Mohsen Abdelmoumen: All of humanity suffers from Covid 19. How do you explain the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people in Gaza who are deprived of everything and continue to suffer the criminal blockade of the Zionist entity of Israel?
Ziad Medoukh: Even if the situation is under control in the Gaza Strip, one year after the beginning of the epidemic in terms of the number of deaths-570 deaths- and the number of people infected with Covid-19- almost 12500 people- until mid-March 2021, compared to the occupied West Bank and Israel, but the economic and social consequences have been disastrous on more than two million people in this region under inhumane Israeli blockade for more than 14 years, a region forgotten by the rest of the world.
However, the worst part of this health crisis in the Gaza Strip was the continuation of the blockade by the Israeli military authorities, the continuation of Israeli aggressions against civilians and the complicit silence of the official international community which did nothing to help the Palestinians of Gaza to endure this unprecedented situation and to stop the suffering of these inhabitants who live in a region suffocated and choked by the atrocious measures taken by the Israeli occupation forces against the civilian population for 14 years in a region with a bankrupt health system, accentuated by the lack of medical staff, and the lack of medical equipment due to the blockade and the closure of the passages.
The Gaza Strip has only 55 intensive care beds and 50 resuscitation machines in all the hospitals of this encircled region, because the Israeli occupation forces refuse the entry of medical equipment and spare parts for these machines, not to mention the lack of medical personnel; in addition to this, there are permanent electricity cuts and contaminated drinking water that is not fit for human consumption.
The Israeli army has strengthened its inhumane blockade on this abandoned region without taking into consideration the effects of this health crisis, it ‘prevents the entry of many goods and commodities into the Gaza Strip, except for some food and medical products, and it often suspends deliveries of fuel oil, fuel and gas.
And recently, with the prohibition by Israeli military order to bring Russian vaccines into the Gaza Strip, vaccines purchased by the Palestinian Authority that it ordered, in fact, only 2000 doses sent by Ramalah and following pressure from the WHO in late February 2021, were allowed to enter the enclave, this is outrageous, if we know the list of hundreds of products and materials that are prohibited to pass through this region under blockade.
In March 2020, and after the discovery of the first cases infected by the virus in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli authorities refused to allow the entry of testing kits and resuscitation beds in this region forgotten by the rest of the world.
One year later, and despite several preventive measures taken by local authorities to curb the spread of the virus in this region, such as quarantine centers, the state of emergency decreed for several months, the curfew imposed in the evening almost half of the year, the prohibition of movement between cities, and the total closure of markets and public places, and despite the sense of responsibility of the inhabitants who have respected these measures, even very strict ones, and who have applied to the letter the sanitary instructions which have locked up the civilian population with the double confinement, however, the situation is still worrying in a very narrow and populated region with buildings that are next to each other, and with a sanitary system that is totally bankrupt, and which suffers from Israeli aggressions on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, in this particular context marked by the blockade and the lack of means, it is difficult to control everything. This has increased the suffering of the majority of the inhabitants of this isolated enclave and has increased their financial burdens.
The economic situation is in complete deterioration, commercial life is paralyzed, and the economic losses are very heavy, estimated at tens of millions of euros. All economic and commercial sectors in the Palestinian enclave have experienced a significant decline: their production capacity has decreased by 90% in the last year due to the low purchasing power of the inhabitants, who are limited to the basic necessities.
Double containment for the people of Gaza is not new, however, in this context, and during this humanitarian crisis, the suffering is beyond limits.
A remarkable aspect is the family and social solidarity, the neighbors help each other a lot to provide water, or recharge the lamps for the others when the power comes back.
Fear, anxiety, and isolation are the psychological effects of this catastrophic situation on an entire abandoned civilian population.
The continuation of this Covid-19 crisis in 2021 without a radical solution will undoubtedly increase the hardships for these Palestinians who are already suffering from an inhumane Israeli blockade and continued Israeli aggression against civilians in Gaza.
But in the face of this injustice, in the face of such suffering, we remain powerless, we have no choice but to endure and resist while waiting for a change.
The feeling of confinement and isolation is a terrible feeling! And the Palestinians of Gaza are in the best position to feel this feeling, as they have been locked up in their open-air prison for several years.
It is true that these resourceful Palestinians of Gaza impress the world with their extraordinary ability to adapt to this new devastating economic, health and social crisis, and to bear the unbearable, through a remarkable family and social solidarity and strong social ties, with limited international aid.
The civilian population fights daily to survive with dignity on their land by resisting and existing.
Yes, Palestinians in Gaza are simply trying to live as normal a life as possible under extremely abnormal conditions.
Why the silence of the world on the extremely harsh living conditions of the Gazan people under Covid 19?
This silence of the official world still encourages the Israeli occupation to continue its aggressive policy against the Palestinians.
What aggravates our suffering is the complicit silence of the official world, maintained by the media and the total indifference of the human rights organizations that fail to condemn this ignominy.
Even the humanitarian associations do not manage to put pressure on this occupation to allow the entry of vaccines and medical equipment into the isolated enclave.
There is a lack of political will and courage among many international leaders to say no to the occupation, injustice and Israeli apartheid.
Why does the Zionist entity of Israel enjoy total impunity for the crimes it has committed and continues to commit against the Palestinian people?
This illegal entity enjoys the support of the United States, the rest of the world, and no sanctions against it by international organizations that do not even manage to denounce the atrocious measures of the occupation against the Palestinians in all areas. Since 1948 no international decision has been applied against this illegal state.
This total impunity encourages the Israeli army to commit crimes against the Palestinian people. Since the whole world has become a spectator.
In your opinion, aren’t the Palestinian people subjected to a real Apartheid policy by the Zionist entity of Israel?
Of course, apartheid in all areas, the citizens of 1948 do not have the same rights as Israeli citizens, and we saw during the vaccination of Palestinian workers who did not receive their doses of vaccines.
An occupation that continues its policy of health apartheid implemented, by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Palestinian citizens of 1948 territories, considered second-class citizens
And during this exceptional period, the Israeli army has continued its inhumane measures towards the Palestinian workers, these workers humiliated at the checkpoints of the occupier. And when they are infected, they are thrown in a barbaric way for hours on the road before Palestinian ambulance drivers come to pick them up and take them to Palestinian hospitals or quarantine centers.
Why is it that every time someone expresses anti-Zionist positions, they are accused of being anti-Semitic?
It is true that there is a feeling of guilt in the world after the terrible massacres during the Second World War, not to mention the role played by the Israeli lobby in the world, and the pressure and the threats, a feeling of self-censorship, they are afraid of being treated as anti-Semites when they denounce the occupation, the colonization and the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
Does the Zionist lobby still have the same influence in American politics, and why?
The Zionist lobby exists all over the world, not only in the USA, it controls many of the major media, social networks, the world economy, it directs international politics, including in some Arab countries.
It is this lobby that supports the occupation and influences international politics, it threatens politicians and supporters who show their support for the Palestinian cause.
There are more and more protest movements from the West, such as BDS, which reject Israel’s apartheid policy. How do you explain that Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Morocco, etc. normalize their relations with the Zionist entity of Israel?
BDS is an international citizen’s movement to be welcomed
The Arab leaders who chose to normalize their relations with the occupation were pressured by Trump and his administration, they were threatened, their power was in danger. They preferred their economic interests.
But we still have confidence in the courageous Arab population that refuses this gratuitous normalization, and that continues to support the Palestinians in their struggle.
Benyamin Netanyahu is a notorious racist, as is Israeli society. This has not prevented Israel from establishing itself permanently in Africa. How do you explain this? Haven’t African leaders who submit to Israel lost all dignity like some Arab leaders?
Yes, this Zionist entity is established all over the world, the fault of the Palestinians by their division and the Arab countries who abandoned these poor African countries which were a great support to the Palestinian cause.
When some African countries see that the Palestinians are divided, that Arab leaders normalize their relations with this illegal state, and that the Israelis offer aid to get these countries out of their crisis, they run after it, even if many African countries resist this Israeli manipulation and American and international pressure, and continue to support the Palestinian people.
The particular political context, with the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and some Arab countries, contributes to the increased isolation of the Palestinians, and in particular the Palestinians in Gaza.
How do you explain the fact that Benyamin Netanyahu, although racist, corrupt and involved in several shady affairs, is re-elected every time?
Israeli society has been moving towards the extreme right for decades, and the Israeli population always chooses the hawks in power, like Netanyahu and Liberman, it’s terrible, the Israeli pacifists are becoming a minority, and the fascists and corrupt are in power to run this illegal entity.
What is your analysis of the « deal of the century »?
Despite the economic promises of the outgoing president Trump to some Arab and regional countries on the one hand, and despite the threats and pressures on other countries on the other hand, the « deal of the century » was a great failure for the Trump administration, because this plan neglects the demands of the Palestinian people, one cannot impose a peace plan in the region without consultation with the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian leadership and all the Palestinian people have rejected this suspicious plan that promotes occupation and colonization. As they have already rejected all previous plans such as the recent Israeli plan to annex a large part of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, and the official normalization of four Arab countries with the Israeli occupation.
Why does the Zionist entity of Israel persist in its criminal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza? What do you think is the ultimate goal of this inhumane treatment?
The real Israeli objective of this aggressive and criminal policy against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip is to put pressure on the Palestinian resistance in all its forms, to crush the popular will of this population which decided to stay and to wait despite the Israeli crimes, and despite a very difficult economic, social and health situation.
We can say that no Israeli objective of this collective punishment has been achieved, our dignified population is still standing.
Is not the just cause of the Palestinian people a cause that concerns all humanity?
Yes, it is a cause of justice, the international solidarity strengthens day after day all over the world, despite the complicit silence of this official world and the negative role of many media that hide our terrible reality, but the solidarity, their actions, their mobilization as the boycott of Israeli products, and the demonstrations show that our just cause concerning all humanity.
In your opinion, how can the Palestinian people regain their rights? Shouldn’t the Palestinian resistance movements find a new lease of life to drive the occupier out of their lands as the Algerian people did in the face of French colonialism?
The lack of national unity and the failure of inter-Palestinian reconciliation efforts have added to the bitterness of the people of the Gaza Strip, who have been waiting for years for this national reconciliation to improve their living conditions and end their suffering.
Yes, the Palestinian people, its leadership, and its different parties and factions should unite their efforts to achieve Palestinian national unity, they must continue the struggle on the ground, and carry out an international diplomatic offensive to get wider support for the rights and demands of the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must choose one form of resistance to face the atrocious measures of the occupation, they must return to the people to realize their hopes.
Algeria refuses any normalization with the Zionist entity of Israel. What does Algeria mean to you?
The Algerian people are a people of great solidarity with Palestine and this since the independence of this country considered as a great support to the Palestinian people
Algeria is the only Arab country whose government and people support the Palestinian cause. It is a country that refuses normalization with the Israeli occupation, it is an unwavering support to Palestine.
This position has not changed despite all the events in Algeria and despite international pressure.
The Palestinian cause is sacred for the Algerian people, supporting Palestine for the Algerian people is not only a question of dignity and justice, it is a question of life.
For us Palestinians, Algeria is a light, even if it is far away, which illuminates the darkness of oppression, it is a land of welcome, the Algerian people are a dignified, revolutionary and very courageous people.
Algerians often wave the Palestinian flag in demonstrations, in stadiums and in their homes.
The two peoples feel united by a common history, they have in common: struggle, freedom, resistance and dignity.
Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen
Who is Ziad Medoukh?
Professor of French at the University of Gaza. French-speaking poet and writer. Francophone researcher. Doctoral student in language sciences at the University of Paris 8 in France.
– Knight of the Order of Academic Palms of the French Republic by decision of the Prime Minister-2011
-Author of ten books and collections of poetry in France, Canada and Algeria
-Member of the scientific committee of several francophone conferences
Trainer for youth in the Gaza Strip
Visiting professor-researcher in several French universities
Published in American Herald Tribune March 24, 2021: https://ahtribune.ca/interview/4585-ziad-medoukh.html