The Prison Camp and the Fascist State
“What it feels like to live here you ask? It’s like being a shadow of your own, caught on the ground, not being able to break out and you see yourself lying there, but you cannot fill the shadow with life”.
- The words of a 17 year-old Palestinian boy in an Israeli prison camp.Unlike any prison camp or Concentration Camp, Gaza is the largest, most crowded and inhumane “open air” prison camp on earth. For nearly a decade, the Camp has been under Israeli military siege. Periodically, the Camp comes under barbaric attacks by the Israeli army to terrorise the Palestinian population and instil fear in the Camp.There are some 1.7 million (Muslim and Christian) Palestinians crammed into the 1.40 square miles Camp. Most of the Palestinians (51% are younger than 18 years) are refugees who have been ethnically cleansed from their land by the Israeli fascist regime. The Camp is under Israeli military blockade from land, sea, and air. In addition to an electronic fence and remote-controlled guns mounted on Israeli watch towers around the camp, the Israeli army enforces a 300 to 500-meter-wide “no-go zone” or “buffer zone” inside the full length of the Camp. Palestinians cannot enter the zone, but the Israeli army is in-and-out of the zone as often as they like murdering Palestinians and destroying homes, schools water and sanitation facilities, sewage pumping station and agricultural crops.The entire population of the Camp is on the verge of starvation. Thanks to a vicious policy of collective punishment imposed by the Israeli fascist regime and unconditionally supported and financed by the U.S. and the European governments (EU) in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention The policy of “putting the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger” is criminal even by the Nazis’ standard. Some prominent Jews have likened the Camp to the Warsaw Ghetto under the Nazis. It is worse than a Concentration Camp under the Nazi; it is a normalised (in Western conscience) Concentration Camp.A recent report by the UN, Gaza in 2020, argues that the Camp will no longer be ‘a liveable place’ in 2020. Another report, Gaza’s Children: Falling Behind by the UK-based charities, Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians found that, “anaemia [a dietary iron deficiency] is widespread in the Camp, affecting over two-thirds of infants, 58.6 per cent of schoolchildren, and over a third of pregnant mothers”. In addition, more than ten per cent of Palestinian children under 5 have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the most serious consequences of anaemia, including “poor pregnancy outcome, impaired physical and cognitive development, increased risk of morbidity in children and reduced work productivity in adults. Anaemia contributes to 20 per cent of all maternal deaths”. As Anne McClintock, a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison writes; “Death by siege is like death by cancer; it is slow and invisible. Death by siege wreaks its havoc over generations. What is called “slow violence” is the “attrition devastation” of society that takes place gradually over time and space. “Slow violence may be less visible, less media-sensational but enacts a toll no less lethal and lasting for being slow and out of sight”. Like the policy of Nazi Germany, “Israel's policy is that of a monstrous sadist, a sadist who finds hideous pleasure in subjecting its victims to pain that lasts a lifetime … This is evil of an unusual kind, evil that delights in its own cruelty, evil that seeks no end other than the satisfaction of watching its victims suffer for years on end, with a glimmer of hope offered now and then -- but solely for the purpose of making the suffering to come even more painful”, writes Arthur Silber.
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