Israel recently refused to allow oxygen generators into Gaza. It claims that they could be used for “other purposes,” presumably for somehow hurting Israel, a country with a massive airforce, navy, army, secret intelligence agency, spy satellite network, and nuclear arsenal. I see why it feels threatened enough to keep dying kids off of life-giving oxygen.
I suppose that bricks should be banned too, since they could be used for “other purposes” too. One could, for example, throw them at an Israeli soldier. And yes indeed, brick are on the list of “banned” items. Bricks are not allowed into Gaza. For fear the Gazans might build something. The line is that they might build bunkers. You know, the kind where people could stay safe from Israeli bombs. We’ll have none of that, now, will we. No safety allowed from Israeli jets and attack helicopters and white phosphorous bombs.
What else should be banned because it might serve “other purposes” than those Israel arbitrarily decides are appropriate? Food? Indeed, food items are also on the banned list. Foods such as ketchup, ice cream, and lentil beans have popped up on the list of banned items, which changes every week.
Human rights agencies have constantly criticized Isreal for this: how can you ban food, electricity, or medicine to a civilian population? Israel insists that this, as with all its actions, is in the interests of its “national defense.” This is the screen that covers any action, no matter how cruel or unjust. I imagine that Stalin and Hitler also saw themselves as defending “national interests” during their various campaigns of slaughter of civilian populations and collective punishment. People sympathizing with Israeli policy constantly deplore the comparison with Nazi Germany, but refuse to refute rationally the analogies that stare us in the face. None less than Jimmy Carter has declared that the Palestinians live in apartheid conditions far worse than the Bantustans of the former South African regime. One day soon, people will start seeing the ghetto analogies as legitimate comparisons as well. When food and oxygen are denied to a civilian population, what else is there to say…?