German Foreign Minister's equivocation
. . . no amount of aid will bring a permanent end to the suffering in Gaza and the West Bank until the cause is recognised and resolutely dealt with.
During a visit on 1 June to the Israeli-isolated Palestinian Gaza Strip, the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza in return for what he called Palestinian security reassurances: "We shall only be able to decisively reduce the risks of a fresh escalation if we allow economic development in the Gaza Strip in addition to humanitarian aid and reconstruction," he said. Steinmeier didn't explain why he thought the “risks of a fresh escalation” would necessarily be diminished by fresh economic development. Israel's sporadic blitzes on Gaza have never in the past failed to visit devastating economic damage upon the territory. But the German Foreign Minister went even further; while calling for “open borders", he asserted that they would only be possible if there were a halt to Palestinian rocket fire on southern Israel. He said: "But none of this will succeed until it is certain that there will be no further rocket attacks from here, when it is no longer a launch pad."
Israel's leaders would undoubtedly have been delighted by this truly hasbara reversal of reality, this shift of blame from aggressor onto victim. All this year, Israel has been strategically trying to provoke missile firings from Gaza. The plan failed to work up until two Gaza resident had died and with 58 Israeli ceasefire violations resulting in 15 Palestinians being wounded. Up until the end of May this year there have been two missile firings from Gaza. On the other hand, Israel has committed a total of 371 Gaza ceasefire violations, ranging from air strikes to Israeli Army incursions, attacks on agriculture and over 150 attacks on Palestinian fishing boats. The people of Gaza have suffered four dead and 37 wounded at the hands of Israeli forces between the beginning of this year and the end of May. In the same period, Israel has suffered neither deaths nor casualties. Here are just a very few examples of the daily attacks and ceasefire violations perpetrated by Israeli forces for the first five months of this year:
Israeli Army attack – wounding: Northern Gaza – evening, an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on east Jabalya, wounding an unidentified resident.
Israeli Navy attack – wounding – fishing boat destroyed – economic sabotage: Rafah – dawn, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats, wounding one fisherman, Jamal Nu’man, and destroying his boat.
Israeli Army attack – wounding: Northern Gaza – evening, one person was wounded when an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on people in east Jabalya.
Israeli Navy attack – wounding – damage – economic sabotage: Gaza – 09:30, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya, wounding a fisherman, Atef Bakr, and damaging his boat.
Israeli Navy attack – boat sunk – children and adults taken prisoner – economic sabotage: Gaza – 19:00, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats, sinking one of them and taking prisoner five fishermen including two children, Saed Al-Habeil (13) and Adel-Mu’ti Al-Habeil. The three adults seized were Rami Al-Habeil, Mur’eb Abu Raylah and Ibrahim Nassar.
Israeli Army attack – wounding: Central Gaza – an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on the al-Maghazi refugee camp, wounding a resident.
Israeli Army attack – homes damaged: Khan Yunis – morning, several homes were damaged when an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on residents in east Khan Yunis.
Israeli Army attack – wounding: Central Gaza – 10:15, the Israeli Army stormed into the north-east quarter of the Maghazi refugee camp, opening fire on and wounding a resident, Ahmad Salaah, before taking him prisoner.
Israeli Army attack – wounding: Northern Gaza – evening, one unidentified person was wounded when an Israeli Army position behind the green line opened fire on Beit Lahiya.
Israeli Navy attack – woundings – damage – hijacking and economic sabotage: Northern Gaza – morning, Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya beach, wounding two fishermen, Eid Baker and Ziyad Baker, as well as damaging one boat and hijacking another. Four fishermen, Mohammad Zidan, Rami Zidan, Mohammad Al-Najjar and Mohammad Hassouneh, were taken prisoner.
Israeli Navy attack – death – hijacking – economic sabotage: Northern Gaza – morning, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off north-west Beit Lahiya, killing a fisherman, Tawfiq Abu Rayalah, and taking prisoner two others, Jihad Kaskasin and Wahid Kaskasin, while hijacking their fishing boat.
Israeli Army attack – woundings: Khan Yunis – evening, three residents were wounded when Israeli forces positioned behind the Green Line opened fire on them in Abasan al-Kabeerah.
Israeli attack – youngster wounded: Khan Yunis – evening, a 17-year-old youth, Ibrahim Abu Teir, was wounded when Israeli forces positioned behind the Green Line opened fire on Abasan al-Kabera, as well as firing stun and tear gas grenades.
Israeli Army attack – agricultural sabotage – sonic booms: Khan Yunis – morning, Israeli forces invaded the an-Nahda neighbourhood, to the east of Rafah and moved north to bulldoze crops in the Sharab al-‘Asal area. Israeli troops also opened fire on Palestinian farmland near Abu Reeda, south east of Khuza’a causing Palestinian farmers to flee. Meanwhile Israeli air force fighter jets flew over different areas of the coastal region, repeatedly breaking the sound barrier and terrorising residents, especially children.
Israeli Army attack – 3 wounded: Khan Yunis – 18:00, an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on and launched stun and tear gas grenades towards residents in Abasan al-Kabireh, wounding three residents, Khalil Al-Killani (17), Mohammad Abu Ammar and Alla Abu Ammar.
Air strike – agricultural sabotage: Northern Gaza – Israeli fighter jets attacked northern Gaza farms, destroying crops and causing widespread damage.
Israeli Army attack – wounding – agricultural sabotage: Northern Gaza – 12:30, a Palestinian farmer, Rami Matar, was wounded when an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on farmers in the Abu Safiya area of east Jabaliya.
Fourteen-year-old boy shot and critically wounded at home. A 14-year-old Palestinian boy, Fadi Abu Mandil, has been admitted to hospital in Ramallah for treatment after being wounded at his home during an Israeli Army attack on Palestinian farmers in Central Gaza on 28 April 2015. Mandil, who's wounds have left him crippled is to undergo spinal surgery. A resident of the al-Mughazi refugee camp Fadi Mandil was studying at home when the Israeli Army launched the attack on the farmers, damaging property and driving them off their land. https://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=765127
Israeli Army attack – 3 wounded: Gaza – 14:00, three people were wounded when an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on them in east Gaza.
Israeli Army attack – 1 wounded: Khan Yunis – 17:30, one person was wounded when Israeli forces positioned behind the Green Line opened fire on residents in east Khaza’a.
Israeli air strike: Northern Gaza – 04:00, Israeli jet fighters fired missiles into Beit Lahiya.
Israeli air strike: Khan Yunis – 03:40, Israeli war planes launched missiles into Khan Yunis.
Israeli air strike: Khan Yunis – 04:50, Israeli war planes again attacked Khan Yunis.
Israeli air strike: Rafah – 03:20, Israeli jet fighters fired missiles at Rafah.
Israeli air strike: Rafah – 03:20, Israeli war planes fired missiles at an area near the destroyed international airport in east Rafah.
Israeli Navy attack – wounding – economic sabotage: Northern Gaza – 03:30, one crewman, Islam Khamis, was wounded when the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya.
The forbearance of the Palestinian Resistance in the face of this continual harassment has been truly steadfast and that it eventually cracked a little should surprise nobody. Of course, Steinmeier did not meet any officials from Hamas, the elected representatives of the people in Gaza. The European Union has designated Hamas a "terrorist organisation" but fails to recognise the daily terrorism practised by the Zionist state of Israel against the two captive Palestinian populations upon which it exercises total dominance. Robert Turner, UNRWA's director in Gaza, was full of praise for Germany, saying: "More than eight months after the summer 2014 conflict ended, the situation in Gaza remains desperate and the people of Gaza urgently need other donors to follow the excellent example set by Germany." Turner downplayed Israel's horrific blitz as a 'conflict' with no acknowledgement of its asymmetry – and the defencelessness of a captive population dictated to through the military might of a super-power armed nuclear state.
This month's World Bank report on Gaza reveals an unemployment rate of 44%, "probably the highest in the world", coupled with soaring poverty levels. Germany is at present the second largest supporter of UNRWA in Gaza but no amount of aid will bring a permanent end to the suffering in Gaza and the West Bank until the cause is recognised and resolutely dealt with. Equivocating commentaries issued by Western leaders that ignore Zionism's racist agenda achieve nothing more than to guarantee impunity for Israel. When Israel's next Gaza blitz strikes internationally donated schools, hospitals and shelters, the world should remember that. It's a pity it does not already do so.