Thursday, December 13, 2007

ICRC: Humanitarian aid cannot help Palestinians

The International Committee of the Red Cross issues a report yesterday on the situation in Gaza and the West Bank:

The ICRC said the measures imposed by Israel had denied the Palestinian population the right to live a normal and dignified life.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says politics is not usually a word which features in the language of the international Red Cross - the famously neutral organisation tends to work quietly in conflict zones, and when it does speak, it speaks of numbers of injured treated, or numbers of detainees visited.

But the ICRC now says that life in the West bank and Gaza Strip has become so dreadful that no amount of humanitarian aid can really help.

Continue BBC article here

Check out the full report here (a must read-the photos alone are shocking)

Unlike many other reports and statements issues byt humanitarian and relief organizations, I think this one especially is important.

What this report points to is that the incredible suffering of Palestinians is a direct result of oppressive and inhumane measures taken by the Israeli government.

In order to even begin talking about peace or a resolution (short term or long term) to the struggle, the Israeli government must restore to Palestinians the minimum level of human dignity and normalcy. The situation is so tragic that no amount of humanitarian aid will make any difference.

The fact that the ICRC came out and addressed the political issues head-on is very telling of the degree of suffering and oppression.

I hate to compare human suffering or tragedy because every human experience is unique and valuable. However, I sometimes blame myself for focusing too much on the Palestinian cause and being blind to suffering elsewhere around the world.

But then, I remember why the Palestinian cause deserves such international recognition and solidarity. Unlike many other conflicts and global problems (Aids in Africa, Iraq, climate change,...); the tragic situation the Palestinians are in at the moment (especially in Gaza, the situation is exponentially getting worse by the day), is a direct result of oppressive illegal occupation by Israel. However, unlike other perpetrators of injustice, Israel is seen as the victim not the oppressor by many around the world.

I will not say that the Palestinian conflict is easy to resolve. However, I do think alleviating the extreme suffering of the Palestinians is straight forward: remove the seige on Gaza and the barriers in the West Bank. Palestinians can then start breathing and maybe thinking about a long-term solution.

Until this happens, I think the whole world should be boycotting Israel and standing up to say "enough is enough".

1 comment:

jjs110 said...

What a joke! The reason the Palestinians are "suffering" (please, spare me the sob story: it's nothing compared to what the Darfuris are sufferinf, to the tune of 400,000 dead already) is because they won't stop terrorism and attacking Israeli civilians. By publishing this report, the ICRC clearly shows that whatever shred of pretense of neutrality it still claimed is now gone. I hope Israel kicks the ICRC out for good, as they have been incapable of showing any degree of balance. Where is their report on the constant bombing of Sderot by the Palestinians of Gaza?