What kind of "blockade" allows 738,576 tons of humanitarian aid?
Just three days after a man was murdered by a qassam rocket in southern Israel, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon visited the Gaza Strip and told the people of Gaza "we stand with you." Ban called for an end to a so-called siege or blockade on the terrorist controlled territory, and one has to ask what siege or blockade Moon is referring to when in 2009 738,576 tons of humanitarian aid was transferred into the Gaza Strip.
Can the UN really claim there is a “Gaza Siege” when they have given $200 million to the Gaza Strip following a military operation that is claimed to have had 1,300 casualties amongst a population of less than 1.5 million, and they have only given $10 million to the natural disaster in Haiti that claimed the lives of an estimated over 230,000 people and affected over 3 million? Of course, that is without mentioning that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for a near decade and were the subject of a natural disaster.
The international community has bought this bold faced lie about some Israeli implemented siege on the Gaza Strip while ignoring the facts on the ground. International humanitarian aid has been flowing rapidly into the Gaza Strip for years and in no way stopped after Operation Cast Lead, as 30,576 aid trucks entered the territory in 2009. In 2009 4,883 tons of medical equipment entered the Gaza Strip with this equipment continuing including for example a new CAT Scan machine just last month.
As the Gaza Strip has been called terms like “the world’s largest prison” referencing residents not being able to exit the territory, in 2009 10,544 patients and their companions left the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel, and just weeks prior nearly 500 patients and companions from Gaza received medical treatment in Israel.
The UN has continued to promote this lie of a “Gaza Siege” while not promoting how much money they have pumped into the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead. In an UNRWA report to measure the progress of UN aid 6-months after Operation Cast Lead, they reported that of the aimed goal of over $300 million they planned to give to Gaza, they had transferred almost $200 million.
Before his upcoming Gaza visit, Ban Ki Moon just returned from a visit to the earthquake devastated Haiti. There he promised the citizens more help and said the UN was leading a revised plan to raise another $1.4 billion in aid. That goal has not been met yet but what the UN did give up until the end of January was $10 million in aid.
There have been major US government officials as well, such as Congressmen Keith Ellison and Brian Baird both of which visited Sderot with the Sderot Media Center, that have promoted this idea of a “Gaza Siege.” They must be ignoring the fact that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $900 million in aid to be sent to the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead. While in a USAID and DOD report calculating the aid has been sent to the earthquake decimated Haiti, as of last month all the US Government programs gave just over $700 million in aid, nearly $200 million less the terrorist controlled Gaza Strip.
Over a year has past since Operation Cast Lead and the international community is still buying the bold faced lie about a “Gaza Siege,” while the Sderot Media Center reports over 330 rockets and mortars have hit Israel from Gaza in that same year. Five minutes away from the Erez Crossing into Gaza, Ban Ki Moon should have visited Kibbutz Netiv HaAsara where a foreign worker was murdered by a qassam rocket last Thursday and Kibbutz Nirim to see where a rocket destroyed a building the week before, instead of working to promote a lie by visiting the Gaza Strip.
Jacob Shrybman is the Assistant Director of the Sderot Media Center, www.SderotMedia.org.il.