15 May 2007

The Pressure Cooker is Hissing - as Planned

The BBC has spoken of 'increasing lawlessness' on the streets of Gaza for several months now. Observers would tie such signs as the despicable kidnapping of Alan Johnston two months ago to other signs of growing volatility. Dr Khamis Elessi, our partner in the Dove and Dolphin Medical Centre, confirmed this to me a week ago when I was asking how secure Gaza might be for Dr Chris Burns-Cox who was hoping to travel into Gaza in early June to examine finals students in medicine at Al Azzar university.

On the BBC Today programme this morning we heard Khamis saying that there were gun shots and some 'bombs' in all parts. I think there was a mixture of fear and sadness in his voice. He has two daughters. Several years ago, he and Hindt lost a little boy baby with a congenital oesophageal hernia. One month ago, little Mohammad was born. He is well. The couple are looking over him with great tenderness.

What does the future hold for Mohammad? Is he to remain a prisoner, with only apprehension and struggle his chief companions.

A siege was laid against the people of the ineptly named 'West Bank' and Gaza in March 2006 by 30 nations. The usual description is 'economic blockade'. There was no moral or legal basis for this. 'Collective' punishment of a hungry people who are protected in international law does not sound lawful does it?

And how have those laying siege been helping? Assault rifles have been supplied in large quantities by the US (Y Net) to the Fatah faction. The last consignment in February was for 8000. Gaza needs butter not guns, work not blood. The first requirement was for armouries where all weapons could be kept under lock and key after identification.

We are thinking of you Mohammad, and all the other children - all of you.