Sunday 27 December 2009

Remembering Gaza

It was a year ago to this day that Israel launched its murderous assault on Gaza. The Israelis managed to kill around 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians and many of whom were women and children. The initial attacks were timed to coincide with the end of the school morning, thus ensuring the maximum number of casualties among women and children. These first attacks also struck at public ceremony celebrating the graduation of new policemen. Truly a modern day slaughter of the innocents. There are many accounts of this massacre and one of the best can be found here on Lenin’s Tomb.

As usual most western governments - from the self-styled democratic west - decided to either ignore the slaughter or procrastinate or even offer support to Israel. However this time the civilian population of the west rose up in revolt against this continuing complicity in yet another Israeli war of aggression. The Gaza slaughter may turn out to be the tipping point when the rest of the world finally woke up to the 60 plus years of ongoing Israeli terror against the Palestinians.

For the key point about the Gaza massacres was that this was not a one off, but part of the continuing attempt by Israel to ethnically cleanse most of Palestine of Palestinians. Over the past year Israel has intensified its efforts to build yet more colonies on Palestinian land and to intensify its policy of using violence against peaceful Palestinian and Israeli protesters. For example just in the last six months, 31 residents of Bil'in have been arrested, mostly during nighttime raids, and 89 have been arrested in Ni'ilin in the last 18 months. These two villages are two of the main hubs of unarmed protest against the Wall. A more detailed account of the struggle against the Wall can be found in this article from Jewish Peace News.

Another article which appeared in the Guardian’s Comment if Free section by Neve Gordon also looks at Israel’s long, long history of using violence to break up peaceful Palestinian opposition. This goes right back to the first few months after the six day war in 1967, when teachers in the West Bank went on strike against the imposition of Israeli textbooks. Israel's response to that first strike was immediate and severe: it issued military orders categorising all forms of resistance as insurgency – including protests and political meetings, raising flags or other national symbols, publishing or distributing articles or pictures with political connotations, and even singing or listening to nationalist songs. The message Israel wanted to convey was clear: any act of resistance would result in a disproportionate response, which would make the population suffer to such a degree that resistance would appear pointless. Gordon’s article can be found here.

The above are just a few of the many examples of where it has been Israel that “has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” For Israel has never shown the slightest evidence that it has ever been interested in a genuine peace settlement, one that is based on justice. This time however it looks like Israel may have gone too far. The call to Boycott, Divest and introduce Sanctions against Israel has grown tremendously over the past year. And many senior Israelis are unable to leave Israel for fear of arrest on charges of war crimes. The UN sponsored Goldstone Report into the Gaza slaughter has provided anti Zionist groups with clear documented evidence to increase support of the Boycott campaign. The purpose of the Boycott campaign is to put pressure on Israel to:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

To ensure that there are no more slaughtered civilians, we should do all we can to support this Boycott call.

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