Badi Ali, The High Point Enterprise, May 12, 2009
There should be no argument that the Israeli military aggression, occupation, blockade, starvation and siege of Gaza is, as Mads Gilbert said, "against everything it means to be a decent human being." Gazans have the right to demand that: an immediate on-going cease-fire is enforced; borders are opened; the blockade is ended so food, medicine and reconstruction materials are brought in; the barrier walls are torn down; and the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank by the Israelis is ended so Palestinians can recover from illegal and abhorrent attacks. Reconstruction must be effective and immediate.
There is no doubt crimes committed against the Palestinian people are war crimes. Many thoughtful analysts gathered for the symposium for Gaza cosponsored by MIT and Harvard and are in consensus. The Gaza offensive targeted civilians and used drone, white phosphorus and DIME weapons. See www.hks.harvard.edu/middleeast/MEIevents/gaza09.html.
DIME weapons result in multiple amputations. If victims survive, they acquire cancer and die soon after. So beyond 1,400 deaths reported, how many of the 5,000 wounded will die within a year from cancer or lack of access to medical care? Ambulances, doctors, emergency, medical workers, hospitals and neutral sites were targeted in the campaign. Now reports are emerging that the injured, even children, are being interrogated by Israelis when they try to access medical care outside of Gaza. Many have been denied access and died. White phosphorus weapons burn their victims and their environment.
The Internet brings home the effects of sending U.S. funds and bombs to Israel. Americans now know what their tax dollars are buying for Israel. Demand Congress stop all funds and weapons going to Israel.
It is a time to heal, rebuild and find a solution that respects the Palestinian people as equal partners with rights as protected by international law and described in the Declaration of Universal Human Rights.
The writer is Imam of the Islamic Center of the Triad.