Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Steel walls cannot contain the struggle for freedom

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 16 December 2009

"As if the siege of Gaza were not already bad enough, Israel and Egypt are working even harder to tighten the prison which holds Gaza's 1.5 million people.

Egypt is building a steel wall along its 10-kilometer-long border with the Gaza Strip, according to recent media reports. This wall apparently extends not only above ground, but deep into the ground in an attempt to prevent Palestinians digging the tunnels that have become a lifeline for the territory....

Should people in Gaza just sit still and watch their children starve? Is it not a moral duty and existential necessity for all people to fight for their dignity and survival? Why should only the Palestinians be denied this right?

If it is true that Egypt is building the steel wall -- Egypt has denied it despite repeated claims otherwise -- it will indeed be a shameful measure intended to acquiesce to American and Israeli pressures.

To stop "smuggling" into Gaza there is a cheaper and an easier way than building more cruel and futile walls: open the Rafah crossing for food and domestic needs, building materials and energy supplies -- not for rockets -- and insist that Israel open the crossings on its side connecting Gaza to the rest of the country.

The excuses for Gaza may be rockets or tunnels, but in fact the tightening of the Gaza siege is part of a total effort by Israel to besiege the entire Palestinian population in the occupied territories. For more than 40 years, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been living under a tightening siege. First, their freedom to move in and out of the occupied territory has been severely curtailed and later -- especially during the years of the so-called "peace process" -- the occupier imposed internal barriers that have made it virtually impossible to pass from one town to the other without encountering one of the hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints that have rendered the West Bank a series of ghettos surrounded by expanding settlements. Finally there is the illegal apartheid wall -- which brave, heroic Palestinians recently breached in several places demonstrating that no amount of concrete and steel can suppress the human desire for liberation."

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