March 2010 Postcard

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We are very proud that the U.S. government and private citizens are doing so much to help Haiti recover from the 7.0 magnitude eathquake that struck on Jan. 12. Americans are at their best when they show generosity and concern for other nations facing disaster.

That is why I cannot understand why my government supported Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza last winter which killed more than 1,400 and wounded 5,300 people. Why have we condoned Israel’s illegal blockade on 1.5 million Palestinians? Why is Israel even now—without a word of protest from my government—preventing medical aid, clean water, food and building supplies from reaching Palestinians whose homes and lives were destroyed by a man-made disaster more than a year ago?

It’s surprising that Israel has sent help to Haiti while it ignores the mass casualties its blockade and attacks have inflicted on its next-door-neighbors in Gaza.

altWorkers sift through the rubble of the American School on Dec. 15, 2009, a year after it was destroyed during Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)YOU’VE PROBABLY heard, thanks to Israel’s effective PR campaign, that two jumbo jets landed in Haiti on Jan. 15, carrying an Israeli army search-and-rescue team as well as 40 doctors and 24 nurses, who set up a badly needed field hospital. “Of course, we have special expertise to deal with events of mass casualties,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Shahar Arieli tastelessly added. “Unfortunately we have that expertise because of the terror events that we suffered from.”

You may not have heard that Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank also collected donations and financial support for victims in Haiti. Jamal Al Khudary, head of the Committee to Break the Siege, said Palestinians and Haitians have a special bond: “We feel for them the most because we were exposed to our own earthquake during Israel’s war on Gaza.”