Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Don't forget the children of Gaza

This picture was drawn by a child living in Gaza. It shows you what his life feels like.

I try to keep this blog a 99% politics-free zone (but not because I don’t care about politics.) Every now and then, though, I do raise the issue of the suffering of the Palestinian people. And actually, I don't regard it as politics, but as humanitarian concern.

In March, UN chief Ban Ki-moon criticised Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying the policy is causing unacceptable suffering of human beings and harsh living conditions. The people of Gaza were brutally attacked in the war last year, when the Israelis bombed the population. Collective punishment of a civilian population is a war crime. Those who survived, struggle to live under siege, and in the absence of humanitarian law and practices. Why do we do nothing about this?

Did you know that international aid destined to help rebuild Gaza after the war has not been allowed into Gaza by the Israelis? Read this report by impartial aid agencies.

The Israeli government blocks essential goods and services and even crucial medicines. Everyone in Gaza is suffering, but Gaza’s children are most affected. They have to suffer the harsh conditions of living in a virtual open-air prison, and they grow up carrying the psychological scars of seeing their homes and families bombed.

The children of Gaza is a programme about the suffering in Gaza from the childrens’ perspective. It was shown on Channel 4 in their Dispatches series.

What can you do?

1/ Support Medical Aid for Palestinians – a UK-based charity with a strictly non-violent agenda which works for the complete health and well-being of the Palestinian people.

2/ Lobby your elected representatives to put pressure on Israel to obey international law.

3/ Boycott Israeli goods. Fruit and vegetables from Israel often bear the name Carmel. Beware goods labelled from the West Bank as they are often from the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

This is what we are aiming for...

(top and bottom photographs by Cristina Ruiz Cortina)

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