Saturday, September 16, 2006

Arab Writers condemn Israeli/US Blokade of Gaza Strip

RAWI Condemns the Economic Blockade of Gaza
Calls on the US, EU, and Israel toLift It Immediately

The Radius of Arab American Writers, Inc. [RAWI] deplores the ongoing economicblockade by Israel and its sponsor, the United States, of the Gaza Strip, hometo 1.4 million Palestinians. We call on Israel, the United States, and theEuropean Union to end this blockade immediately in order to alleviate Gaza’seconomic collapse and the resultant widespread starvation.

According to the New York Times, the majority of Gaza’s child population is nowmalnourished and most of Gaza’s families have been reduced to planting vegetables in sand in order to feed themselves. The Independent of Londonreports that the residents of Gaza are “struggling to survive in the face of aneconomic blockade.”

The effects of this blockade have been worsened by the fact that in its recentinvasion of Gaza, which went largely unreported in American media, Israeldestroyed whatever remained of Gaza’s infrastructure in addition to killing atleast 146 civilians, many of them children.We condemn not only the poor timing and strategic foolishness of this economic blockade, but also its immorality. A reaction to the Palestinians’ selectionof Hamas to a parliamentary majority in a free and fair election, the economicblockade appears to collectively punish innocent people for doing nothing morethan exercising their democratic rights.

RAWI views as shocking, preposterous,and racist the justifications for this blockade based on the indemonstrablenotion that Hamas endeavors to destroy Israel, a position articulated recentlyon the New York Times letters page: “If the [Palestinian] electorate wants agovernment run by a party that is sworn to destroy Israel, it shouldn’t be asurprise when Israel cuts off financing in response.”We would point out in response to this sort of logic that elections in theUnited States and Israel produced right-wing governments that seek thedestruction of Palestine (and, unlike the Palestinians, have the power to acton this impulse, a situation evident today in Gaza).Therefore, as a community of Arab American writers and scholars we would like tobring to the attention of our American compatriots the fact that the UnitedStates government is more dangerous to the Palestinians than the Palestinians’government ever possibly could be to Americans.

All reasoning underlying the continuation of the economic blockade of Gaza,then, is dubious politically, strategically, and morally. RAWI calls for itsimmediate cessation and for an investigation by an international governing bodyof widespread human rights abuses by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

We also call on fellow writers and scholars to raise their voices as individualsand institutions in opposition to this humanitarian disaster.

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