Friday, January 7, 2011

Israel: Keep Gaza 'at lowest level possible'

Juan Cole, Informed Comment: The Norwegian newspaper Aftenpost has released a March, 2008 US embassy cable describing the Israeli blockade and siege of Occupied Gaza as an attempt to reduce the society to the lowest possible level of functioning without provoking a 'humanitarian crisis' (presumably mass starvation).
'Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.'
And, with regard to taking money out of circulation in Gaza, a deflationary policy used as a tool of oppression:
'As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to econoffs on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.'
It seems to me the Israeli right-wingers missed their mark, since 55% of Palestinians in Gaza are food-insecure and 10% of children show signs of stunting from malnutrition. I'd call that a humanitarian crisis. What the despicable Israeli officials meant by their phrase, of course, is that a mass die-off should be avoided that would bring to bear world pressure to abandon this criminal policy.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal in international law... The [Fourth Geneva] Convention did not envisage a situation where the population of the occupied territory is deliberately left 'inadequately supplied' by the occupying power, apparently not able to imagine the full sadism of the Likud Party... The Israeli officials who told the US embassy what they were doing are war criminals...

Another document shows that even before the blockade, in 2006, corrupt Israeli officials were making money off the misery of the Palestinians in Gaza by insisting on large bribes to let in American goods past the checkpoint. There must be a special place in hell...
Image: Missile shells from Israel's three-week offensive against Gaza in 2008-9; source here.