Palestine and the Arab World

Arab democracy and resistance

Let everyone account for their actions at the Hague …

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Fire raging in Gaza’s main power plant following an overnight Israeli airstrike, south of Gaza City. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ and ‘Hamas are a terrorist organization’ are two phrases that are constantly run together in the media coverage of the Gaza siege right now, cynically called Operation Protective Edge by Israel. What does this mean? It means that Israeli Forces have absolute impunity when it comes to violation of International Humanitarian Law in hammering the people of Gaza because as everyone knows, the entire population is marked as ‘terrorists’ .  What we are witnessing now on our television screens goes way beyond any of the previous sieges on Gaza. Different UN agencies are doing what they can and there has been three press conferences in the last couple of hours. We have not seen destruction and killing on this scale in Gaza ever before. Operation Protective Edge has taken the destruction of civilian life to a new level. Let the international community look at the work of Israel on communities like Shujayea in this short film and make their own mind up about war crimes. The film is by Amjad Almalki and Ahmad Ashour and it contains a warning about some of the images. The footage is very moving.

John Ging, the United Nations Head of Humanitarian Aid Office has just given a statement saying clean water is now urgent in Gaza. Bread lines are endlessly long.  With Gaza’s only power plant being destroyed there is now power for to run purifying plants. So there are zero facilities for providing clean water to 1.6 million people. Ging has just said the World Health Organization are extremely worried because 23 Medical Centers have been destroyed and emergency drugs and equipment have been destroyed along with the centres.  WHO are saying medical aid has to be gotten into Gaza immediately. WHO make this statement wilst there are long ques of ambulances on the Egyptian side of the Rafa crossing not being allowed to enter Gaza. If for whatever reason we were seeing Israel suffering in this way the world would have moved instantly.  But this is the Palestinians who have had exactly this sort of treatment since 1948 when three quarters of a million were driven out of their homes and over 500 villages destroyed.

Chris Gunness, the United Nation’s man on the ground has also just spoken. Near to tears he has said seven of his UNWRA staff have been killed by Israel. After leaflets were dropped on areas like Shujayea by Israel telling families to leave the area, many sought safety in UN Centers and many of these centers have been now also been shelled repeatedly. Along with UN staff many women and children who had been in the centers thinking they would be safe have been killed. Nineteen were killed in a crowded market also in Shujayeya when women had thought it safe enough to go out and buy any bread that was available. Seventeen people were killed in that market. Ambulances still cannot get into the area to tend the injured as I write this. Al Quds university has been shelled and there is black smoke over the whole of strip. Colleagues over the Egyptian border in Al Arish tell me that Gaza is one mass of dense black smoke. Ambulances are lined up at the Rafah border and not being allowed to cross so that they can give help. Over six thousand people have been seriously injured.

In the past the United States have withheld loan guarantees worth billions because of Israel’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. Israelis think this is not going to happen again because of the deep bond on underlying values. But it exactly that link which is worrying the US right now. The world is looking at some incredibly disturbing images that are too close to images in the past associated with the US in Vietnam and that is a real worry for Washington.

Gunness claims there is evidence of the Israeli forces ignoring co-ordinates being given to them repeatedly and is now saying evidence must be put before the UN showing Israeli war crimes. This is a person who is seeing everything and not likely to make such statements without there being real cause. Gunness represents the UN in Gaza and he is clearly charging Israel with war crimes. There are thousands and thousands who have had to leave their homes and are moving from one center to next as more leaflets drop.

Israel is not going after Hamas because of rockets and it is not going after them because they refuse to recognize the Jews only state of Israel. Israel is going after Hamas because they stand outside of the great Oslo deception and they have now become part of a Palestinian unity government. Everything Israel has been about in the last thirty years has been about separating Palestinian from Palestinian. Separation strategies have been pushed with over 600 checkpoints, an illegal apartheid wall and similarly illegal settlements. The photograph below shows graffiti that can be found all over the West Bank. I personally have seen this onmany occasions. It expresses something fundamentally disturbing that is at work in Israel’s violence right now.

Over the past couple of weeks I have spoken with academics from all over the UK. I have met with colleagues working right across the disciplines and they have invariably expressed outrage and anger. Right now in the press there is one professional organization after another stating their abhorrence at Israel as a modern day Sparta. Operation Protective Edge is not a one off attack. Since the closure of Gaza in 2006 there has been one siege after another. Israel even attacked the convoy of boats carrying aid to Gaza and killed seven people on the Mava Marmara. It is not a question of Hamas recognizing Israel’s right to exist. It is a much more a question of the civilized world recognizing Israel’s constant violation of international law. We see Israeli pushing one grotesque war after another in the Middle East. Will it next be Iran? What sort of state functions by making constant war? Does Israel think the Palestinians will cower before them because they have behaved like Nazis? Do they think the international community will feel closer to them because they are killing civilians in Gaza?


Written by uprisings230950

July 30, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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