TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2014
Christie’s Bridge, Netanyahu’s diet
It’s been a half a year and Chris Christie is still in the news. At least his administration is in trouble because they shut down two of three access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. Last August, a deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, emailed David Wildstein, the governor’s appointee to the Port Authority, saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein responded, “Got it.” And, “it” caused a huge traffic jam for days and the question remains, “Did Christie know about it?”
Americans just won’t put up with dirty tricks like deliberately causing people to wait in lines for hours to get to New York and if Christie knew about it, he is not fit to be president of the United States. We have high standards.
On the other hand, people in Gaza wait in their cars all day, every day, or stand in line for six to twelve hours, holding a jug, hoping to get enough fuel oil to cook supper for their children. Standing in line is a deliberate tactic in Gaza and everyone, including Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, and Barack Obama, President of the United States knows who is responsible. We just don’t care enough to discuss it. Our standards for Israel are pretty low.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs tells us:
Fuel shortages are a chronic problem for Gaza’s 1.7 million imprisoned residents. Israel controls the entry of all fuel supplies into the Gaza strip. Israelis living just a few miles away enjoy plentiful supplies and easy access to fuel, while in Gaza fuel for heating, emergency generators, vehicles and cooking are dependent on infrequent deliveries. Often only smuggled fuel is available — and fuel coming through Israel is unaffordable.
While every necessity in Gaza requires waiting in long lines, whether for fuel, getting to school or trying to see a doctor, the worst of it is seeking food.
Food shortage is a policy of Israel and it has been for years. Not unlike the administrative powers of the Christie administration, five years ago, the administrative powers of Israel described Israel’s plan for Gaza. “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” Of course, Israel puts the spin on it that its goal is to prevent starvation. But cutting food trucks allowed into Gaza from 400 trucks a day to 67 exposes its true purpose. Netanyahu’s health ministry has determined that Gazans need only 2,276 calories a day to keep from starving. Thus, that is all they get, except of course, when Israel closed the crossing completely for ten days to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), when no trucks were allowed in. Israel’s “diet” program simply does not express benevolence to anyone … except those who deliberately choose to be blind to the everyday crimes against the people of Gaza.
Targeting fertilizer plants and chicken farms in the bombing of 2008-09 caused massive food insecurity, but raised little ire in the US media, our halls of government or even in our churches.
On the first day of the Gaza offensive, Yoav Galant, the commander in charge, explained the aim succinctly: it was to “send Gaza decades into the past.” Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai may have been thinking in similar terms when months before Operation Cast Lead, he warned that Israel was preparing in inflict on Gaza a Holocaust.”
Eighteen year olds with machine guns holding trucks at crossing points until milk, fruit and vegetables spoil in the hot sun has little to do with security. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports: “Chronic malnutrition in Gaza.” No surprise. What is surprising is that good Americans who would not tolerate the government of New Jersey shutting down two lanes of a bridge, which caused a traffic jam, will sit by silently while the government of Israel shuts down Gaza’s only supply of fuel, food, seed, water, medicines and electricity and has done so for years. Christie gets boos at the Super Bowl and Netanyahu gets standing ovations at the joint meeting of congress.
Like the people of Jersey waiting to get across the bridge, the people of Gaza wait. They have been waiting for 65 years.