16 May 2008

Under the heel of forty nations

At no time since the start of al nakba in 1948 (in fact it started in 1946) have the people of Gaza suffered so much.

The siege of Gaza started in March 2006 shortly after 43 percent of the Palestinian electorate voted for the Hamas party in scrupulous elections and with a turnout of over 70 percent.

I reported on conditions then, when about 70 artillery shells plus other missiles were being fired into the strip. I have reported also on the probable use of 'unconventional' weapons in 'Summer Rains and Saad'. Saad was a boy of nine and the word means 'happiness'.

Since last September the siege has been made even more draconian after the people and its government were designated a 'hostile entity'. Patients who had cancers or other life threatening diseases and who needed treatment in Israel, Egypt or Jordan found it more and more difficult to get out of Gaza for vital treatment. By now about 150 adults and children have died in this period from lack of adequate treatment. There will be 'silent', less visible deaths due to increasing malnutrition, anaemia and poor water.

No materials are being shipped in so almost all commerce, building etc has ceased. There is the greatest poverty. But the 1.5 million people remain sumud – steadfast.

I am going to Gaza in 24 hours. My purposes are several. We are going to discuss the exciting Dove and Dolphin Radio project and the equally important Hearing and Speech Clinic. Also the small business scheme, deal with records etc. But I am also going to STAND WITH THE PEOPLE OF GAZA in their suffering.

Alaikum salaam David

Photo - Ruins in Rafah February 2003. You can count the shell holes but not the rifle and cannon pock marks - they are countless