Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to Koutsoukis’ article “Tunnels bring life to the cut-off world of Gaza” 19 Dec09 December 20, 2009

The Age: “Tunnels bring life to the cut-off world of Gaza” by Jason Koutsoukis, 19 December 2009

It is the merciless Israeli siege and blockade that has produced the smuggling tunnels of Gaza that Egypt, with the help of the US and British military engineers, is now planning to cut off with a steel wall. This attempt to hermetically seal what is already the world’s largest open-air prison and leave the 1.5 million Gazans totally at the mercy of a siege designed to break a whole people leaves one wondering how one can still talk
about upholding human rights, when collective punishment – a war crime, is shamelessly condoned.

Three years of siege (already responsible for over 350 medical deaths) culminated in the 22-day assault on Gaza which occurred two days after Christmas last year, leaving 1400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including 400 children dead and more than 5,300 injured and maimed. Gaza’s
infrastructure was systematically destroyed as the population faced a barrage of white phosphorus shells leaving horrific burns on its victims.  Today the hundreds of families made homeless still live in tents, while many more are living in the ruins of their houses or with relatives as reconstruction material is not allowed into Gaza. It is time we talked of the criminality of what is happening to a whole people denied their most basic human rights.

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