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2006-09-20,11:35 AM

Arab American Writers Condemn the US-EU-Israeli Economic Blockade of Gaza, Demand Lifting It Immediately

RAWI Condemns the Economic Blockade of Gaza, Calls on the US, EU, and Israel to Lift It Immediately

The Radius of Arab American Writers, Inc. [RAWI] deplores the ongoing economic blockade by Israel and its sponsor, the United States, of the Gaza Strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians. We call on Israel, the United States, and the European Union to end this blockade immediately in order to alleviate Gaza’s economic collapse and the resultant widespread starvation.

According to the New York Times, the majority of Gaza’s child population is now malnourished and most of Gaza’s families have been reduced to planting vegetables in sand in order to feed themselves. The Independent of London reports that the residents of Gaza are “struggling to survive in the face of an economic blockade.”

The effects of this blockade have been worsened by the fact that in its recent invasion of Gaza, which went largely unreported in American media, Israel destroyed whatever remained of Gaza’s infrastructure in addition to killing at least 146 civilians, many of them children.

We condemn not only the poor timing and strategic foolishness of this economic blockade, but also its immorality. A reaction to the Palestinians’ selection of Hamas to a parliamentary majority in a free and fair election, the economic blockade appears to collectively punish innocent people for doing nothing more than exercising their democratic rights. RAWI views as shocking, preposterous, and racist the justifications for this blockade based on the indemonstrable notion that Hamas endeavors to destroy Israel, a position articulated recently on the New York Times letters page: “If the [Palestinian] electorate wants a government run by a party that is sworn to destroy Israel, it shouldn’t be a surprise when Israel cuts off financing in response.”

We would point out in response to this sort of logic that elections in the United States and Israel produced right-wing governments that seek the destruction of Palestine (and, unlike the Palestinians, have the power to act on this impulse, a situation evident today in Gaza).

Therefore, as a community of Arab American writers and scholars we would like to bring to the attention of our American compatriots the fact that the United States government is more dangerous to the Palestinians than the Palestinians’ government ever possibly could be to Americans.

All reasoning underlying the continuation of the economic blockade of Gaza, then, is dubious politically, strategically, and morally. RAWI calls for its immediate cessation and for an investigation by an international governing body of widespread human rights abuses by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

We also call on fellow writers and scholars to raise their voices as individuals and institutions in opposition to this humanitarian disaster.

Carol Rae Bradford
Member, RAWI

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