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Keeping Gaza in the dark

January 25, 2014 at 4:34 am

Efforts to keep the Gaza Strip in the dark, including its many hospitals, homes and street lights, is immoral and inhumane and constitutes collective punishment against the Palestinians. It also shows complete casual disregard by the Israelis for the Arabs who can see this crime against their brothers taking place but can do nothing about it.

This raises questions about the usefulness of the Arab League, which has been unable to bring about the changes necessary to lift the siege on Gaza, and adopted a project two years ago to connect electricity supplies in the Arab world to the exclusion of the Gaza Strip. There are also questions about the religious and moral responsibility of the Arabs for the provision of electricity to the Gaza Strip, not least in order to save the sick, the poor and the needy. This is especially true of the Egyptians, who overthrew the Mubarak regime, which was a key ally of Israel and helped to enforce the siege of Gaza. The impotence of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to do anything at all, let alone provide electricity for Gaza, without permission from Israel may be understandable. The silence of the Arabs, however, is another matter, especially after the Arab Spring revolutions.

This failure to act suggests that they have not broken free from the dependency culture which sees whole states bow down to foreign intervention. Popular hopes that the Arab nation will regain its once important role as a major influence across the region have still not been fulfilled. If they had, then Israel would not be able to push ahead with its Judaisation plans and land grabs in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank; nor would the Zionist state be able to dictate to the Palestinian Authority. On the contrary, the Arabs, including the PA, would be in a position to break the siege and supply Gaza with all of its needs, electricity included. Israel’s collective punishment imposed for no other reason than that the Palestinians in Gaza have opted to resist the immoral military occupation of their land would come to an end.

Thus, the ongoing suffering of the people of Gaza at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities can be seen as Israel’s revenge for Palestinian steadfastness. The people refuse to be humiliated and strive to maintain their dignity, and call upon the Arab world to join them in this stand against Israel’s inhumanity. Meanwhile, the weakness of the PA in Ramallah puts a huge question mark against its credibility and ability to fulfil the requirements of the national reconciliation deal struck between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo and Doha.

The Israeli government has to maintain its immoral policies to keep Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power; the Palestinians have to pay a heavy price to buy votes for the increasingly extreme Likud leader. There is a crisis in his party, so Netanyahu has to show that he is a “tough” leader, which means being tough with the Palestinians. This includes keeping the military options open. The Arab world which hears the cries of the people of Gaza as they are kept in the dark should keep that in mind. The Israelis are not sleeping, so why are the Arabs?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.