In his Jan. 30 op-ed [“American Jews, Israel answer call to help Haiti”], Steven B. Nasatir [president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago] highlights the amazing efforts by Jews in America and Israel in the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and for this, I truly commend them. But this also makes me wonder, what about the humanitarian crisis in Palestine? Nasatir’s article mentions religious reasons for helping Haiti as Jews are called to “repair the world,” but in Gaza, Israel is doing the opposite.
Gaza has literally become an open-air prison, and while Israel has built a new hospital in Haiti, Palestinians are suffering from a lack of basic provisions on a daily basis.
Israel has also denied access to Gaza to other countries and nongovernmental organizations offering food, water, medical supplies and construction materials.
Checkpoints, which are intended for Israel’s security, violate Palestinians’ basic human rights by the denial of medical vehicles and services. This contrasts sharply with this story of Israel generously building a hospital in Haiti.
Maniza Azam, Chicago intern, Council on American-Islamic Relations