Gaza Sanctions Exact an Unjust Toll on Civilians

Gaza Sanctions Exact an Unjust Toll on Civilians

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR 01/23/08
By Michael Shank

Regarding the Jan. 15 article “Fertilizer, frustration fuel Gaza’s rockets”: The article paid primary attention to fertilizer and little to frustration. This neglect appears not unusual as the humanitarian crisis emerging in Gaza seems to garner little international concern. Now that Gaza’s main power plant began shutting down last Sunday, frustration will only further fuel unrest.

Frustration is found in the fact that a majority of Gazans, roughly two-thirds, are feebly finding their way on $2 a day or less. Frustration finds fertile soil when nearly 75 percent of Gaza’s factories have closed their doors or function at an unprofitable 20 percent of capacity. Frustration mounts when unfettered travel is unfeasible and economic boycotts make import and export impossible.

That is frustration. That is what is fueling and fomenting the conflict. The objective of the economic boycott – fostered, in part, by the Americans – is to choke Gaza until she cries for mercy. This is hardly ethical policymaking.

As similar sanctions on Iraq fell hardest on civilians, so, too, will this boycott’s burden be felt by Gaza’s innocent. Not only do sanctions make military conflict more likely, they are invariably inhumane.

The world must focus its efforts to save Gaza, not starve it.

Michael Shank
Arlington, Va.

Government Relations Adviser, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University