Gaza - breaking out of a concentration camp

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29 January 2008

It was impossible not to be moved by the human wave which flooded into Egypt when the wall marking its border with the Gaza Strip was blown up, last week. This was an expression of despair by a whole population, which has been completely locked up in its own land since 2005.

The media were quick to point at "black marketeers" seizing their chances. Maybe. But if Gaza's black market exists, isn't it due to shortages of vital goods, in the first place? And aren't these shortages caused by the blockade enforced by Israel and by Gaza's lack of funds - itself partly due to Israel's refusal to hand back the money it owes to its administration?

For the population of Gaza, the past years have been a nightmare. The likes of Bush and his special regional envoy, Blair, may claim the moral high ground for Israel due to cross-border "terrorist" attacks against Israel. Such attacks may be useless against the Israeli army and counter-productive, because they weaken the Palestinians' support among Israeli ranks. But how can they justify Israel's terrorist air raids against Gaza's civilians?

As if these raids were not bad enough, Gazans have long ceased to have a working infrastructure. Whether it be electricity, gas, water or sewage, nothing works anymore, for lack of spare parts, if not due to some Israeli bomb. So, just before the break-out into Egypt, Gaza was plunged into darkness for lack of fuel.

The world's governments are all responsible for having turned Gaza into a concentration camp. Some, like the Israeli and Egyptian governments, by acting as its wardens. Others, like the European governments and the Arab rulers, by looking the other way, in the best of cases, or by supporting Israel's regional rule as the British government does. But the side of Britain's working class is with the oppressed - with the Gaza prisoners who were able, this once, to make a brief escape from their wardens.