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Top EU official backs Israel's crimes in occupied Gaza

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"Exploring The Powerful Issues & Emotions of The Middle East" 
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Editor's Note: 

Folks, a real humanitarian crisis is erupting in Gaza due 
to the Israeli siege of the city. Israel is doing the Gaza 
what Hitler did to the Warsaw Ghetto. There is collective 
punishment... electricity turned off, sewage in the streets 
and hospitals without power.

This tragedy must be stopped and we bring you the news so 
you can not say, "I did not know". 

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----------------- Today's Video Clip ------------------

    Israel Creates Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza

Israel has cut off fuel to Gaza and has illegally 
instituted collective punishment on 1.5 million 
Palestinians. Raw sewage runs in the streets, 
hospitals have no power and the world stands silent 
and MSM does not cover the story. 

Click To View: Israel Creates Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza 
   
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Top EU official backs Israel's crimes in occupied Gaza 
-by Ali Abunimah 

A top European Union official has offered full backing for
Israel as it continues its illegal blockade of fuel, food,
medicine and other vital supplies to the occupied Gaza
Strip that has led to a growing humanitarian crisis.

At a conference in the Israeli town of Herzliya on 22
January, Franco Frattini, the vice president of the
European Commission, stated that "the steps leading up to
the Gaza blackout cannot be construed as a war crime,"
according to a report on Ynetnews.com, a website published
by the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot. (Dana Zimmerman,
"Top EU official: Gaza siege not a war crime,"
Ynetnews.com, 22 January 2007.)

A published text of Frattini's comments did not address
the issue of war crimes, but blamed Hamas for the crisis.
Frattini claimed that Hamas "has been provoking Israel's
armed response." (The EU's Take of the Israeli-Palestinian
Issue, comments of Franco Frattini, published by The
MediaLine, 22 January 2007.)

Since it was elected in January 2006, Hamas has made
numerous offers of ceasefires which Israel has publicly
rejected.

Frattini charged that "Hamas has never abandoned its plan
of destroying Israel and still rejects the principle of
[the] two-state solution." Athough Hamas was
democratically elected, Frattini, who is also European
Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, stated
that "Hamas cannot be a viable interlocutor, neither for
the international community, nor for the poor Palestinian
people who should sooner rather than later realize that
Hamas has brought them only disaster."

Frattini, a former Italian foreign minister, who is also
the top EU official responsible for combating terrorism,
told his Israeli hosts that "your predicament in the face
of terrorism is the same as ours." As desperate Gazans
pleaded for rescue and the UN and International Committee
of the Red Cross warned that food and medicines were
within days of running out, Frattini told assembled
Israeli officials: "For too long, we ignored Israel's
fears and legitimate concerns about terror, fanaticism and
the refusal of key groups in the Arab camp to come to
terms with Israel's existence, let alone its legitimacy."

Frattini's comments apparently denying the illegality of
Israeli actions directly contradict those of other senior
EU officials. The 27-nation union's External Relations
Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner went on record that
she is "against this collective punishment of the people
of Gaza." (Yossi Lempkowicz, "EU Commissioner: 'I am
against collective punishment of Gaza,'" European Jewish
Press, 21 January 2008.)

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The top EU foreign policy official, Javier Solana, agreed
with Ferrero-Waldner. In a written statement responding to
questions posed by The Electronic Intifada, Solana's
spokesperson affirmed that "as expressed by Mrs
Ferrero-Waldner, Mr. Solana agrees with the use of the
term 'collective punishment' to describe Israel's
actions." However, Solana's office refused to comment on
the substance of Frattini's remarks or whether they
represented an official EU position.

Other international officials, incuding John Dugard, the
UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories, have in recent days affirmed that
Israel's actions, including the killing and wounding of
dozens of civilians, and the blockade, constitute serious
violations of international law.

The Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs Israel's
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, states that
"To the fullest extent of the means available to it the
Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and
medical supplies of the population; it should, in
particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical
stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied
territory are inadequate."

The Convention also states that no person under occupation
"may be punished for an offence he or she has not
personally committed" and that "Collective penalties and
likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism" by
the Occupying Power "are prohibited."

Numerous Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have publicly
announced their satisfaction that their orders have harmed
the civilian population (See Ali Abunimah, "Where does it
end?" The Electronic Intifada, 21 January 2008.)

The decision of the EU to allow an official with as high a
rank as Frattini to speak in Israel in this manner in the
midst of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza may be intended
to send a signal of tacit EU support for Israel's actions
against Gaza despite words of criticism from other
officials.

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is
author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the
Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (Metropolitan Books, 2006). 

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