Saturday, January 02, 2010
Alaskans For Palestine Rally In Anchorage On Behalf Of The People Of Gaza To Commemorate The Anniversary Of The Israeli Invasion Of Gaza
On Saturday January 2nd, 2010, an estimated 12 activists associated with the group Alaskans For Palestine showed up at the corner of New Seward Highway and Benson Boulevard in Anchorage, Alaska, rallying in support of the people of Gaza. The rally marks the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Media story published by KTUU Channel 2.
"We're here to stand in solidarity with the rest of the world who are marking this one-year anniversary," said Heather Barbour, a spokeswoman. "And we're just here to support civil rights, human rights and to end the siege -- end the blockade." According to Progressive Alaska, Alaskans For Palestine were acting in solidarity with The International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza.
Alaskans for Palestine says the people of Gaza are suffering from a lack of medical supplies and limited food. This issue is further explored on the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) website. In an article entitled, "Nine Of Ten Gazans Living in Poverty", Mohammed Omer states that, according to a September 2009 report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), living conditions and access to sources of livelihood in Gaza are currently at their worst since 1967, with poverty affecting 90 percent of the population. The World Bank says that Palestinians currently are experiencing the worst economic depression in modern history.
Omer also points out that Israel’s December-January military assault on Gaza, triggered by isolated rocket attacks into Israel proper, caused an estimated $4 billion in damage — three times the value of the strip’s entire gross national product (GNP). Despite international pledges at the Sharm el-Sheikh donors’ conference in March 2009 of over $4.5 billion in aid — much of which remains an unfulfilled promise — Gaza’s destroyed economy has not improved. The water, sewage and electricity infrastructure, already severely debilitated by the siege, is now stretched to breaking point. In addition, businesses in Gaza are failing because Israel won't allow many raw materials to be imported into the Strip. Of late, Israel allows three types of raw materials into Gaza: Sugar, flour and butter. Among the more than 100 materials Israel prohibits from entering Gaza are cartons, paper, plastic covers, chocolate, hygienic materials, and spare parts for machines.
There's also a dispute between Israel and the Palestinians over natural gas - a subject near and dear to the hearts of many Alaskans. Off the coast of Gaza exists a large underground natural gas field. This would become Israel’s prize if Gaza is broken, for Tel Aviv covets the land and natural resources of Gaza, if not necessarily the human beings who live there. The West Bank also possesses a natural gas reserve. According to more than one country’s intelligence sources, Israel began parallel drilling and siphoning off the West Bank natural gas through Jerusalem in the late 1990s. Some interpret this as a "war crime" under the Geneva Convention.
It's also worth noting that on June 24th, 2005, climber Dan Pingree unfurled a Palestinian flag after summitting Mount McKinley. He wanted to transform what he called an "otherwise selfish climb into a poignant experience" that would help him better appreciate Palestinian suffering. In addition, he hoped that raising the Palestinian flag on Denali’s summit will garner the kind of publicity befitting the cause of Palestinian statehood.
The Palestinian people clearly desire statehood; such a desire is not inherently anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. Israeli security is inseparable from Palestinian liberty; one cannot exist without the other. While Israel is entitled to have secure and defensible borders, the Palestinians are also entitled to have a geographically-contiguous nation. The cause of the Palestinians is just as worthy as that of the Israelis.