Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gaza frozen in time

Stephanie Westbrook writing from Rome, Italy, Live from Palestine, 16 June 2009

(Stephanie Westbrook is a founding member of US Citizens for Peace & Justice in Rome, Italy (http://www.peaceandjustice.it/) and currently serves on the group's coordinating committee. )

"....Gaza's landscape is dotted with piles of rubble of bombed out buildings, the twisted iron and aluminum of destroyed factories, once green fields reduced to sand and dirt by Israeli tanks, apartments with two-meter holes in the walls and toppled minarets of mosques turned to ruins. But as devastating as bearing witness to the destruction was, it was the absurdities of the total blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt that really affected me.

Gaza itself remains frozen in time. Israel will not allow concrete and steel into Gaza, and as a result, nearly five months after the ceasefire no post-war reconstruction has begun....

These are the absurdities that have become the norm in Gaza. But perhaps most absurd of all is how anyone can believe that Israel's severity in the closures, the destruction of the economy and social fabric of the Gaza Strip, will serve to convince Palestinians to place their trust in international law.

What we in the international community must do is to heed the call we heard repeatedly from the people of Gaza: work to break the siege so that they can take care of themselves."

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