Israeli security officials have admitted that the Gaza Strip is on the verge of catastrophe after more than ten years under siege.
One official told the Haaretz newspaper recently that conditions in Gaza had gone “like from zero to below zero”.
The Israeli government hypocritically blames Palestinians for their own suffering. Israeli president Reuvin Rivlin claimed on Sunday, “The time is coming near when the infrastructure in Gaza will collapse leaving many civilians in distress, with no sanitary conditions, exposed to pollution, impure water and epidemics.”
Yet Rivlin blamed Hamas—the Palestinian resistance group that has governed in Gaza since it was elected in 2006—for the crisis.
“Israel is the only one in the region that transfers basic essentials to the residents of Gaza, so that they can sustain the body and mind,” he said. “We will not tolerate accusations of blame.”
That’s a blatant and shameless lie. In recent weeks the Israeli military has accelerated its destruction of tunnels connecting Gaza to the outside world—a supply lifeline for Palestinians.
Cuts to Gaza’s electricity supply—which Israel controls—mean that there isn’t enough electricity to sanitise the water supply.
Some 95 percent of Gaza’s water is undrinkable. Raw sewage flows in the the sea, increasing risk of disease.
It’s all part of Israel’s plan to collectively punish Palestinians and crush resistance to the occupation.
Hamas appeared ready to agree to a reconciliation deal with the Fatah party, which controls the West Bank, last year. This could have alleviated conditions.
But that deal broke down and now Israel hopes to further raise the pressure on Hamas.
Earlier this month Israeli minister Uri Ariel demanded more Palestinian deaths under Israeli airstrikes, which have peppered Gaza in recent weeks.
“What is this special weapon we have that we fire and see pillars of smoke and fire, but nobody gets hurt?” he asked. “It is time for there to be injuries and deaths as well.”
At the same time Israel has continued its renewed violent crackdown in the West Bank following a speech by US president Donald Trump in December.
Protests erupted across Palestine after Trump declared Palestinian city Jerusalem “Israel’s capital”.
Israel’s military unleashed a wave of violence in response. Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinians—two of them teenagers—last week.
Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas said last week he would no longer accept the US as a mediator between the PA and Israel.
It was a sign that the “peace process,” which saw Palestinian leaders agree to police the resistance in return for a promise of a state, may have collapsed
Abbas is now looking to European Union countries for support. Yet the lesson of the “peace process” is that Israel will never accept a Palestinian state anywhere.
Justice for Palestinians means resistance to the Israeli occupation—and a single secular state with equal democratic rights for all its citizens.