Monday, January 26, 2009

An assault on the peace process.

Donald Macintyre is reporting in the Independent that Israel's assault on Gaza has actually destroyed many of Gaza's most important factories as well as over 4,000 homes.

The destroyed factories include: Alweyda, the biggest Palestinian food-processing plant and the only one still operating in Gaza until the war; Abu Eida, the largest, and now flattened, ready-mixed concrete producer; and the 89-year-old Al Badr flour mills, which have the biggest storage facilities anywhere in the Strip. The owners of all three said yesterday they were proud of their close and long-standing contact with Israeli partner firms and suppliers. Dr Yaser Alweyda, owner and engineering director of the demolished food-processing plant, estimated the total damage to his plant at $22.5m and accused Israel of wanting "to destroy the weak Palestinian economy". He added: "They want to ensure that we will never have a state in Palestine."
Israel claimed that their war in Gaza was to destroy Hamas and to ensure the stoppage of Palestinian rocket fire. But, as Macintyre points out, and as Dr Yaser Alweyda also states, it is impossible to look at this kind of damage and not ask oneself if Israel has a different motive.

One of the major components of the peace process has been to ensure that the Palestinians have a viable economy. This attack appears to be an attempt to ensure that they have no such thing.

At the Al Badr mills in Sudaniya, north of Gaza City, owner Rashed Hamada, 55, said his company had been making flour for bakeries right up until the attack on 10 January. He strongly denied that his compound, which was locked at night and had a security guard, had been used by Hamas gunmen, and said it was clear the production line itself had been the target.

"It seems that the father of the commander had owned a flour mill," he commented ironically. "He knew exactly where to hit. The Israelis ... used to encourage me to expand production here. Now they have destroyed it. I don't understand why."

There is no known link between the Palestinian business community and Hamas so one has to ask why the Israelis would do such a thing. What did they hope to gain?
Chris Gunness, chief spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said that widespread destruction of "civilian economic infrastructure" was a strike "at the heart of the peace process" because "economic stability is an essential component of a durable peace."
It is very hard to believe that Israel wants a two state solution when she embarks on actions like this which almost work to make sure such a solution is impossible. They reported that the Obama regime were furious with the Israelis. I bet they were. Obama has always made clear that he intended to tackle this issue from day one. Olmert's actions in Gaza appear designed to make his task much more difficult.
The air and ground strikes have compounded the impact of the trade embargo, which Israel imposed in June 2007 after Hamas's enforced takeover of the Strip. Amr Hamad, the executive manager of the Palestinian Federation of Industries, said: "What they were not able to reach by the blockade, they have reached with their bulldozers."
It would appear that, despite all their rhetoric about rockets and destroying Hamas, Israel are really still intent on starving the Palestinians for daring to elect them.

Click title for full article.

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