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22 May 2018 | | | | | |

“Gaza is the biggest air prison in the world”

Murders in the Gaza Strip and impunity of Israel: the huge debt of multilateralism

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“These recent events in Gaza, the killing of peaceful demonstrators, go to show the level of impunity that Israel enjoys today despite of the international community’s efforts, despite of all UN mechanisms”, said academic Nidal Atallah, of Birzeit University, located in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, West Bank.

“Israel knows there will be no implications, they know that any current Israeli government will also have the US backing in the UN. If the UN Security Council decides to take a resolution, then the US veto is definite”, said the human rights activist and professor at the main university in the West Bank.

Nidal was interviewed by Brazilian activist Maureen Santos especially for Real World Radio at an activity in Costa Rica, after on May 14th, Israeli occupation forces murdered over 60 demonstrators in the Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel. The following day, the Palestinian people commemorated the 70th anniversary of “Nakba”, the “catastrophe” of 1948, when Israel founded its State and expelled them from their own lands.

The demonstrators were mobilizing for their right as Palestinian refugees to return to their lands, and because that same Monday the US was opening its embassy of Israel in Jerusalem (previously located in Tel Aviv), despite the fact that Palestine is demanding East Jerusalem as its capital city. In fact, the US action contravened international agreements for a “two-state solution”, with Palestine´s capital in East Jerusalem.

Nidal said that after the brutal killings of Monday, where 3000 people were injured as well, there is a “sense of despair, hopelessness and anger among the people and this is translated to the political parties as well”.

The US was in the past one of the promoters of the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Nevertheless, the decision made by now President Donald Trump left Palestinian authorities with no other choice but to reject US intervention in the future, because clearly, the US is not impartial, said Nidal.

The Palestinian professor referred to the humanitarian situation in Gaza as “horrendous” and “dramatic”, and he regretted that the international community has not been able to change it. “Living in Gaza is becoming impossible because this is the biggest air prison in the world, people have been trapped for many years. Bear in mind that this is a population of refugees that had fled to Gaza over the two major wars with Israel in 1948 and 1967. So we are already talking about a marginalized and brutalized population”, he said. In addition, Gaza refugees have suffered for over ten years massive military attacks by Israel, which have seriously affected their lives.

Nidal was asked about the socio-environmental situation of Gaza. About this, the activist said that there have been numerous international reports that ensure that in the near future, life will be practically impossible in Gaza. “We are talking about water supply for nearly two million people that is almost entirely contaminated. We are talking about deprivation of the local community, the local people’s right to water and improper disposal of waste water and other contaminants in the area. And this is directly the result of the embargo in the Gaza Strip, where it has become over populated, where there has been an embargo on the amount and types of goods that enter into the Gaza Strip”, which makes life in this heavily populated area increasingly difficult.

The Professor at Birzeit University added that Gaza is surrounded by militarized areas, with the people risking being murdered if they cross certain areas, even fishermen who depend on this activity for their livelihoods, with implications for agriculture, the environment and other socioeconomic issues.

Despite the inefficacy of the international community to make Israel respect human rights and international agreements in favor of Palestine, Nidal said that mobilization and support from different parts of the world to the Palestinian case is key. “I think it´s very important for us as Palestinians to see different societies in different countries mobilizing for Palestine for a change to take place. We keep hoping that UN mechanisms might bring us a change at some point”, the activist said. “It is important for the international community to place pressure on Israel to step by step end this culture of impunity that Israel has been enjoying in the Palestinian occupied territory”, after 70 years of the “catastrophe”, he added.

Imagen: Al Arab

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