Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to Koutsoukis’ article “Gaza conflict inquiry prompts fury and spin, but little soul-searching” The Age 17Sep09 September 19, 2009

The Age: “Gaza conflict inquiry prompts fury and spin, but little soul-searching” by Jason Koutsoukis, 17 September 2009

What needs to be kept in perspective in talking about the war crimes committed in Gaza is that a whole society was brought to its knees and still suffers the collective punishment of a siege and blockade, that is killing people as I write and causing untold suffering. This is on a scale of several orders of magnitude higher than anything Hamas metered out in its armed resistance and rocket fire into Israel, quite apart from the disproportionate numbers of deaths and injured. While the civilian population of Sderot were terrorised by the rocket fire -  by comparison, the population of Gaza, over half of whom are children, were subjected to almost three weeks of daily bombardment from which they had nowhere to flee to safety.

The people of Gaza, eighty percent of whom are already refugees or their descendents, having been driven out of what is now Israel, have lived under four decades of occupation, where every aspect of their lives is controlled prohibitively by Israel. The siege and blockade and imprisonment of this population is merely occupation by remote control and is a form of collective punishment that is itself a war crime. It is this occupation and its concomitant denial of human rights that must come to an end.

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