Gaza pullout? What pullout? The occupation goes on

Gaza pullout? What pullout? The occupation goes on

JEFF JACOBY’S Aug. 18 op-ed column “The failure of the Gaza pullout’’ misleads its readers into thinking that Israel actually ended its occupation of Gaza. Israel still controls Gaza’s land borders, sea access, and airspace. It has control over what goes in and out of Gaza (minus what comes through the tunnels); it controls Gaza’s economy as well as the Palestinian population registry. It maintains military “buffer zones’’ on Gaza territory, and it frequently conducts military operations inside Gaza. Therefore, in practical and legal terms, Israel still occupies Gaza.

Instead of treating the occupied civilian population humanely, Israel has imposed a near hermetic closure of the territory, dramatically restricting the kinds and quantity of supplies that can enter.

As a result, Gaza’s economy is decimated, and according to some estimates, unemployment hovers around 40 percent, 80 percent of the population is dependent on food aid, and more than 50 percent of Gaza’s children suffer from anemia and other vitamin deficiencies.

The UN and legal experts have labeled Israel’s policy as collective punishment, which can be a war crime. The deliberate persecution of a people is also a crime against humanity. What is the world doing about it?

Huwaida Arraf
Ramallah, West Bank
The writer chairs the Free Gaza Movement, and has helped lead the flotillas that tried to bring aid to Gaza.