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Monday, February 02, 2009


The deliberate destruction of the Gaza economy

[First posted 10:44 a.m.; updated with video (below)

I wrote a few days ago about the deliberate destruction of the economy of Gaza by the Israeli assault - in all, 230 factories destroyed. Today, CNN is broadcasting a segment (video below) by reporter Paula Hancocks on just one aspect of that destruction - the cement factories which are, obviously, a crucial need in any kind of rebuilding (or building). 17 out of 27 cement factories in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli bombing. The owner of the one Hancocks interviewed, who of course was accused by Israel of hiding weapons in his factory as the justification for the bombing, vehemently denied it. Israeli apologists will no doubt say he's lying. But 17 different cement factories? How many weapons does Hamas have, anyway?

Well, no doubt there are some Israeli apologists who will say why yes, it's quite possible that Hamas was hiding weapons in 17 different cement factories (not to mention the other 213 destroyed factories). For those die-hards, there was one more piece of evidence in the Hancocks segment. At the one factory she visited, all eight of their cement trucks had been tipped over and destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. Were they hiding weapons too?

The conclusion is absolutely, utterly inescapable - the Israeli assault on Gaza was not about "stopping rockets." It was about inflicting massive collective punishment on the people of Gaza (over and above the collective punishment inflicted by the long-standing blockade), a collective punishment that would last for years to come.

And I should close by noting that most of the money to pay for the weapons which did the destroying, and at least some of the money to pay for the reconstruction of what was destroyed, will come straight out of the pockets of the beleaguered American taxpayer, a group which has a hard enough time paying for our own needs. As with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this isn't just something that's happening to people in other countries and to American soldiers, although of course that would be reason enough to be outraged. It's very much something that happening right here, with every hospital closing, every teacher layoff, every unrepaired road.

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