|Gaza, Mediterranea - 3 week cease-fire - open the doors!
|Gaza, besieged for more than a year now, is 1,300 km from Athens as the crow flies, 2,300 km from Rome, and 3,000 km from Algiers and the South of France. Can this distance from Western capitals be what accounts for the confounding silence of the media there?
Sarajevo, besieged from 1992 to 1995, is 1400 km by plane from Paris and Brussels, 1600 from London. From the human point-of-view, is the distress of people in Gaza negligible, relatively to the distress people experienced in Sarajevo?
From the geographical point-of-view, aren't Gazans Mediterraneans too, like the Turks, the Greeks, the Algerians, the Spaniards?
On July 13th, in Paris, the first Summit for the Mediterranean Union will open. All Mediterranean and European countries are invited.
In the European Parliament in Strasbourg, on July 10th, on the occasion of the French President opening the term of the French six-month Presidency, a Green deputy created a scandal by calling the French President’s presence in Peking for the Olympic Games “a foul shame”.
There are no Olympic Games in view in the Middle East. Only an endless count of victims of “the Three Trillion Dollar War” in Iraq, first called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” – some institutes mention over one million Iraqis killed, opposed to 4,000 American soldiers killed (ORB Institute) – and another countless list of victims in nearby Palestine and Israel – around 5,000 Palestinians killed since the Year of the Millennium, one thousand of them under 18, and 1,100 Israelis killed.
On June 19th, an agreement was reached between Israel and the Palestinian movements in Gaza, for a cease-fire. In Gaza only. In the West Bank, the “targeted killings” continue.
On July 10th, three persons lost their lives in Gaza though. One was a young man, only 18-years old, who was “looking for metal scrap” according to his relatives, too close to the Wall surrounding the Strip. The soldiers later found him to be unarmed. The other two died underground, when the sandy earth collapsed over their heads, in a tunnel dug to bring goods back from Egypt.
As a matter of fact, after three weeks of cease-fire, nothing has changed for the one and a half million inhabitants of Gaza: they still have to mix cooking oil to the little fuel they can get, for the few who travel by car; food is scarce as ever (even fish has disappeared from the stores); no commodities (such as toilet paper, pampers) are to be found anywhere; and 75 million cubic litres of raw sewage are spilled into the sea daily, for lack of electricity to operate the sewage systems (The Independent, June 13, 2008).
The Gaza shores have become the most polluted part of the Mediterranean Sea in the past year.
They say one of the four priorities of the French presidency of the European Parliament is to curb pollution in Europe, and in the Mediterranean Sea in particular. We suggest that Europeans, in Brussels, Strasbourg, and every European capital, start by acting upon the Gaza sewage – by putting an end to the electricity cut-offs.
And not to allow, under any circumstance, human blood to be spilled again.
Europe, after all, IS in a position to be heard by its friends.
We also suggest they heed the call of one trustworthy witness who could finally enter Gaza through Egypt, stating:
"All we had heard about conditions in Gaza – deprivation, a sense of despair, the lack of economic activity – had not prepared us for the stark reality which we saw. The entire situation is abominable. I believe the ordinary Israeli citizens would not support this blockade if they knew what it really meant to ordinary people like themselves... My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shames us all. It is almost like the behaviour of the military junta in Burma." (Peace Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, The Independent, May 30)
OPEN THE DOORS Communiqué July 2008
Israel must end the Gaza blockade, end all targeted assassinations and all extra-judicial killings, and enable Gaza to open to the world, so as to guarantee the possibility of a viable economy, and improve the humanitarian situation. The Palestinians must end all rocket attacks against Israel and the Israelis.
Human beings are not bargaining chips.
Accordingly: the Palestinians must free Corporal Shalit, that they have held prisoner for 2 years now.
The Israelis, who hold more than ten thousand Palestinian prisoners in their jails, must urgently release a significant group of women prisoners, sick persons, the eldest and longest-serving among them, along with those held under administrative detention and other arbitrary procedures – including all the elected members of Palestinian legislature.
France: Catherine Boursier, Béatrice Patrie, Michel Rocard (former Prime Minister), General Philippe Morillon, Jean-Luc Bennahmias
Belgium: Giovanna Corda, Anne Van Lancker, Véronique de Keyser (Head of the Observers’mission for Legislative Elections in Palestine & Vice–President of the
Work Task on the Middle-East), Alain Hutchinson
United Kingdom: John Bowis, Chris Davies, Jill Evans
Cyprus: Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (President of the Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Parliament)
Italy: Luisa Morgantini (Vice-President of the EP)
Germany: Angelika Beer
Denmark: Margrete Auken
Portugal: Ana Maria Gomes
Sweden: Jens Holm
Peace Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire, Desmond Tutu, Betty Williams
Medicine Nobel Laureates Arvid Carlsson, Richard Roberts
Chemistry Nobel Laureates Elias Corey, Roald Hoffmann, Yuan T. Lee, Jens Skou
Literature Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka
Physics Nobel Laureate Jack Steinberger
Economics Nobel Laureate James Mirrlees
Noam Chomsky, David Grossman, Amos Oz