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Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Radio Open Source: The Gaza Pull Out

Radio Open Source, hosted by Chris Lydon featured Laila El-Haddad, reporter for Al-Jazeerah and writer of the blog, Raising Yousuf, Amira Haas, Ha'aretz reporter, Deema Arafah, Physicians for Human Rights, and Nave Farhan, daughter of settler, Avi Farhan, who gained notoriety for stating that he'd like remain in Gaza under Palestinian sovereignity. Due to difficulties with phone lines, colonist Shlomo Wollins, did not speak.

I was reminded of a Sixty Minutes spot from at least thirty years ago that Mike Wallace did in which he interviewed Arab-Americans in Detroit. At that time it was very moving for me to see Arabs portrayed as human beings on western television.

Chris Lydon allowed Deemah, Amira, Laila, and Nave to speak.

When Laila was asked about the aftermath of the pull out, she mentioned that an Israeli drone was flying overhead as she spoke. She said that what was occurring was a mere "restructuring" of the occupation.

Deema added some hard facts mentioning the toll and continuing toll that Israeli occupation took on Gaza health care. She spoke about a "medical and humanitarian disaster unfolding [because' medical services [are] not available because of Israeli closure policies. [The] forced dependency on Israeli medical system [has led to problems]. Deema related that many medical services require one to apply for a permit from the Israelis, and that these permits are limited.

Amira Haas spoke about Omar, whose family has land in Gush Katif; during the last five years he and his family could not reach their own land. His pay for working on a settlement was one-third of the minimum wage; she stressed that relationships formed between Palestinian workers and their colonist employers were formed "out of obligation."

Lydon's program, refreshingly minus the usual spin on the illegal Israeli colonial movement, if heeded by US taxpayers, could go a long way toward furthering real understanding of Israel's occupation and ultimately lead to justice for the Palestinians. The Palestinian speakers affirmed that the pullout is not a "window of opportunity," merely occupation in a different form.

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