.

Translators comment:

(1) This document calls for the formation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

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