Just yesterday, Israeli authorities seized seven oxygen machines en route to already under-equipped Palestinian hospitals. Although the machines were donated by a credible Norwegian development agency, Israel claims that the oxygen machines would have been used for non-health related purposes.
In case you haven’t already met, allow me to introduce you to Israeli paranoia.
In Israel, the general consensus is that everything is either anti-Semitic or capable of striking densely populated Israeli cities. That explains why chocolate, potato chips, size A4 paper, and nylon nets are all prohibited from reaching the Gaza Strip population. But I fail to see how internationally-sponsored oxygen machines being sent to Palestinian hospitals pose any type of threat to Israel.
During Israel’s offensive of the Gaza Strip in December 2008, at least three major Palestinian hospitals were damaged or rendered dysfunctional by persistent air and land shelling. Many others are struggling to operate under Israel’s suffocating blockade. The lack of working equipment makes it difficult for doctors to treat the influx of Palestinians suffering from an illegal and oppressive occupation. These oxygen machines are necessary. Although they won’t put an end to the occupation, the machines can at least be used to save Palestinian lives.
But maybe that’s why Israel isn’t allowing the machines to reach Palestinian hospitals. Maybe Israel considers each and every healthy Palestinian a security risk. After all, a frail Palestinian woman lying in a rickety hospital bed in desperate need of oxygen and bandages can’t possibly stand up to Israeli oppression.
Israeli paranoia at its finest.