Monique Buckner reports on Israel’s recent 8 day attack of the people of Gaza, who have now been besieged for over 2000 days.
The Palestinian people of Gaza have been devastated by Israel’s latest attack, which has killed 158 people, 33 of whom were children. Palestinians are still dying from injuries.
The Gaza Strip is an area of 141 square miles, occupied by Israel since 1967, along the Mediterranean coast bordering Israel and Egypt and comprising 8 refugee camps with 80% of its inhabitatnts being the refugees and their descendants of the ethnic cleansing of 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from what became Israel. More than half the 1.7 million population of Gaza are children. Gaza has been under a relentless blockade since June 2007, which many legal experts have deemed ‘collective punishment’ which is illegal under international law. As UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk has described the blockade as a crime against humanity and a violation of international humanitarian law. Living under blockade, Gaza’s population has still not recovered from Israel’s previous offensive which has led to further impoverishment and homelessness or internal displacement, insufficient hospital care, food insecurity to the point that 80% rely on food aid, an unavailability of essential life-saving medications, shortages of fuel, a lack of building materials, especially to rebuild or repair after ‘Cast Lead’ and insufficient clean, safe drinking water, leading to ‘blue baby syndrome’. Israel has admitted to engineering the Gazan economy to be on the brink of collapse and often cuts electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip. In fact, the World Health Organisation says that by 2020, Gaza will probably be completely uninhabitable. As Israel is the occupying power with full responsibilty for the well-being of the occupied, it has legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, the neglect of this making Israeli leaders guilty of violations of humanitarian law and human rights.
Israel’s ‘counting of calories’ has led to the stunting of children’s growth and development due to nutrient and calorie deficiency (10%) and chronic anaemia in pregnant women, among other health problems.
Theories abound concerning the true cause of Israel’s latest attack on Gaza. One is that Israel wanted to prevent the Palestinian bid for UN recognition as a ‘UN non-observer state’, which might open the way for the Palestinian people to pursue legal actions against Israeli politicians and officials for war crimes. Some have speculated that this latest offensive was to test the Iron Dome missile defense shield in preparation for future wars. Another theory is that the Israeli elections are in January and Netanyahu will gain popularity by spilling blood with his hawkish behaviour. Indeed, 91% of Israelis in one poll supported the offensive against Gaza. Eerily, Israeli elections also succeeded the Cast Lead massacre. “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages,” says Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai. Yisrael Katz, the Minister of Transport, used colonial imagery and mentality to explain how Palestinians should be “hunted down as one hunts wild, dangerous animals.” Also see the violent racist and homophobic chants in Tel Aviv.
Dr Gershon Baskin, an Israeli negotiator and human rights activist, has noted that Israel spoiled a permanent truce agreement that had been on the table. Just hours before the truce was finalised, Ahmed Jabari was assassinated. This permanent truce could have resulted in Gaza being opened and the economy boosted as a result, but Israel does not want self-determination for the people of Gaza and the Palestinians in general.
From 2004 – 2012, a total of twenty-six Israeli civilians have been killed by Gazan rocket attacks, which are a symptom rather than a cause of Israeli aggression and truce violations. On 4 November, the Israeli army shot dead an unarmed and mentally-ill man who had wandered into the buffer-zone, an area created by Israel that has taken a third of Gaza’s arable land. Any person (including children, and even animals), who wanders into this area, is killed by Israeli soldiers.
For the timeline of Israel’s latest attack on the people of Gaza, see these two sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html and http://imeu.net/news/article0023227.shtml
Under international law, occupied people have a legal right to defend themselves, as long as civilians are not targeted, which constitutes war crimes. Israel manufactures ‘justifications’ for targeting civilian infrastructure (also a war crime).
The death of 12 members of the al-Dalu family spanning four generations, including 5 children, is an indication of how civilians have been targeted by Israel in so-called ‘wrong house’ episodes.
In one of the most densely populated areas on earth where the civilian population is trapped under a blockade with no bomb shelters, there is no refuge for Gazans, let alone anti-missile defences. In contrast to Israeli military capability, Gaza has no army, navy or airforce with which to defend itself, and the destructive power and range of their missiles paints an obvious David and Goliath narrative when comparisons with Israel are made. Taking this into perspective, it is easy to conclude just who is a very real, not merely an existential threat to whom.
Actions to take for Gaza and Palestine in general
1) Boycott Israeli products, such as Teva medicines and Tivall vegetarian products. Always read labels at the supermarket.
Join in solidarity with the BDS movement.
2) Donate now:
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) responded immediately to the crisis caused by Israeli air, tank and naval strikes, working with local hospitals, doctors and nurses to ensure they have the supplies they need to treat the casualties. Medical Aid for Palestinians works for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees. Medical Aid for Palestinians is an international, non-governmental, independent, non-political, non-religious organisation established in 1984.
Mobile: Text 70070 with the phrase
“GAZA10 £10”. This will donate £10 and will be added to your phone bill
Phone: 020 7226 4114
Post: Send a cheque to Medical Aid for Palestinians 33a Islington Park Street, Freepost ND6445, London, N1 1BR
3) Sign a petition to remove the 2013 UEFA finals from Israel, especially after it destroyed the Gaza sports stadium http://www.thenation.com/blog/171344/killing-hope-why-israel-targets-sports-gaza
4) Purchase Palestinian fair trade products, such as Zaytoun.
5) Contact the media and if need be confront their distortions and bias, raise awareness on social media, join a protest, create an awareness event, write a blog post, share this blog post.
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