Palestine: The silence and indolence of the international community

Women in Black
An article by Luisa Morgantini, Member of the European Parliament on the situation in Palestine demanding that the massacre of the Palestinians stop now.
The Israeli government must be stopped, the EU should suspend the economic agreements, the Italian government should revoke the military agreements and those on security stipulated with Israel, the UN should impose the respect of the UN resolutions and of the international legality.
The unilateral and military Israeli policy only leads to its own moral and political disater, beside inflicting unbearable suffering, humiliation and collective punishment to the palestinian population. After Lebanon, it came across the hypothesis of an international force in Gaza. Well, this must be done to protect the palestinian and israeli populations. The time has come.

Yesterday, during the meeting of the Israeli Security Council, the new Minister of Russian origins Libermann, famous for his racism and fascism (he supports the deportation of all the palestinians, including of those who are Israeli citizens), seems to have said that the Israeli army should behave in Gaza as the russians in Checheny; but actually the israeli army doesn't need to imitate anybody, its actions and those of its generals must be presented in front of International Court for War Crimes.

Two days ago, while with a delegation of 12 members of the European Parliament belonging to all political parties, we were leaving Gaza from Eretz border, the Israeli bombs were falling on the village of Beit Hanoun. While we were watching the industrial area of Gaza, just four days ago crumbled up by the Israeli bulldozers, we could clearly see the helicopters aiming at Beit Hanoun.

Our driver was ashen. Together with other 25 families he had left his house in Beit Hanoun at the end of August because the Israelis had informed them that they would have bombed them. Now he lives with his ten children and his wife in a rented house in Gaza, and he told us that for him every day is "like waiting to die".

Palestinian business men and traders were telling us how the demolitions and the bombings that destroyed houses, bridges, roads, the electric power station and all the infrastructures, together with the closure of Karni and Rafah check points are impeding all the import and export of palestinian goods, not to mention the movement of people, and that all this is leading to a dramatic economic and humanitarian disaster in the Gaza strip, but also in the West Bank. The cost of the imported goods in Gaza is now higher than in any other european country, the black market is growing and so is the smuggling, both with Israel and Egypt.

The employees of the pubIic sector, more than 150.000 in all Palestine, have not been receiving their salaries for more than 8 months now. The funds would be available if only Israel gave back the custom duties that they confiscated to the Palestinian Authority. The EU and the Quartet, instead of imposing on Israel to pay back the custom duties (trying as usual to solve the political issue through humanitarian aid), introduced the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM), in order to relieve the more needy cases, but has created a discriminating mechanism among the workers; in fact, only the employees of the health and education sector received some allowances, while nothing was given to all the others, including the police, who should guarantee internal security, but if not payed, risks to give way to corruption.

In the Al Shifa hospital of Gaza we saw the torn bodies of women, men, children and elderlies. The doctors are calling for an international investigation, since the wounds seems to be caused by phosphorus and chemical weapons. The hospital is in shortage of medications and it is not equipped to treat such injuries. Carcer or terminally ill patients cannot recieve anymore treatment in Cairo or Israel for the closure of the borders.

This is an umbearable situation, a humanitarian collaps, and a massacre of civilians happening with the silence and indolence of the International Community.

There are 10.500 political prisoners in a population of 3.500.000. Among them 400 are young boys and girls, more than 200 are women, and 1500 have been confined for years in administrative detention without a regular trial.

The palestinian political forces seem not to have a strategy. The internal fight between Hamas and Fatah is not only political since it often leads to military fights, bringing insecurty for all. The effort for the establishment of national unity government is constantly undermined by internal power struggles, and most of all by the siege, by the Israeli policies and the american interferences.

The political factions that we met, with no discrimination since our delegation recognizes the freely and democratically elected palestinians institutions, have reaffirmed that they will not give way to the civil war, that they will reach an agreement based upon the national reconciliation document and the 21 points document of the political prisoners, strongly wished for by Marwan Barghouti. The document recognizes the authority of the PLO, the signed agreements and the palestinian state on the 1967 borders. The three requests of the International Community for the reopening of the relations with the Palestinian Authority, together with the cease fire that Hamas is respecting, are implicit. This is the only way for the reopening of the negotiations. Meanwhile Mahmoud Abbas is being pressurized to adopt unilateral decisions, which could be dreadful for the democracy and the future of the palestinian people.

It is up to us, political and social forces, to act in order to avoid this, and to put an end to the israeli policy of military occupation and to the isolation of the palestinians.

Will our italian government manage to carry on with the strategy undertaken for Lebanon, and to urgently call for an international force to be deployd to protect the civilian population and to convene an international conference for a just peace in the region? But the massacre of the palestinians must be stopped now.

Luisa Morgantini
Member of the European Parliament
Published on the Italian newspaper “Liberazione” 02.11.06