Letter: Independent Jewish Voices says it's proud to sponsor flotilla to Gaza
Jack Chivo’s letter to the editor could have been written by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak or Israel Defence Forces chief Benny Gantz [" B.C. residents on Gaza flotilla raises questions of priorities"].
The Israeli security establishment and their supporters like Mr. Chivo try to confuse people about the economic situation prevailing in Gaza by spreading the message that life there is just fine and that there is no need for flotillas to challenge the Israeli blockade, which is cast as purely defensive in nature. But a State Department cable written from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv in October 2008 and published by WikiLeaks sheds light on Israel’s claims about the economic situation in Gaza.
According to this cable:
Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis”¦ Israeli officials have confirmed ... on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.
Israel’s deliberate effort to keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” is what is motivating participants in the Freedom Flotilla to break its illegal blockade.
The conditions in Gaza haven’t gotten any better since that cable was written. In June of this year, a United Nations Relief and Works Agency report detailed the human cost of the Israeli siege on Gaza:
As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year... broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world... real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006.
Those facts—Gaza’s dire economic situation and Israel’s deliberate strategy to keep it that way—explain why flotillas like this one will continue to sail until Israel’s blockade of Gaza is no more. Our organization is proud to be one of the flotilla’s sponsors.
> Sid Shniad / Independent Jewish Voices Canada