Friday, 6 March 2009


A fund raising dinner to support humanitarian relief in Gaza is organised by Muslim groups in the Rochdale area, and I am one of the speakers. It's well supported but not a huge affair, yet it raises £30,000! If nothing else that should serve as a reminder that many British voters want their representatives to start speaking up for justice in Palestine. So far as Israeli actions are concerned "enough is enough" they will say.

But how will the money be used? In recent days we have had Kerry, Solana and Blair visiting Gaza, all have called for the lifting of the economic blockade, but what has actually changed? Month after month passes but Israel ignores every entreaty. It is still not allowing concrete into Gaza, despite having destroyed the concrete making factories. It is not allowing paper for use by 400,000 children in schools. It is not allowing water purifying tablets to enter. Of course some of these products are in fact available at a price, smuggled in from Egypt through the hundreds of tunnels that the bombs were supposed to have destroyed. The Gaza mafia gets rich on the proceeds. But Israel puts two fingers up at all the senior people asking for a change in policy, and we never hear another word out of them.

The British government has pledged some £30 million to help with reconstruction. Hilary Clinton has promised hundreds of millions on the farcical basis that the elected representatives in Gaza (Hamas!) won't have any control of it. But who really benefits?

Most goods have to come through Israel or be purchased in Israel. The European Commission reckons that 60% of money given for Palestinians is spent in Israel, and the bombing of the Gaza economic infrastructure must increase this dependence.

Israel destroys Palestinian property. The EU pays for humanitarian relief and restoration of the damage. Israel makes money in the process.

Nice little scam, and EU citizens pick up the tab.

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