Closures heighten Palestinian plight

ASana Asari As the incessant coverage of the war in Iraq continues on the major networks, I would, for the moment, like to digress from this and make mention of another equally important topic. As operatives of Operation Iraqi Freedom advance deeper into Iraq usurping chief Iraqi cities, oil fields and dams under the pretense of liberating the Iraqis, the liberation of another group – the Palestinians – is slighted. The war on Iraq has diverted the mental, psychological and intellectual faculties of people from the dire situation between Israel and the oppressed Palestinians. The situation there continues to not only deteriorate and impact the socio-economics of both the Israelis and Palestinians but in general remains extremely precarious and warrants imperative attention and action.

According to the U.N. secretary general’s statement at the opening of the 2003 session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on Feb. 14 in New York, since September 2000, more than 3,200 people have lost their lives; the victims include both Palestinians and Israelis. However, the great majority of the victims are Palestinian civilians and children. In response to the actions of a few Palestinian liberation and militant groups, Israel collectively punishes the entire Palestinian population by imposing tough measures in the Palestinian-occupied territories, Gaza Strip and West Bank. These include severe mobility restrictions – around-the-clock curfews that only worsen the already dire economic situation of the Palestinians.

The United Nations produces report after report about the Palestinian plight, and with the associated humanitarian crisis teetering over irreversibility, the George W. Bush administration slights the plight of Palestinians with simplistic statements such as “very concerned” when referring to Israeli actions. There is no point in rallying the world to support a war on the false pretense of liberation when the coalition is so outstandingly selective about who is to be liberated and who is not. If only the Palestinian-Israeli conflict got as much attention as the current war on Iraq, we would be liberating two populations. Furthermore, as Operation Iraqi Freedom continues to grow, Operation Palestinian Freedom is yet to be conceived.

Sana Ansari is a University graduate. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]