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25 January 2008

Where Do the Presidential Contenders Stand on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Take a wild guess.

Here's a concise description of responsibility and complicity by Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada:

Well, I’d like to say that the suffering in Gaza has been so unremitting and so horrible and will continue. But I think we have to recognize and celebrate the resistance and the people power of the people in Gaza. And we have to recognize that there has been a deliberate siege on them by Israel, a decision taken by the leaders of Israel to starve and inflict suffering on a million-and-a-half people.

The government of Egypt has been complicit in this. They could have opened the borders months ago. Israel has been besieging Gaza for almost two years in this way. Egypt didn’t have to wait until Palestinians took matters into their own hands to free themselves from this barbaric siege.

The United States is complicit. And, by the way, Amy, this is another setback for the Bush Doctrine. The people of Gaza have been the victims of an experiment by the Bush administration and Israel, where, first of all, they had a democratic election. The US and Israel didn’t like that result, so they tried to overthrow Hamas using Contra-style militias and using a starvation siege. Hamas turned the tables on them and got rid of those militias. So they decided to tighten the siege on the people of Gaza, and the people of Gaza decided to break out of it themselves.

But the thing we have to absolutely focus on is the responsibility here. Israel, as the occupying power in the Gaza Strip, remains fully responsible for everything that happens there. Under Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, passed, by the way, after the horrors of World War II, Israel is legally required to provide as much food, water, medicine and fuel as the civilian population needs.

And the excuse that the Israelis are using, that they’re doing this in response to rocket fire, we know for a fact that Israel has rejected ceasefire after ceasefire put forward by Hamas and other Palestinian factions. We know for a fact that there are no rockets coming out of the West Bank. And yet Israel continues to carry out extrajudicial executions in the West Bank and military attacks on Nablus, on Balata refugee camp and all the other places in the West Bank.

We have to be clear that what Israel is trying to do is a massive experiment in ethnic cleansing to get rid of a million-and-a-half people who do not fit its demographic desires and the desire to remain a state where one ethnic group has special and better rights by virtue of its religion. That’s what’s going on.

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