Sunday, July 19, 2009

Threatened And Beaten On The Way To Gaza

A Very Good Piece

By Adam Shapiro

The Huffington Post

".....An independent filmmaker, and human rights advocate, I planned to document the trip and life in Gaza.

Approximately half of Gaza's population is under age 18. These children suffer the consequences of an Israeli imposed economic collapse ostensibly intended to undermine Hamas rule. As with Iraq, the sanctions serve only to devastate a population and decimate civil society......

We counted eight Israeli warships and four zodiac boats with boarding parties and divers in hot pursuit. About an hour earlier an F-16 executed fly-overs. This was US-supplied and American taxpayer-subsidized-force all to stop one bag of cement from reaching a ghetto and human-made disaster area......

....I have documented events from Afghanistan to Darfur to various locations around the Middle East, but until then I had never been physically attacked on account of my work. Israel's military censor continues to hold the evidence and I expect never to retrieve it. With the evidence gone, much of the media have treated the event as though it never occurred.....

As other governments spoke up publicly for their citizens, the US government was notably silent.

In his Cairo speech, President Obama asserted, "Palestinians must abandon violence....." Yet how seriously can Palestinians take his exhortation to nonviolence when he allows an ally to kidnap and beat American citizens attempting nonviolently to assist Palestinians in war-ravaged Gaza?

Even President Obama, who seemed so sincere in his Cairo speech, is imprisoned by the status quo of American-Israeli relations that bend American values and interest to the will of a state that is increasingly being labeled internationally with the brand of apartheid. One set of laws for Jews and one set of laws for Palestinians is unacceptable in the 21st century.....

It is in this context of despair and a complete lack of governmental will to challenge Israel in which a generation of Palestinians is growing up in Gaza worse off than their great grandparents who fled there in 1948. Our small boat tried to break the apathy that permits blockade and siege. We were ordinary civilians, taking a risk on the high seas, confronting the region's most powerful navy, because despite all the words describing the situation in Gaza, nothing is improving. In fact, after the immediate outcry following Israel's winter invasion, Israel again started reducing the number of trucks allowed to enter Gaza.

The Berlin Wall did not fall in a day. Consequently, our next ship sails for Palestinian freedom in a month."

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