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Carter Speaks the Truth on Palestine

Posted by terres on June 19, 2009

Palestinians are being “treated more like animals than human beings” —former U.S. president Jimmy Carter

On his visit to Gaza Strip , Carter condemned Israel’s January bombardment of the enclave and its continuing blockade of trade and humanitarian aid.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gestures during his visit to the American International School in the northern Gaza Strip June 16, 2009. Isreali forces destroyed the school in prolonged bombardment of the area, killing 1,417 Gazans and injuring many more. Carter arrived in Gaza on Tuesday for a one-day visit. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA POLITICS CONFLICT)

“I understand that even paper and crayons are treated as a security hazard,” he told Gazans gathered to meet him at a local UN office. “I sought an explanation of this when I met with Israeli officials and I received none, because there is no explanation.”

“Carter, 84 …  is easily the most outspoken former U.S. president on the Middle East conflict, and seen by many Israelis as a harsh critic.” Reuters reported.

“Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza in 2007 when Hamas took control after routing rival Fatah forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, who favours a peace deal with Israel. In late December, Israeli forces bombed then invaded Gaza, devastating its already battered infrastructure.”

Israel has blocked imports of cement, steel and other building materials and goods to Gaza, literally holding its 1.5 million Palestinian population at a ransom,  saying that the items could be used for military purposes.

Carter toured the devastated area for himself, witnessing that virtually no reconstruction in Gaza had  taken place since the January Israeli bombings.

“Never before in history has a large community like this been savaged by bombs and missiles and then been deprived of the means to repair itself,” he said.

Fahad Rajabe, a 16 year-old Palestinian who sells bread, passes bread to a friend through a hole in the controversial Israeli barrier in al-Ram in the West Bank on the outskirts of Jerusalem June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri. Image may be subject to copyright.

Carter denounced the situation as “a terrible human rights crime,” adding that the blockade forced Gazans to rely on smugglers for their daily needs.

“This abuse must cease. The crimes must be investigated. The wall must be brought down, and the basic right of freedom must come to you,” he said at a United Nations school during a visit to Gaza.

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