Daily Archives: March 22, 2011
GAZA CITY, March 22, 2-11 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Cherry tomatoes grown by farmers in Gaza can now compete with settlement produce on European supermarket shelves, Ma’an News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The Gaza Strip has exported cherry tomatoes since the 1980s, said Jamal Abu An-Naja, who manages the export of vegetables and flowers from southern Gaza.
But under Israel’s blockade, Gaza’s export market collapsed. Israel’s military has maintained complete control over the enclave’s airspace and coast since 1967, so merchants cannot transport their goods by sea or air from the Gaza Strip. When Israel closed the land crossings in 2007, Gaza traders and farmers could no longer access lucrative markets abroad.
Under a Dutch-funded program, Israel agreed to allow the limited export of agricultural produce to Europe.
An-Naja told Ma’an that 10 farmers took the risk this year of growing flowers and vegetables on around 25 dunums in the Gaza Strip, in the hope that Israel would allow them to export the harvest. Much of the produce rotted as farmers waited for permits from Israeli authorities to transport the goods across the border and into Europe.
Growing tomatoes on one dunum of land costs around $3000, An-Naja said, adding that the Dutch government helped to finance the farmers.
Gaza farmers are keen to export to Europe, where one kilo of cherry tomatoes sells for between $1 – $2.5. In Gaza markets, it sells for around 2 shekels ($0.50). (*)
As reported by CHINA DAILY on Tuesday, fifty-eight percent say Britain is wrong to intervene in the civil war while only 30 percent say it does have the right, the poll conducted by Metro revealed.
Metro is one of the biggest newspapers in the UK. Every weekday morning some 1.3 million free copies are distributed across the country.
The survey polled 1,596 British urbanites and found that more than half (55 percent) said it would not be in Britain’s interests to use force against the Libya government compared with 29 percent who say it would.
Oliver Blears, a 21-year-old student from the University of Nottingham, told China Daily that the US, Britain and France’s military action against Libya is premature. The Arab League should be the only power to grant the use of military action, not the UN, Blears said.
Instead, blanket economic sanctions and embargos such as the ban on all Libyan oil exports would have been a preferred reaction, Blears added.
However, younger people are more likely to say Britain should take action against Libya, with 37 percent of people aged 18-24 backing intervention. The figure drops to 30 percent of people aged 25-34 and 26 percent of people aged 35-44.
Most of the respondents believe there are circumstances when it is legitimate for British troops to bring down a foreign government. Fifty-six percent think it is legitimate if there are clear human rights abuses, while only 11 percent believe it is never legitimate.
About 53 percent say it should be done when the UN requests military support, and 31 percent agree when allies request support. Just 18 percent say Britain should intervene when its financial interests are threatened.
British Tornado fighters, transporters and spy-planes joined US Stealth Bombers and French Mirage jets into action to stop Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s forces attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi, and to reinforce a UN no-fly zone over the country.
There are particular concerns on the possible use of British ground troops and the doubts over the end game.
As the BBC reported, Downing Street has so far strenuously sought to dampen down any suggestion that there could be “boots on the grounds”, but it has carefully not ruled out the use of special forces.
Gary Li, a former researcher at the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, a leading think tank focusing on international security, told China Daily that the devastating air and sea attack is designed to destroy Gadhafi’s heavy weapon installations and tilt the balance of military power in favor of the rebels. At the same time, the military action will also aim to destroy the morale and confidence of pro-Gadhafi forces, Gary said.
He predicted that there is little possibility that the coalition forces will deploy ground troops in Libya.
“The US is struggling in two war bogs, Iraq and Afghanistan, so it is not possible that US will go into the third war. It can’t get enough political support. The UK and France both do not have enough forces to deploy ground troops in Libya,” Gary said. (*)
LIBYA (March 22, 2011 ) — The joint military action by the Western powers against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces is tantamount to an undeclared war against a sovereign nation, CHINA DAILY reported on Tuesday.
It runs against the principle of the UN Charter and relevant international norms that call for respect for the sovereignty, unification and territory integrity of an independent nation.
It is a typical example of the strong bullying the weak.
I am not a big fan of Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya for 41 years. He may be “a tyrant who is merciless” to his people, as claimed by the United States and its allies. He may have inflicted civilian casualties in his offensives against the rebels, as in the case of any civil war in any country. But this does not constitute a veritable excuse to invade and split a sovereign nation.
The unprovoked air strikes on the night of March 19 only served to escalate the situation in Libya and beyond, after Gadhafi said he would accept the UN Security Council resolution of a no-fly zone and abide by a cease-fire.
“High moral ground” does not justify the use of force against nations under so-called tyrants in today’s world. If the Western powers are bent on launching this “crusade of justice”, the list of targeted nations could go on forever.
No country could feel any sense of security.
The talk about Gadhafi’s committing “unspeakable atrocities” sounds similar to accusations against Saddam Hussein of developing weapons of mass destruction a few years ago. The world was fooled then, and tens of thousands of civilian lives were lost. Let us pray that tragedy will not befall Libya this time. (*)