Life in Occupied Palestine
is harsh, brutal, and repressive. It includes collective punishment,
closed borders, economic strangulation, land theft, dispossessions,
neighborhood incursions, ground and air attacks, arrests, torture, incarceration,
and constant fear.
Daily reports explain. On March 27, soldiers and settlers invaded
the al-Aqsa Mosque through the al-Magharba Gate. Inside they
The previous two days, soldiers broke into Bethlehem, Hebron,
Rommana village, and other West Bank homes. They ransacked them and
arrested six or more residents. It happens virtually daily
throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, most often
pre-dawn. Children are treated like adults.
For years, Gaza's suffocated under siege. On March 25, the Gisha
Legal Center for Freedom of Movement headlined, "Israel prevents
hairstylists and students traveling out of Gaza," saying:
Five women and two men were denied. They requested permission to
participate in the Tulkarem "Palestinian Beauty and Tradition Spring
Israel's District Coordination Office (DCO) said "in view of the
current political-security situation, residents of the Gaza Strip
are not permitted to enter Israel other than in exceptional
humanitarian cases, with an emphasis on medical cases."
Gisha wrote DCO head Colonel Khatib Mansour saying:
Three applicants are independent businesswomen. "(A)approving their
application to participate in the fair is particularly important.
Everywhere in the world, including the Gaza Strip, fewer
opportunities are available to women. Therefore, women must be
supported to aspire for economic independence so that they can
contribute to the development of their societies."
In addition, DCO prevented seven Gazan female students from
traveling to Al-Quds University in Abu Dis. They were invited to
participate in an international technology competition. Denial again
was for not being an exceptional humanitarian case.
Under siege, Gazans face poverty, unemployment, shortages of
everything, at times lack of vital to life essentials, and
prohibition of exports except for occasional limited amounts of
strawberries, flowers, peppers and tomatoes. However, getting them
out is expensive, time consuming and unprofitable.
On March 28, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
headlined, "Occupied Lives: Dying while waiting for medical
In 2009, Egyptian doctors diagnosed Gaza resident Akram Mones Abu
Sefan with chronic myelocytic leukemia. Since 2010, Glivec kept him
alive. It's a new drug able to significantly increase patient
Even though cancer spread to other parts of his body, he says Gilvec
"changed my life. Since I started treatment....the symptoms of the
leukemia have subsided and I feel healthy again."
However, since January 2012, the drug's unavailable in Gaza's
Central Drug Store. Under siege, Gazan authorities face enormous
obstacles getting enough essential to life supplies, including
Procedures require Health Ministry officials requesting supplies
from Ramallah's health authorities. They, in turn, must coordinate
efforts with Israel for delivery.
However, the combination of Israeli harshness, Hamas/Fatah disputes,
and financial problems limits the availability of essential
medications and other vital supplies.
Akram's wife explained their ordeal, saying:
"My husband suffers from strong headaches and from pain in his legs.
I try my best to cook food that can compensate the problems caused
by his blood disease."
His doctor told them that interrupting treatment risks severe
consequences. They include respiratory and kidney failure leading to
At present, 32 Gazan cancer patients depend on Gilvec to survive.
Supplies ran out before. For a month and a half, Akram's treatment
was interrupted. He depends on Gaza's Health Ministry to provide it.
It costs $3,700 a month. It's far more than he or most other
Palestinians can afford.
According to Shifa Hospital's Na'el Shih, 80% of medicines patients
need aren't available. "We are dying in here. One hundred eighty six
medicines are currently depleted from the Central Drug Store of the
Ministry of Health in Gaza."
"The remaining stock will be finished within the next 2-3 months.
(For the past) two months, there have been no hepatitis vaccinations
for newborns in Gaza."
Expensive medications like Gilvec are especially hard to get or
unavailable. Without them, patients suffer and face death.
Israel can easily save them. Too often, it condemns them to death
while suffocating 1.7 million others under siege. It's official
On March 28, Haaretz headlined, "Israel's contentious Bedouin
relocation plan passes PM's Office panel," saying:
It calls for displacing up to 30,000 Israeli Arabs from their own
land. In other words, stealing it like nearly half the West Bank.
Known as the Prawar plan, Netanyahu's cabinet approved it last
September. They want Arab land for Jewish development.
The plan involves "16 different ministries and agencies, including
the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, and the Education,
Transportation, Energy and Water Resources, and Housing and
Construction ministries. Among the many officials who attended
Monday's meeting was Prawer himself."
The announcement coincides with Land Day. Palestinians commemorate
the IDF March 30, 1976 killing of six Israeli Arab protesters
against Palestinian land theft. At the time, another 100 were
wounded and hundreds more arrested.
On the same day, the BDS Global Day of Action is held "in solidarity
with the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and
equality and for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against
Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under
In addition, a Global March to Jerusalem will be held after Friday
prayers. Israel plans disruptive violence. It confronts Bedouin
Arabs the same way. They've faced forced relocations for years, but
nothing like on this scale. It amounts to racism writ large. All
Palestinians and Israeli Arabs are affected.
A Final Comment
On March 29, Hana Shalabi's 42 hunger strike day began. She's so
deteriorated she remains dangerously close to death.
For weeks, Palestinian solidarity protests rallied in support. On
Wednesday, a Gaza one took place. Protesters marched on the ICRC's
office. They demanded her immediate release.
Few people in America and the West know about her and other hunger
strikers. Major media scoundrels say nothing.
Photos and posters of Hana adorn her family's home. One wall
displays a large framed picture of her martyred brother, Samer. In
September 2005, Israeli soldiers murdered him in cold blood like so
many other Palestinians.
On March 19, Hana's parents met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
They asked him to help secure Hana's release. He promised to do his
best. He's done little or nothing.
According to Hana's sister Zahra, "Why does he call himself a
president if he can't use his diplomatic powers to release my
sister? I don't believe he's even trying."
When Hana was arrested in 2009, an Israeli officer said the PA
provided a "secret file" on her. Abbas was complicit in her arrest
then. Perhaps again this time on February 16.
He's a longstanding Israeli collaborator, a traitor to his own
people. Israel arranged his election and keeps him in office even
though his term expired in January 2009. Why bother with elections
when coronations work better.
On March 29, an Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) press
release headlined, "Administrative Detention Must Stop: Freedom for
Prisoner Hana Shalabi," saying:
HRA "condemns the continual use of administrative detention against
Palestinian political leaders and reminds that such policy
constitutes a form of arbitrary detention devoid of the most basic
standards of due process of law. The HRA is particularly concerned
about the health conditions of Prisoner Hana Shalabi...."
HRA demanded international community help to free her and other
Palestinians lawlessly held. International law supports them. So
should world leaders and everyone.
Hana's lawyer, Jawad Boulos, heads the Palestinian Prisoners Society
(PPS) Legal Unit. PPS appealed to Israel's High Court for Hana's
release. Boulos said all legal means will be used on her behalf.
Rarely ever does Israel's Supreme Court overrule a lower court
decision affecting Palestinians. Expect little or no redress this
Palestinians are on their own to survive. Even those lawlessly
condemned to die aren't helped. It shows Israeli and Western
contempt for human rights and life.
Their imperial wars alone show it. Political prisoners fill their
prisons. America and Israel especially defile principles they claim
They don't now, never did, and won't ever unless mass outrage in
both countries and other Western ones sustains struggles for
systemic change. It's their only chance.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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