- by Anna Pha
- The Guardian
- Issue #2076
Rally for Palestine in Perth.
Israel is carrying out collective punishment, committing the most barbarous and cruel atrocities on an unarmed civilian population who are confined to a small area with no means of escape. Collective punishment is an internationally recognised war crime.
Amir Weitmann, a member of the Israeli Knesset and Netanyahu’s Likud Party set out the strategy behind the crime his government is committing: “There is currently a unique and rare opportunity to evacuate the entire Gaza Strip” and ship out “the entire Arab population” for good. To do that, it will be necessary to “flatten all the buildings in the Strip … systematically from north to south, thereby pushing residents south until a humanitarian crisis arises that Egypt cannot ignore.”
Dr Mohammed Eila, who works in Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza writes, “Israeli airstrikes have been relentless – often striking in residential areas in the dead of night while people are asleep in their homes – and resulted in a staggering number of casualties, with a heartbreaking emphasis on children and older people. The local hospitals are overwhelmed with the wounded and deceased, and they are struggling to cope with the sheer magnitude of the unfolding events.
“The constant threat of airstrikes and prevailing insecurity have left me, along with many others, living in fear and anxiety. Our daily lives have been disrupted, with the basic routines and activities we once took for granted now a distant memory. The stress and trauma from the violence have taken a toll on everyone’s mental and emotional health.”
“The daily reality of life in Gaza is marked by extreme suffering and tragedy. This extends far beyond the loss of life as the misery is compounded by the destruction of critical infrastructure, including roads, schools, and hospitals.
“The displacement of families and the loss of homes and belongings are causing untold suffering, with more than 120,000 residential houses reduced to ruins. There is, tragically, no safe place to be found in Gaza,” says Eila.
“The constant threat of airstrikes, the loss of family members is taking a huge psychological toll on the people of Gaza, with children and older people experiencing the most profound trauma and fear.”
The Palestinian people have the support of millions of people around the world as growing numbers take to the streets calling for an end to Israel’s illegal and brutal assault on the people of the Gaza Strip.
Weekly actions with increasing numbers of participants are taking place around Australia. They passionately express solidarity with the Palestinian people. They strongly reject anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, while calling out Zionism and Israel’s apartheid state. They condemn in the strongest terms the massacre of thousands of innocent Palestinians, the majority of whom are children, the elderly and women.
Algeria, the African Union, Brazil, China, Cuba, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Kuwait, Morocco, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Syria, South Africa, and Venezuela are amongst the many countries that have raised concerns over Israel’s actions or called for a cease-fire. Notable omissions are the leaders of the US, the UK, Canada, Ukraine, India, the EU, and the Australian Labor government and Opposition.
Israel directed more than one million people in the north of Gaza to move south, in preparation for its ground invasion. It then bombed the south as well as the north. In the first two weeks the death toll reached 4385, including 1756 children and 967 women – in addition to 13,561 injured. Seventy per cent of the casualties are women, children, and elderly people.
As Israel permits a few token trucks of humanitarian aid to pass through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, the human toll and suffering continue to rise after weeks without adequate supplies of drinking water, food, medical supplies and power.
In addition, Israel has arrested some 4000 labourers from Gaza who were working in Israel and is holding them in military bases. It also arrested 1070 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The bombings, massacres and destruction have not stopped since 7th October when Hamas forces breached Israel’s barrier, killing some 1400 civilians, police and military and taking around 200 hostages.
In the first week of bombing Israel destroyed 22,600 residential units and hit 20 ambulances and 19 medical centres. Others were partially operational due to shortages of supplies and fuel. 90 schools were hit as were refugee camps, killing hundreds more people.
70 industrial facilities have been destroyed. Most sewage pumping stations and four out of five wastewater treatment plants have stopped operating, causing sewage and solid waste to accumulate in the streets.
Euro-Med reports the destruction of 49 media and press offices.
Israel is carrying out the complete dispossession of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told members of the country’s Air force that the ground invasion of Gaza could take up to three months. “This needs to be the last [ground] manoeuvre in Gaza, for the simple reason that afterwards there will be no Hamas,” Gallant said.
Israel’s objective is that after the ‘manoeuvre’ there is to be no Palestinians in Gaza.
“Determined not to let a crisis go to waste, some of the most militaristic elements of the Israeli political establishment are pushing a plan for the ‘resettlement’ and ‘final rehabilitation’ of the entire Gaza population to Egypt,” writes C J Atkins in People’s World.
“The scheme is being circulated among the Israeli policy establishment by the Misgav Institute for National Security and Zionist Strategy, a think tank headed by Meir Ben Shabbat. He was previously Benjamin Netanyahu’s National Security Advisor and is a 30-year veteran of the Shabak, Israel’s secret police agency.”
Raphael BenLevi, a former Israeli Defence Force Intelligence officer, says in a paper distributed by the Misgav Institute, that the US can play a crucial role in pressuring Egypt, Turkey, and other nations to take the unwanted [in Zionist eyes] Palestinians and help justify the forced displacement as “self-defence” rather than the war crime that international law says it is.
The US is sending in billions of dollars of armaments to assist Israel – this is on top of previous military aid. To assist in planning the next steps, it has also sent military advisers, including a general versed in urban warfare.
The US has warships off the coast and is sending additional air defence systems to the region. It helped Israel to down missiles and drones.
The US is determined to do whatever it takes to protect Israel and strengthen its hand in the Middle East.
Israel is firing missiles into Syria and Lebanon in an apparent attempt to provoke a wider conflict in the Middle East involving Iran.
“I warn the US and its proxy Israel that if they do not immediately stop the crime against humanity and genocide in Gaza, anything is possible at any moment and the region will go out of control,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned at a news conference in Tehran last week.
US and Israeli officials are reportedly conducting secret talks on the post-Hamas future of Gaza.
This is a time for action. Join the protests, march in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Write protest letters to the Israeli Embassy and Consulates.
Write to your MPs and Senators.
Maximise your use of social media.
Write letters to the Editor and join radio talkback programs.
Call for a ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel must abide by the UN resolutions including the two-state solution.
It is urgent to intensify international solidarity with the Palestinian people, demanding an end to the Israeli occupation and the implementation of relevant UN resolutions.
In a statement the Communist Party of Israel said: “Today’s events indicate the dangerous direction that Netanyahu and his partners in the government are leading the entire region toward. We emphasise that it is impossible to ‘manage’ the conflict or resolve it militarily. There is only one solution – striving to end the occupation and recognising the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their justified demands. Ending the occupation and instating a just peace is the clear interest of both peoples.”