beginning of siege

/State terrorism/
/closure (FR)/
/destructions (FR)/

BEFORE August 2005

/check points/

April 2004

Entry Denied


Palestine Art





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GAZA under siege


Gaza 2005 - © CUP

For a long long time Gaza Strip has been used as a laboratory by israeli occupation forces, particularly since the beginning of 2nd intifada (September 2000). Thanks to the completion of extreme hermetization of all borders of Gaza Strip, israeli occupation forces could experiment there in total freedom and impunity all kinds of destruction strategies (contrary to international law), which they later exported further and applied on other lands. The main experiments being:

  1. closure / confinement
  2. land grab, resources stealing
  3. fragmentation / bantustanization
  4. economical dependency
  5. blockade
  6. terror
  7. destruction of all infrastructures
  8. media manipulation


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closure / confinement

mur AbuDis - 2005 - © CUP

The wall currently in construction in the West Bank has already been tested in Gaza before. The total control over all borders of Gaza has been implemented a long time ago and the strenghtening and hermetization of these borders have been constantly adorned with:

  • noman’s lands (large areas of cultivated or inhabited land completely razed under security pretexts and seized regardless of international law (4th Geneva Conventions);
  • higher and higher walls: along the border (Rafah 2004) as well as inside the Gaza Strip, as for instance the 6m high wall of Khan Yunis separating Palestinians from israeli settlers ; a wall with watchtowers from where israeli soldiers had fun shooting at anything/anyone moving in sight.

This wall of Khan Yunis was the exact prototype of the wall that the State of Israel is building now in West Bank regardless of the decisions of the International Court of Justice of The Hague.Wall which will soon completely surround Palestinians from West Bank as their Gazan compatriots are since quite a long time. In parallell to this fast advancing wall, the construction of high-tech more and more inhuman checkpoints is progressing at high speed (today more than 650 checkpoints!) setting the future locks of the soon to come world's largest open-air prison of West Bank - all this provoking nothing but raw indifference from the rest of the world.

In addition to the 9'850 Palestinian prisoners arbitrarily and illegaly held today in israeli jails and detention camps, at term the whole Palestinian population will be totally locked behind walls (3.5 milion persons, among which 1.4 milion ARE already imprisoned in Gaza), walls with watchtowers, ultra-sopphisticated alarm systems, frequent military patrols, and so on and on. The confinement of an entire people under security pretexts, doesn't it awaken some sinister memories in the consciences?

> "New Report on East Jerusalem and the Wall" - PHR - 14-12-05


Land grab, resources stealing

apartheid - Gaza nord 2005 - © CUP

Weilding fallacious security pretexts, the State of Israel is continually annexing new territories, carefully choosing land not only to enlarge its own territory, but as well according to water resources.

In Gaza before their evacuation the settlers had the right to pump from the water table without limitation to maintain their green lawns and extensive cultures of water-greedy fruits and vegetables. While helpless Palestinians watched israeli bulldozers destroying their wells, and it was strictly forbidden to rebuild them or dig new wells. Furthermore the occupying power cynically was selling Gaza water to Palestinians at a much higher price than the ridiculous fare paid by israeli settlers. Moreover a large amount of the pumped water was redirected into Israel to fulfill extensive agriculture's needs.


> " World Water Forum: Water is a weapon used against Palestinians by their Israeli Occupiers" - IMEMC 26/03/06

Not only did settlers over-pump the Gaza underground water table (one settlers consumes 5 times more water than a Palestinian, and pays it 4 times less!), provoking a strong increase of salinity turning it into not drinking water in many areas of Gaza Strip; and leaving it highly polluted.

> "The Settlers are Gone, the Polluted Water Remains" - Amira Hass 09-09-05

This land grab strategy stealing the richest lands is currently at work in West Bank. We only need to compare the map of water resources to the one of the wall route, to be aware of the interest behind annexation of more land (inside '67 borders), and it clearly shows as well to which extent colonization has always been planned according to highly strategical aims.

Land grab is not only applied to Palestine. Israel has been occupying as well Golan Heights and Sheba Farms since 1967. And current offensive on Lebanon doesn't aim only at eradicatation of Hezbollah, but wants as well at term the annexation of South Lebanon untill the river Litani, which waters has been coveted by Israel since its creation.

Not only is colonization lasting since a too long time, but it is constantly encouraged (reduced taxes, free infrastructures and other substantial benefits offered by the State of israel to its dear settlers) and not a single so-called civilized nation is saying anything. That is one of the biggest scandals of our times and it shows the disgusting inequity at stake when it comes to the respect of international law. For almost 60 years our governments have been accomplices of this creeping plague colonizing and destroying Palestine, because they always refused and still refuse to denounce and sanction it. (see map of the colonies in 2002)

> "Police probe building of West Bank settlement neighborhood" - Akiva Eldar 01-01-06

> "Israeli Sewage dumped in Brukin village" - IMEMC 25-06-06

> "Israel's Ecological Devastation of Palestine and Lebanon: Eco-War" - Mark Lynas 15-08-06


Fragmentation/ bantustanization

mur Mawasi - 2005 - © CUP

Before "disengagement" of settlers in Gaza Strip, Palestinians were cut from the outside world by over-guarded borders. Moreover their territory was fragmented by bypass roads linking the colonies to Israel, protected by checkpoints where they crossed Palestinian roads. These chekpoints were very often closed to Palestinian transit, sometimes even for very long periods (4 days in 2002 when we were there...); making quiteimpossible the journeys inside this tiny territory of Gaza Strip (40km from North to South).

This territorial breaking up strongly fragmented the entire society, already in a precarious situation due to its hyper-dependent economy. Social fragmentation nurtured a certain radicalization of society (beforehand more open and free), a strenghtening of traditional values (tribal and islamic) and the emergence of armed groups (more or less maffiosi) rivalling for power (see the security chaos of April 2006)

This social fragmentation more or less successful in the Gaza Strip is currently applied at a larger scale in West Bank, where the construction of the wall aims at breaking up Palestinian areas into bantustans, disconnected from each other or easily "disconnectable" by a clever network of tunnels, portals, gates and hyper-tight checkpoints under total control of israeli army (see map).

This strategy at work in West Bank and Gaza is meant to break all social links, break solidarity and create internal rivalries, in the hope to break the resistance of the entire Palestinian people. But the opposite happens: in front of this destructive machinery links are tightened, social cohesion and determination to resist are increasing.

> maps of the wall

> "Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Completely Isolate the Northern West Bank from the South" - PCHR 25-04-06

> "The battle for the capital" - Danny Rubinstein 06-04-06


economical dependency

Gaza 2005 ©CUPFrom the control of goods entering and exiting Gaza, follows of course a total control over the economy of Gaza Strip. The local economy prevented from developping itself, for several decades Palestinian from Gaza and West Bank have been forced too seek a job in Israel. Work that all Gazans have lost nowadays because of the long-time closure of Eretz checkpoint (the only passage for persons). The majority of refugee camps inhabitants (around 900'000 in Gaza Strip) are used to the dependency on humanitarian aid (through UNRWA) since 1948; but now it's the entire population which has become the slave of external generosity.

Since February 2006 (6 month up till today!) added to the total state of siege, the Gaza Strip is subject to tha latest israeli invention regarding blockade, invention fully backed by international community: the freeze of any money transfer towards Palestinian government, yet democratically elected.

This bank blockade heavily penalizes state employees (previously favorised), and now the whole Palestinian society has to endure a very precarious situation. All this strategiy aims at breaking the spirit of resistance of Palestinians and urge them to rebel against their own government.

> "Palestinian workers in Israel" - Medea 06-04

The same strategy is as well at stake in West Bank since the beginning of 2nd intifada, numerous hindrances to the circulation of goods and persons dues to the wall and its innumerable more and more inhuman checkpoints. the result being that many farms, factories and firms from West Bank are facing enormous financial losses, or even bankruptcy. The culture of olives for instance has been a tradition in West Bank for centuries, and is the only source of income for many families. Nowadays the olive production decreased a lot, because many farmers cannot access their land anymore (apartheid wall) or only under very strict conditions (authorization rarely delivered, closed gates, and so on); moreover they cannot transport their goods outside their area because of checkpoints and barred roads knowingly preventing Palestinians to sell their goods: one can find israeli tomatoes on the market stalls of Ramallah while Palestinian farmers cannot sell their own productin of tomatoes... (Financial losses in the agricultural field since beginning of intifada: 1,6 bilion US$).

The scope is to make impossible any normal development of palestinian economy, reduced into a state of total dependency, repetition of a well-known scenario already effective in Gaza...

> " Anatomy of the West Bank "Realignment" Plan" - David Bloom 23-06-06


Blockade / siege

The current blockade of Gaza Strip serves as a model for West Bank. Obviously the planning of the wall's construction anticipated all details necessary to lock in the population inside a huge open-air prison, like in Gaza.Eretz passage inhumain - gaza 2005 ©CUP All the necessary prison infrastructures (walls, watchtowers, military patrols, checkpoints, gates, locks, etc) are being build at a frightening pace.

Soon it will be very easy for Israel to apply in West Bank exactly the same barbaric siege as the one currently suffocating Gaza Strip. And the world will look without flinching at this collective punishment, while repeating over and over "Israel has the right to defend itself"... 3.5 milion Palestinienas are confined, humiliated, starving and bombed for security reasons: it won't shock anyone, it is already the fate of 1.4 milion persons in Gaza and the world remains silent.

> "PCHR Warns of a Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip" - PCHR 02-07-06


Terror and non-conventional weapons

The use of cluster-bombs, white phosphorus bombs, sonic boom air raids, as they are currently described about Lebanon war, have been tested at large scale since many years on the civilian population of Gaza Strip, with a major intensity since settlers withdrawal (previously explosions could bother the settlers...)

The aim of course is to terrorize the population (among which a large percentage already suffers from extremely severe traumas) and the result probably looked convincing to the israeli army as they decided to use it with the same intensity population civile ciblée - Gaza 2005 ©CUPon civilian population in Lebanon as well (up till today: 900 deads, thousands of casualties, hundreds of thousands of displaced people), provoking not even the shadow of a reaction in western governments... The difference between Lebanon and Gaza: in Lebanon civilians are not parked inside bantoustans and they could flee 'en masse' the targeted and bombed areas; while in Gaza flight is impossible, Gaza civilians have nowhere to go to...

War against terrorism is mistaking target: the worst ravages are caused in the first place by terrorist States, Israel is one of them. State terrorism remaining unfortunately still unpunished; when will there be an international court equipped with universal legal means to judge war crimes? When will there be an entity equipped with real powers to enforce UN resolutions and international law?

> "Are New Weapons Being Used in Gaza and Lebanon?" -
David Halpin14-08-06

> "Targeting Gaza’s Children with Sound Bombs" - Mike Whitney 07-05-06

> "we dropped more than a million cluster bombs on Lebanon" - Saed Bannoura 13-09-06


Destruction of all infrastructures

The destruction of all civilian infrastructures and official buildings is a speciality of israeli army. Since the very beginning of 2nd intifada (2001-2002) Centrale électrique Gaza 2005 ©CUPbombings have partially or completely destroyed the airport, police compounds, Arafat villa, and so on and on (the list is too long) in Gaza Strip; while in West Bank regiments of israeli soldiers occupied various Palestinian ministries sacking and spoiling everything on their way, destroying important archives and data precious for the entire population (Moqataa, palestinian ministry of Education in 2002, and so on).


On 28 June 2006, Israel started a new large scale offensive against Gaza, pretexting the liberation of a captured soldier ("kidnapped" would say the propagandists as if he were a civilian), devastating in a few days numerous civilian infrastructures in Gaza Strip: bridges, roads, electric power stations, ministries, and so on, depriving the population from electricity and tap water, taking in hostage several members of Parliament (democratically elected), spreading terror and death among the Palestinian civilian population already besieged since months.

> "Israel's new Middle East" - Tanya Reinhart

> "Reprisals against Civilians" - PCHR report
25-06-06 / 31-07-06

The same strategy was then repeated a few weeks later in Lebanon (from 12 July 2006 on): under similar pretext of 2 captured soldiers, israeli army completed in short time the total destruction of all civilian infrastructures of the country, the land and sea blockade, adding to it heavy bombings on innocent civilians, hindrances to fleeing civilians and emergency staff, use of prohibited unconventional weapons (white phosphorus bombs...), and so on. while lebanese civilians were not at all responsible for the capture of these 2 soldiers (even though one could justify an attack of such an extent and intensity for such a small pretext...)

Gaza June 2006 – Lebanon July 2006: same tactics, same monstruous efficiency, same "collateral damages" (meaning: deaths and casualties inflicted upon innocent civilians)
Who will pay the bill? Up till today international community has cowardly been paying the bills for israeli destructions and warcrimes...

> "When the skys rain death - Azmi Bishara 04-08-06



Media Manipulation

In the media, Israel is imposing as well his own lexicon, a complete vocabulary at his advantage. Gaza "withdrawal" for instance is the most flagrant successful media bluff, while cameras were focussing on the sufferings of poor settlers uprooted from Gaza by force (with relocation and financial compensations...), at the same time colonization in West Bank progressed very quickly. Yet Israel succeeded in making the world believe that those 8'000 settlers evacuated represented a huge sacrifice, a gift to the Palestinians; whereas they represent only 3% of the total amouns of israeli settlers!! (nowadays 450'000 in West Bank)

Likewise the word "disengagement" gives the illusion of the end of occupation in Gaza, when the opposite is happening! Hermetic and total control of all borders of Gaza Strip by israeli army; total control on everyday life of gazans imposed by Israel (all official documents, ID cards, birth certificates, and so on, are issued by the State of Israel...); are the obvious marks of a hidden but still implacable and real occupation.

Words are flexible and Israel conceals the extent of its own barbary behind "light" words (low on calories), and succeeds in imposing them to the world. A few examples:

  • media pretend that the soldiers were "kidnapped" (as if they were mere civilians) when in reality they were "captured" to be exchanged against the liberation of a few among the 9'850 Palestinians (a majority of civilians; many children) illegally detained in israeli prisons - and thus "kidnapped" by israeli forces!
  • news agencies repeat over and over that "Israel has the right to defend itself" while it hasn't even been attacked and Israel is the attacker itself! The capture of one soldier in Gaza and two in South Lebanon were not done on Israeli territory and civilians from Gaza and Lebanon are in no way responsible for these captures.
  • we often hear about "raining rockets on Sderot (or Haifa)"
    but we never hear it's "raining cluster- (or phosphorus) bombs on Rafah (or Qanaa)"
  • "collateral damages" mean death and casualties inflicted upon innocent civilians
    is there a word to describe "collateral damages" provoked by prohibited weapons (cluster-bombs, white phosphorus,...)? should we describe them as "decorative" or "perfumed collateral damages"?
  • Palestinians (even children) are systematically described as "armed militants" while israeli soldiers are human beings with emotions...
  • surrounded israeli tanks become "poor defenseless tanks"
  • and so on and on... the list is too long

Likewise the names given to military operations sound idyllic: "summer rain", "rainbow", and so on... (meteorology is an inexhaustible fount of inspiration for "military poets"...)The top of cynicism is reached when the whole world swallows these words without thinking, untill some uncontrolled images unfortunately contradict the words... (Qanaa massacre on July 30, 2006: 58 civilians killed among which 30 children)

Gaza 2005 - © CUP

The whole war terminology is revised and served to us by our journalists without any thought nor questioning.

It is our duty to rectify the meaning of words, to remind the media and our governments that their words and their silences have a weight and are evidences of the extent of their complicity.

Words are our weapons. The only weapons at our level. Let's use them!

> "The Gaza Disengagement and the Prospect of Further Human Rights Violations" - Ilan Pappe 16-08-05

>" A Glossary of Dispossession" - Paul de Rooij 05-01-06

> "Five Myths That Sanction Israel's War Crimes" - Jonathan Cook 26-07-06



-> Les règles de savoir-vivre lorsqu'il sagit du conflit Israelo-Arabe

on israeli media:
-> "When Napoleon Won at Waterloo" - Uri Avnery 03-09-06



In the meantime oppression is heavier and heavier and no condamnation is heard, no action taken. Our governments are responsible for their silence and passivity. Let's remind them of their duties.

How can humanity accept a whole people being confined, hungered, suffocated, bombed and massacred?
Is the life of a Palestinian worth less than the life of a laboratory rat?

We have to struggle against this scandalous impunity benefitting Israel since its founding; against its arrogance.
Demand summoning of its leaders in front of International Court of Justice!
Demand our governments to place sanctions on Israel for its blatant disregard of international law!
Let's boycott israeli products, divest from israeli companies and the ones supporting the criminal State of Israel (Caterpillar, Connex, and so on)



texts: mirouille - 7 August 2006
pictures:17th swiss civile mission - October 2005











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