❶ As Gaza’s sole power plant shuts down, groups warn of devastating consequences
- Background: “Isolation through Humanitarianism: Subaltern Geopolitics of the Siege on Gaza.” Antipode
❷ PFLP slams Hamas, Fatah for putting politics over lives of Palestinians in Gaza
❸ ‘Gaza will be unlivable next year, not 2020 as the UN says’
❹ POETRY by Mu’in Bseiso
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❶ AS GAZA’S SOLE POWER PLANT SHUTS DOWN, GROUPS WARN OF DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES
Ma’an News Agency
July 13, 2017. Gaza’s months-long power crisis once again took a turn for the worst on Wednesday night, when the besieged territory’s sole power plant shut down, further straining the dire humanitarian situation for Gaza’s two million residents.
___Israeli NGO Gisha released a statement on Thursday, stating that the power plant had shut down owing to lack of fuel and that the lives of residents have been “disrupted, entire hospital wards are shut down, untreated sewage is spilling to the sea in heretofore-unseen quantities and beaches are becoming more dangerous for swimming.”
___Head of Public Relations for Gaza’s electricity company Muhammad Thabet also released a statement warning of the devastating consequences that would affect every aspect of life in the Gaza Strip if the electricity supply continued to dwindle.
___The besieged Gaza Strip only has a supply of 70 megawatts of electricity available, after Israel reduced electricity supply to the besieged territory from 120 megawatts upon request of the Palestinian Authority (PA) three weeks ago, he pointed out. MORE . . .
Smith, Ron J. “ISOLATION THROUGH HUMANITARIANISM: SUBALTERN GEOPOLITICS OF THE SIEGE ON GAZA.” Antipode, vol. 48, no. 3, June 2016, pp. 750-769.
[. . . .] The process of maintaining control over territory and populations while dispossessing inhabitants through violence, immiseration and dispossession makes clear that, at its core, occupation is a colonial process.
___Gaza represents a peculiar form of occupation, wherein an occupying military need not be permanently present on the ground to impose its will and control on the local population. . . Gazan lives are permanently circumscribed by occupation from afar—what Gazans and international agencies refer to as “Al Hissar”—the siege. Siege is a geopolitical phenomenon that functions through the removal of societies from the global networks of trade and movement. . . . The siege of Gaza represents a distinct form of political control based on a subset of occupation practices carried out to their extreme. Within this comprehensive program of isolation, the population is cut off completely from the surrounding territory. The local populace is deprived of basic goods needed for survival and freedom of movement is completely curtailed. . . . While Israel’s regulation of everyday life is common to both Gaza and the West Bank . . . Gaza thus far represents an extreme of isolation and deprivation, punctuated by large-scale military invasions.
[. . . .] This article therefore insists on the importance of considering siege as a particular geopolitical phenomenon that is related to but distinct from other forms of violence and control . . . siege must be understood as a highly developed form of collective punishment against a population deemed surplus. Siege uses the tactic of isolating ordinary people from their ability to engage in the exchange of goods, services, people, and ideas as a means of imposing political pressure. The violence of the siege is visible in the ways in which it denies basic needs for the targeted population, and through its enforcement through policies like shoot to kill. Conventional wars, the types that punctuate the ongoing siege in Gaza, work in concert with siege as a means of injuring the population as a whole.
___The siege makes the injuries of war fester: there are no resources to repair the destruction and rebuild homes; it prevents victims from receiving appropriate medical care; it prevents families from returning to the territory to mourn the dead and to support the survivors; and is in itself a form of violence and deprivation. The supposed expectation of any siege is that the inhabitants will put the necessary pressure on their governments to exact the kinds of political changes desired by those imposing the siege. In the case of Gaza, this is complicated by the fact that Israel does not acknowledge its system of control as siege, and has presented no demands as requisite for the lifting of the siege. Indeed, it is unclear that there is any course of activity Gazans can follow that would bring the siege to an end . . . 1.7 million Gazans (the vast majority of whom are refugees from earlier programs of Zionist and Israeli displacement) are a body of civilians that serves no purpose to the Israeli government, and the territory of Gaza itself appears to be a sacrifice zone. Indeed, if we take seriously the notion of Avodat Ivrit, or “Hebrew Labor,” as an organizing principle of Israeli policy, then the siege is a result of the brutal logic of Israel’s categorization of Gaza as a population considered hostile and surplus [. . . .] SOURCE . . .
❷ PFLP SLAMS HAMAS, FATAH FOR PUTTING POLITICS OVER LIVES OF PALESTINIANS IN GAZA
Ma’an News Agency
July 13, 2017. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) a left-wing Palestinian political faction, released statements on Thursday, criticizing both the Hamas and Fatah movements for the ongoing punitive measures that the two factions have taken against each other in recent weeks amidst a deepening political crisis.
___The PFLP rejected the move by Hamas to prevent members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah Central Committee from leaving the Gaza Strip, where Hamas was elected to power in 2006, to travel to the occupied West Bank.
___“The ban and the obstruction of movement from Gaza to the West bank is a policy that Hamas follows, violating all rights and personal freedom, and damages national relations,” the PFLP said, demanding that Hamas and its security forces “immediately stop this policy and create the suitable atmosphere for better national relations and avoid any tensions that deepen the national conflict and violate rights and freedom guaranteed for all Palestinians in West bank and in Gaza Strip.”
___The group went on to criticize the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) of “collective punishment” on Palestinians living in the Hamas-led Gaza Strip, which has been embroiled in a dire electricity crisis, worsened by increasing punitive measures by Israel and the PA. MORE . . .
❸‘GAZA WILL BE UNLIVABLE NEXT YEAR, NOT 2020 AS THE UN SAYS’
July 11, 2017. Things have gotten acutely worse in the Gaza Strip over the past month, since Israel and the Pale1stinian Authority cut the besieged strip’s already inadequate supply of power. But an entire generation of Gazans have grown up without ever experiencing electricity that is available around the clock. Crisis is nothing new.
___In addition to sewage that flows into the sea untreated, and hospital ICUs that must rely on gasoline-powered generators, the power shortage also has dire consequences on everyday life in regular households. Without electricity, the pumps that deliver tap water to apartments in high-rise residential buildings stop working. “Water used to reach these houses between two-to-three hours every few days,” Khalil Shaheen says. “And this is in the summer. Yesterday, my building only had one hour of water.”
___Israel pulled its troops out of the Gaza Strip a little over a decade ago, but its military retains effective control over many aspects of life in the coastal enclave. The Israeli army still controls the Strip’s land and maritime borders, decides who and what may enter and exit, blocks basic technologies like 3G cellular broadband from being installed, and has launched three military operations that left thousands of Gazans dead. Israel also sells Gaza the majority of its inadequate supply of electricity.
___Shaheen, who is the director of the Economic and Social Rights Unit at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), one of Palestine’s most prominent rights groups, monitors the impact of Israeli, Palestinian Authority, and Hamas policies on life in the Gaza Strip. “I’m afraid that with the ongoing situation, Gaza will be unlivable by the end of 2018,” he said in a telephone interview earlier this week. MORE . . .
FOOTSTEPS,” BY MU’IN BSEISO
Brother! If they should sharpen the sword on my neck,
I would not kneel, even if their whips lashed
my bloodied mouth
If dawn is so close to coming
I shall not retreat.
I will rise from the land that feeds our furious storm!
Brother! If the executioner should drag me to the slaughterhouse
before your eyes to make you kneel,
so you might beg him to relent,
I’d call again, Brother! Raise your proud head
and watch as they murder me!
Witness my executioner, sword dripping with my blood!
What shall expose the murderer, but our innocent bleeding?
At night their guns kidnapped him from his trench.
The hero was flung into the cells’ darkness
where, like a banner flutter above chains, he stayed.
The chains became flaming torches,
burning the ashes which coat our shining future.
Now the hero lives, his footsteps ringing triumphantly
within the closed walls of every prison.
—Trans. by May Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye
About Mu’in Bseiso
From: ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.