By OMAR BARGHOUTI
"The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger,” said Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s closest advisor, a few years ago. Today, Israel is slowly choking occupied Gaza, indeed bringing its civilian population to the brink of starvation and a planned humanitarian catastrophe.
If the US government is an obvious accomplice in financing, justifying and covering up Israel’s occupation and other forms of oppression, the European Union, Israel's largest trade partner in the world, is not any less complicit in perpetuating Israel’s colonial oppression and special form of apartheid. At a time when Israel is cruelly besieging Gaza, collectively punishing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, condemning them to devastation, and visiting imminent death upon hundreds of patients, prematurely born babies, and others, the EU is extending an invitation to Israel to open negotiations to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), instead of ending the EU-Israel association agreement due to Israel’s grave violation of its human rights clause. The US and European governments are not only providing Israel with massive economic aid and open markets, they are supplying it with weapons, diplomatic immunity and unlimited political support, and upgrading their relations with it specifically at a time when it is committing acts of genocide.
By frequently freezing fuel and electric power supplies to Gaza for long periods, Israel, the occupying power, is essentially guaranteeing that "clean" water is not being pumped out and properly distributed to homes and institutions; hospitals are no longer able to function adequately, leading to the death of many, particularly the most vulnerable – already more than 180 patients, mainly children and senior citizens have died in Gaza as a direct result of the latest siege; whatever factories that are still working despite the blockade will soon be forced to close, pushing the already extremely high unemployment rate even higher; sewage treatment is grinding to a halt, further polluting Gaza's precious little water supply; academic institutions and schools are largely unable to provide their usual services; and lives of all civilians is severely disrupted, if not irreversibly damaged.