Today Ta’anit Tzedek sponsored an incredibly informative and thought-provoking conference call with Sari Bashi, Executive Director of Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement. We were also joined by Reut Katz of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel who shared information about the medical infrastructure in Gaza and the difficulties faced by Gazans needing medical treatment
Toward the end of the call, I asked Sari why the crisis in Gaza always seemed to be so central to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Her incisive response:
I think Gaza is a bit like the canary in the coal mine. What is being done now in Gaza is being done to a lesser extent in the West Bank and we will see some of the terrible effects in the West Bank as well if we continue on the path we are on. The concern about Israel’s behavior in Gaza is that it is exercising control without taking responsibility. It is controlling people’s lives by controlling movement and access but it is not taking responsibility for the effects of that control on a million and half civilians who need to be able to access all of the things we’ve been discussing.
In the West Bank that process is also underway. Israel is dividing up the West Bank between Jewish areas, where the settlements are, and Palestinian areas – and it is slowly disengaging from responsibility for what happens in the Palestinian areas without giving up on control of those borders and of movement and access. And it can’t be both ways: either Israel continues to control movement and access but takes responsibility for that control or if it wants to disengage from responsibility it must let go of control – and that also means letting go of checking for security reasons what leaves and enters Gaza and the West Bank.
Click here to hear the call in its entirety. The conversation begins at 1:38 minutes and includes several questions from participants.