The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Food For Thought – Gaza Blockade

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on June 9, 2010

no frig full of food in gaza

Do you think this is what a refrigerator looks like in Gaza?

The Monkey is getting ready to depart for foreign waters, I have been given a wonderful opportunity this summer and I am going to take advantage of it.  So in preparation for leaving, I am cleaning out my refrigerator, and while I am tossing and carefully opening those little plastic containers (secretly wondering if it will kill the cat if I give it to her) it occurs to me, that those people in Gaza do not  have a refrigerator full of food, let alone the luxury to throw anything away.

This post has been poking at me for quite some time, and this is as good of a time as any to address it.  There has been much more coverage lately of the plight of the people in Gaza – Palestine because of the flotilla raid.  I think perhaps alot of people just assumed that of course the basics of life are allowed in, after all this is 2010 and Israel certainly has compassion, right?  What has come out is that in fact the basics of life are not allowed in to 1. 5 million people for the past 3 years.  Israel has refused to give an accurate list of what is or is not prohibited, and what is allowed in today, may not be allowed in tomorrow.    The  Israeli ambassador to the US – Michael Oren was directly questioned by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer regarding this policy:

BLITZER: A lot of people understand that and appreciate it. What they don’t understand, there are some of the lists of prohibited items that Israel won’t allow into Gaza. I’ll give you an example. The economist reported things like ginger, nutmeg, canned fridge, dried fruit, fresh meats, seeds, and nuts and they go on, musical instruments, newspapers, wood for construction. Is that true that Israel won’t allow these kinds of materials into Gaza?

OREN: The important thing here is that Gaza is getting all these materials through other means, through tunnels under the Egyptian border. We assure that there is no shortage of food or medicine in Gaza. We have 100 trucks a day, at least, going over our border, carrying food and medicine. There’s no shortage of either of these things.

BLITZER: But are these things prohibited from going through?

OREN: You know, Wolf, I don’t have a list in front of me. I hear also things from Hamas and Gaza, from the free Gaza movement. The fact of the matter is our commitment is to assuring this food and humanitarian aid, you know — Gaza strip is a hostile entity to us, and I don’t see where the United States during World War II felt a great need to supply, you know, chocolate to the German people, either.

BLITZER: What do you think of this European Union proposal that they would take over inspecting these ships going into Gaza. They would make sure there’s no security threat to Israel. No weapons or missiles or rockets or missions (ph) or anything like that. They would do the job, and Israel would no longer have to deal with these ships coming, and the EU would check the ships?

(read the entire interview here)

He obviously doesn’t even know what is or is not allowed in.

To deny that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is obscene, the equivalent of denying the holocaust.   For the past three  years 1.5 million people trapped in Gaza have relied on less than a quarter of the volume of imported supplies they received in December 2005.  The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees Unrwa’s list of household items that have been refused entry at various times includes light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee, chocolate, nuts, shampoo and conditioner.  (Source BBC)

The blockade is not designed to prevent Hamas from commandeering supplies to launch attacks, it is designed for collective punishment.  I was torn between laughing and crying when I watched an interview of a UN relief worker, saying things like coriander, was not allowed.  What will Hamas do with coriander?  Launch salad rockets?  Tahini, a staple in the middle east made of sesame seed is allowed in, but Halawa is forbidden.  (If you have never had Halawa you have not lived, it is a delicious creamy almost like peanut butter candy made from sesame seeds.)  Anything that would give some sense of normalcy is forbidden.

Here are the facts on Gaza:

The Gaza Strip, a narrow piece of land on the Mediterranean coast, is home to a population of more than 1.5 million. Gaza covers an area of just 360 square kilometres and is considered one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

An estimated 1.1 million people, or three-quarters of the entire population, are Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA. About half a million refugees live in Gaza’s eight refugee camps

Facts and figures

  • 1.1 million registered refugees
  • Eight camps
  • 228 schools with 206,000 pupils
  • Two vocational and technical training centres (Gaza and Khan Younis)
  • 20 primary health centres
  • Six community rehabilitation centres
  • Ten women’s programme centres
  • Ten distribution centres

That’s it folks, that is as good as it gets in Gaza.  Yet, Israel can say we have no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.


As I looked at my bottled water, sparkling in my refrigerator, another statistic hit me – 95% of the water in Gaza is not drinkable.


Looking at my clean refrigerator, knowing that if I so chose right this very minute I could leave my home, and go out for dinner, go to a supermarket, restock my refrigerator, turn on my tap water and watch clean drinkable water flow out, open up the yellow pages and select from well over 20 primary health care centers….

Here’s the reality 3 years after 60,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed by Israel, there has been no rebuilding, Israel won’t let the cement in to rebuild with.  How can you build a country, a city, a community when the basics of life are not being met?

Here’s a refrigerator from Gaza…

Remeber there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza according to Israel.


2 Responses to “Food For Thought – Gaza Blockade”

  1. gesvol said

    I suspect that Mr. Oren knows more than he was letting on. I think he just didn’t want to deal with the obvious follow-up question such as you posed regarding coriander.

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