The opening of the Gaza crossings Friday morning and the expected transfer of 40 trucks full of food and humanitarian supplies appears to be a tactical decision. Israeli sources say that the move’s objective is to allow the Gaza community to stock up on basic necessities, and thus mitigate the situation in the eyes of the international community, in the event that the IDF will need to undertake a military operation in the coastal enclave.
This is part of the marketing for the attack, the scale of actual need and the Israeli blockade that has exacerbated it shows what a derisory amount this is-
On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza. Food, medicine, fuel, parts for water and sanitation systems, fertiliser, plastic sheeting, phones, paper, glue, shoes and even teacups are no longer getting through in sufficient quantities or at all. According to Oxfam only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza in November. This means that an average of 4.6 trucks per day entered the strip compared to an average of 123 in October this year and 564 in December 2005. The two main food providers in Gaza are the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). UNRWA alone feeds approximately 750,000 people in Gaza, and requires 15 trucks of food daily to do so. Between 5 November and 30 November, only 23 trucks arrived, around 6 per cent of the total needed; during the week of 30 November it received 12 trucks, or 11 per cent of what was required. There were three days in November when UNRWA ran out of food, with the result that on each of these days 20,000 people were unable to receive their scheduled supply. According to John Ging, the director of UNRWA in Gaza, most of the people who get food aid are entirely dependent on it. On 18 December UNRWA suspended all food distribution for both emergency and regular programmes because of the blockade.
The WFP has had similar problems, sending only 35 trucks out of the 190 it had scheduled to cover Gazans’ needs until the start of February (six more were allowed in between 30 November and 6 December). Not only that: the WFP has to pay to store food that isn’t being sent to Gaza. This cost $215,000 in November alone. If the siege continues, the WFP will have to pay an extra $150,000 for storage in December, money that will be used not to support Palestinians but to benefit Israeli business.
The lorries in no way make up for the scarcity the siege has created, more a cigarette for a condemned man-
Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni and Israel’s ambassadors around the world are preparing to launch a global effort in a bid to secure backing for the anticipated operation in the Gaza Strip.
The campaign is intended to create an ‘international umbrella’ of support for the intensification of military action against Hamas, and possibly prevent the passing of UN Security Council resolutions against Israel.
As reported by Ynet, the triumvirate of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Livni ruled in favor of the operation in a clandestine meeting last Thursday.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Thursday regarding the situation in the South that “Israel will need to use all its force in order to damage terror infrastructure and create a different and safe reality in the Gaza vicinity.”
Now add to these best laid plans of colonists and militarists-
An Iranian freighter carrying tons of humanitarian equipment destined for the Gaza Strip will set sail from the Islamic Republic on Saturday, Iranian media reported on Friday. The Iranian Red Crescent Society organized the shipment which it says will reach the Gaza shoreline in defiance of the Israeli military blockade imposed on the territory since Hamas’ ascendancy to power.
“The ship will carry medicine and foodstuffs including rice, flour, sugar as well as six tons of medicine for the impoverished population of Gaza,” said Hamed Taheri Jebelli, a spokesman for Iran’s Red Crescent Society on Thursday.
“Despite the Zionist regime’s opposition … this consignment will leave Bandar Abbas for Palestine on Saturday and will arrive in 12 days,” a provincial Red Crescent director, Ahmad Navvab, was quoted as telling the French news agency AFP.
“The cargo contains over 2,000 tons of food, medicine and appliances and it will be accompanied by 12 Iranian doctors and relief workers,” he told AFP.
So how will they spin stopping this ship when they have let aid through, without exposing what a cynical tactical move the 40 trucks were. Well, ok it’s easy, it’s Iran all they need to do is say ‘terrorists, Hamas, Iran!!!! Wooo scary bogeyman!!!!!!!’ and the media will roll over to get its tummy tickled, but Gaza is not ‘Hamas’ it has 1.5 million people in it who are being collectively punished with global assent. Or they attack very soon in which case the ship will be barred (and hopefully just that, not attacked in a USS Liberty style) under the guise of ‘security’. It must also be remembered this is taking place in the context of forthcoming elections, with each candidate using Palestinian blood as capital in their campaign and Egypt’s President Mubarak also keen to topple Hamas to help his own domestic repressions (and it is also apparent the breaking of the truce by Israel on 4th November has been consigned to the memory hole in many media narratives)-
The London-based newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi has reported that Egypt would not object to a limited Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, aimed at toppling Hamas. Ms Livni travelled to the Egyptian capital at the personal invitation of the government.
This is rare given that Mr Mubarak usually only meets Israeli officials in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. It is being read as an Egyptian endorsement of Tzipi Livni, who is seeking to become prime minister in February’s general election. It has been noted that President Mubarak has not yet invited for talks the Defence Minister and Labour Chairman Ehud Barak, who is also a prime ministerial hopeful.
This attack doesn’t have to happen, make some noise.
- Stop immediately siege on Gaza! Set no conditions for ending the inhuman suffering of innocents!
- Negotiations with Hamas and renew of the truce!
- Stop the military offensive and propose a political solution for ending the occupation!
- Learn from the Second Lebanon War! A military assault will not stop the missiles! Only an agreement can bring calm!