Cease Fire? Commence Protracted Suffering.

Aid agencies, including Save the Children and the Red Cross, are reporting that they are still being turned back at the Gazan border. The Israeli government is giving ambiguous reasons for the delay, and the reasons change daily. Sometimes they claim that it is still too dangerous to cross, other days the reason is that it is simply the wrong day, sometimes the aid agencies are not the ones that Israel wants to work with, and on other days Israel is unable to provide guides.

The situation in Gaza remains critical. Sewage is leaking into the region's aquifers, tens of thousands are still homeless, and food is not arriving with any regularity. The external aid is badly needed, and the agencies are ready to move in, but Israel is preventing them from getting to the desperate residents of Gaza.

Doctors and surgeons have stated that the types of wounds they are encountering are not consistent with anything they've seen before. They suspect that Israel used new weapons in this last round of fighting, although Israel claims that they only used weapons allowed under international law. One of these new types of wounds initially presents itself with the symptoms of appendicitis. But within hours tiny lesions that are too small to be repaired surgically develop in the organs. When the organs are opened the surgeons find dozens of miniature particles that are slicing their way through the patient's body. Most people die within 24 hours.

As if these problems of getting and moving aid to assist the civilians caught up in the fighting were not enough, BBC has recently refused to air ads from the Disasters Emergency Committee requesting money donations. BBC claims that the ads, which are solely focused on obtaining relief, would ruin its commitment to impartial reporting. This concern comes to the surprise of many, since the BBC has a long history of running aid ads after other conflicts. Originally other broadcasters in the United Kingdom followed the BBC's lead, but due to a public outcry, stations such as ITV and Channel 4 have agreed to run the ads.

Meanwhile, workers are busy rebuilding the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt that Israel destroyed. These tunnels are used to smuggle goods into Gaza. Hamas is thought to use the tunnels to import weapons, but they are also a conduit for badly needed food and sanitation supplies. Many of the workers digging the tunnels have no other option for employment. And without a reliable source of aid due to Israel's shutdown at the border, how else is Gaza going to get the basic necessities?

In fact, the only reliable source of assistance for Gazans will soon be Hamas, which has announced that it will begin distributing aid to residents. Hamas originally won the support of Gazans by bolstering failing schools and providing medical services. This new bout of rebuilding is sure to secure loyalty for the only organization that is visibly supporting the war torn region.

If Israel wanted to ensure that their conflict with Hamas stretches into eternity, they are going about it in the perfect way. And the rich Western countries are certainly helping, by making flimsy excuses about impartiality when people are dying, providing weapons that cause damage doctors can't fix, and blindly supporting Israel even when they are making as many mistakes as the U.S. did in invading Iraq.

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