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Human Rights Activists Detained as Part of Cruel Embargo

July 2, 2009

Whatever the political situation, whatever the state of their homeland, people need food when they’re hungry, medicine when they’re sick, and shelter when they’re tired or the weather turns bads. To deny people these necessities because others who share their homeland or origin have attacked you or may attack you is something the vast majority of us know to be wrong.

This is, however, exactly what the Israeli government is doing to the people of Gaza.

The latest development in the blockade of the Gaza strip is that Israel is detaining nineteen activists, including a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a former US congresswoman, who were attempting to bring supplies to Gaza on board a ship. This is despite the fact that Cypriot authorities inspected the ship prior to it leaving their port and found that it was carrying no weapons.

Stephanie Nebehay of Reuters reports:

Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the move was part of Israel’s “cruel blockade of the entire Palestinian population of Gaza” in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting any form of collective punishment against “an occupied people”.

Falk, an American expert on international law, said Israel’s two-year blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza restricted vital supplies such as food, medicine and fuel to “bare subsistence levels”.

Recognizing that this sort of treatment is wrong isn’t about being “pro-Palestine” or “anti-Israel”. It isn’t about where the border on the map should be drawn or your feelings about Hamas. It is about recognizing the basic humanity of the Palestinians—women, children, and men—living in Gaza. Wherever your opinion falls regarding the rest, failure to see that people have a right to meet their basic needs is ultimately a failure of your own humanity.

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One Comment
  1. ktreu permalink
    July 3, 2009 6:10 am

    yes exactly. It is about basic care and subsistence now. It’s been in the news a lot here in Ireland, as two of the activists are Irish (Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and a former Irish soldier Derek Graham).
    Thanks for writing this!

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