It was an old, heavy, galvanized bucket. I remember it clearly. The man tried to resist arrest; several Israeli troops handled him roughly. The man was from Gaza and had a small boy with him – his son. As the military van sped quickly away, the child was left behind in the road wailing pitifully. The crime was stealing a bucket of Israeli water.
Water is a resource of nature. Like the land, the air and the seas it belongs to no-one. The water is not Israeli. It is mine and yours to share for the slaking of our thirst and for the enrichment of our communities. Gaza has no rivers, and its underground aquifer has not been adequate since 1967. In a conflict ridden zone such as Palestine, water is just another weapon.
The Israeli and Palestinian position is never presented to us clearly. News riddled with propagandist manipulation, secrets untold, deaths, murders and politics fudge the situation, but one thing is clear: the people living in Gaza are fenced in, denied everything but enough food to keep them just above malnutrition levels, and subject to ever changing sadistic laws which the Jewish population would find intolerable. In short Gazans are kept in a prison by the state of Israel, aided and abetted by the US and Europe.
Gaza holds roughly 2 million people and is 139 square miles in area. That is less than twice the size of Newport (in South Wales)– which has a population of 140,000. In this small scrap of rubble people are expected to live, work, farm, rear children and educate themselves. The children learn hardship and dislike of their neighbours, and each new generation grows to maturity in abject poverty, nursing revenge. The blockade of Gaza is a medieval siege. It prevents imports and exports, it prevents the rebuilding of demolished houses and infrastructure and the freedom of movement of all those living behind the Wall.
It is not about religion, nor about politics. It is about defending basic human rights. The citizens of Gaza deserve the thoughts of all free-thinking people, and my contribution to their plight is to draw attention to the moral decay of those who perpetuate this inhumanity.
Breaking this blockade is an act to support the rights of the human being. Few attempt it, few achieve it, and I, along with those brave fellows of the Viva Palestina Convoy will play my part in highlighting the injustice of the blockade by driving up to the gates of Rafah with my van packed full of medical aid and asking to be let in.
Donations towards humanitarian aid for Gaza can be made here http://southwales2gaza.blogspot.com/2010/08/donate-to-south-wales-to-gaza.html