Saturday, June 05, 2010
And here's the punchline. The blockade has left most Gazans wholly or partially dependent on food aid. However, the blockade has also placed a stranglehold on the amount of aid actually getting to Gaza. The amount entering Gaza in mid-2009 was 25% of that entering in 2007. This has resulted in nine out of ten residents living below the poverty line of a dollar a day. Even such aid as is devoted to Gaza can't be spent because of the blockade, according to Amnesty and the ICRC. Israel has consistently blocked food shipments, only allowing them through when it became an embarrassing political incident. It has held up medicines until they have expired. 80% of all imports to Gaza come through the tunnels. Israel has deliberately turned Gaza into a ghettoised economy, dependent on smuggling from outside fences, walls, and boundaries enforced by military violence. The tunnels, of course, are routinely attacked by aerial bombardment, on the pretext that they are being used to smuggle weapons - because Gaza, this tiny land mass with no navy or standing army, might get a few guns to defend itself the next time Israel decides to invade.
INITIAL POST: From the Guardian:
Sound familiar? Well, sort of. But it turns out that US Special Forces do this sort of thing more cleanly and efficiently:
Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.
Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.
The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.
No wonder that Vice President Biden was mystified over the furor that has erupted as a result of the Israeli assault, exclaiming: So what's the big deal here?
The two helicopters swooped low over a cluster of mud homes, whirling in the cold night sky before landing in a wheat field on the edge of the small Afghan village.
From his home nearby, 23-year-old Najibullah Omar strained his eyes in the darkness as he made out the faint shapes of armed men pouring from the helicopters’ bellies.
A third helicopter circled menacingly in the moonless sky above the village of Karakhil in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul.
Then a loud explosion shook the ground and a plume of smoke rose from his cousin Hamidullah’s house 20 yards away. Its guest room caught fire. Omar heard a burst of gunfire before all went quiet.
His worst fears were confirmed the moment he walked through the compound gate at first light.
The body of his cousin, a 32-year-old construction engineer who had taken a break from his job in a far-off province to visit his family, lay sprawled next to those of his wife and their seven-year-old son. Blood ran in dark pools on the mud floor of the terrace outside their door.
The wife and son had been shot in the head, each with a single bullet. The engineer had died from a shot to the chest. The precision of the killings, coupled with his failure to find any bullet casings after the raid, led Omar to believe that his cousin was murdered either by US special forces or by an intelligence agency.