We Did Not Hate You
NOW Magazine (Jan. 1 - 7, 2009)
It was easy to miss, since the world's attention was focused elsewhere, but this week's aerial attack on Gaza is actually the culmination of a two-month-long assault by Israeli forces that started with the choking off of humanitarian aid and basic supplies to the Strip after ceasefire talks broke off. Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants have been reduced to bare survival ever since. An excerpt on the worsening situation from Amnesty International's December 5 report:
Most mills have shut down because they have little or no grain. People long deprived of many food items now cannot even find bread at times. Families never know if they will have food for their children. When people do have food, they generally have no gas or electricity with which to cook it.
Shortages of fuel, electricity and spare parts are causing water and sanitation infrastructure and other crucial services to deteriorate a bit more every day. Eighty per cent of the wells are now only functioning at reduced capacity, and water supply is only available for a few hours every few days.
Shortages of chlorine increase the risk of water-borne diseases. Routine blackouts disrupt every aspect of life for everyone.
Hospitals are struggling to power life-saving machinery. Patients in need of medical treatment unavailable in Gaza are often denied passage out of Gaza. Scores of people have died in the past year when they could have been saved.
Targeting civilians can never be justified, no matter what the reason.
We did not hate you. We did not want to harm you. We wanted to protect our family, our children.
-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert / Cease-fire press conference / Jan. 17 - 09
Conflict in Gaza: Day 21