Jerusalem; The PLO and Hamas web sites have worked over time in the last few days, proclaiming that Philadelphia Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Rabbi Shai Gluskin had organized a fast day on Thursday (see www. FastforGaza.net) to protest what Rabbis Waskow and Gluskin describe the Israeli “blockade” of Gaza, with claims that Israel is not allowing food and humanitarian supplies into Gaza.
The only fly in the ointment is that there is no Israeli “blockade” of Gaza. What is going on is that Israel restricts munitions and building material into Gaza that could be used for the war effort against Israel.
Only two weeks ago, Palestinian and Israeli business people gathered for a meeting of the Israeli Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, with the report that Israel now exports two billion shekels of products to Gaza and thirteen billion shekels worth of products to Palestinians who live in Judea and Samaria on the west bank.
Last week, more than a dozen reporters visited the Sufa Trade junction where Israeli products of all kinds are shipped into Gaza. Some of the items were luxury items – like 10,000 bottles of Head and Shoulders Shampoo, along with every food product and medical supplies imaginable.
Yet the Palestinian information machine grinds out daily reports of deprivation and hunger in Gaza, ascribing it to Israel’s “blockade”, with stories that Israel simply does not allow food and medical supplies into Gaza to feed the 1.2 million residents of Gaza, half of whom dwell in UN refugee camps for more than 60 years. under the premise and promise of the “right of return” to their villages that they lost in the 1948 war in southern Israel – making them the only refugee population that the UN refuses to resettle.
Rabbi Waskow was asked to respond to the fact that no blockade exists, but would not return the phone call. Reached at his home, Rabbi Gluskin said that he was too busy to respond to the question as to where it was that he had heard of an Israeli “blockade” of humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
Yet Rabbi Waskow and Rabbi Gluskin have managed to recruit 55 Rabbis from around the United States to join them in a fast to protest an action which Israel is not taking against the Palestinian population.
It will be instructive to see how many of these 55 Rabbis show up at the Sufa junction to observe the daily routine of Israeli trucks delivering food and medical supplies to GAza.