Sunday, October 21, 2012

Egypt partially eases its 11-week fuel blockade of Gaza

From Ma'an:
Fuel donated by Qatar will be pumped in limited quantities into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, an official confirmed.

Liaison official Raed Fattouh said Israel partially opened their Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday to allow the entry of the fuel.

The resumption of deliveries was announced earlier this week by Palestinian officials.

Delivery of Qatari fuel began in July, but was cut off after a border attack on Egyptian officers on Aug. 5.
So Egypt has been withholding fuel from Gaza for over two months - and no one has reported it.

Ma'an elliptically mentioned it in September, saying that Hamas was demanding that the Qatar fuel shipments be resumed, but it didn't note that the shipments ended because of the Sinai attack.

In other words, to put this into terms that "human rights" groups would put it if Israel had done the same thing (mostly using language by PCHR, which has been utterly silent on Egypt's blockade of Gaza):

Egypt made a unilateral decision to collectively punish Gazans in August by withholding fuel for the Gaza power plant. By reacting to a single attack in such a disproportionate manner, Egypt endangered the lives of over 1.7 million people, especially those who need hospital services and other round-the-clock medical care. Egypt moreover repeatedly denied pleas by the Gaza authorities to resume the life-giving shipments of humanitarian fuel, showing a callous disregard to the lives of innocent human beings.

Palestinians are only granted permission by Egypt to leave Gaza in extremely limited circumstances. Exports from Gaza to Egypt are almost nil, and imports from Egypt when they arrive at all are in dramatically insufficient quantities. In contrast, before 2005, Egypt regularly exported up to 8,600 truckloads of goods per month to Gaza. The illegal closure of the Gaza Strip is enacted as a form of collective punishment by the Egyptian authorities. The current closure regime violates numerous principles of international humanitarian law and international human rights law including, inter alia, Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, and Articles 33, 55 and 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the right to life, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to freedom of movement and the right to self-determination, which is indispensable for the development of a society in which people can live with human dignity.

We call on Egypt to immediately lift its illegal blockade on Gaza and to allow unlimited transfer of fuel, humanitarian aid, construction materials and consumer goods, as well as to facilitate the unlimited travel of people across the border. Moreover, we call on Egypt to allow imports of goods from Gaza.

But human rights groups have not been issuing any press releases that say this, or anything close to this. Nothing about collective punishment; no pretense that Egypt is violating international law - nothing. In the past two and a half months of the Egyptian fuel blockade, no NGO even mentioned it, except for a passing reference by the UN's OCHA-OPT in early October and one in late August, as far as I can tell.

Naturally, not one Western "pro-Gaza" group has raised this issue.

The hypocrisy of the media and the "human rights" organizations in ignoring Egypt's conscious decision to withhold fuel from Gaza - fuel that Egypt doesn't even pay for - could not be plainer.