Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are calling on people to protest and “make sure that the world doesn’t forget us”.
Amjad Shawa, the Palestinian NGO network coordinator for Gaza, told Socialist Worker on Tuesday of this week, “We have faced three days of intensive air strikes. When the attack started my children were at school.
“It was terrifying. The school was hit, there were children killed. It was very hard for me to get there and fetch my children. Now they can’t sleep at night. We are all scared.
“Israel has been hitting civilian targets – including schools, universities and mosques. Tens of civil police have just been killed.
“There are more than 370 dead already, with 1,700 injured.
“The bombing continues day and night. We are under siege. Some people have had no water or electricity for three days.
“Israel is threatening a land incursion, with tanks. A smaller incursion last March killed more than 130 people in three days.”
Much of the Western media goes along with Israel’s propaganda about the assault, but Amjad was not surprised. “They only hear Israel’s side of the story,” he said. “Most of the international media can’t even get into Gaza.”
The Israeli government claims it had no choice but to attack to stop Hamas “terrorists”.
“But,” said Amjad, “I would ask them, if Israel is only targeting ‘terrorists’ why are so many children being killed in their homes?
“This kind of treatment isn’t new. We’ve faced this kind of aggression since Israel occupied Gaza in 1967. What is shocking is the complete silence from the international community. What can we do in the face of F-16 fighters? We are suffering real shortages. Running out of food, milk, water and medicine.”
As we spoke there was a dull rumble in the background. “Can you hear that?” Amjad asked. “They are bombing again.”
Amjad was pleased that there have been protests in Britain. He sent a greeting to people who are demonstrating here: “Intensify your efforts to build solidarity. Our hearts are with you. Our children need you.
“We need another kind of intervention. We need justice. We are a people with no voice, victims who need help to survive.
“Last night there was another intense bombardment – each minute new people are dying.
“The Dignity boat tried to land in Gaza with doctors and medical supplies. An Israeli warship rammed it. It was nearly sunk. That is the reality of how Israel behaves.”
Amjad was referring to the SS Dignity, a boat organised by the Free Gaza group that had sailed from Cyprus. The damaged craft has since managed to limp into the Lebanese port of Tyre.
Amjad was angry at the role of the West. He had this message for the governments that have failed to condemn Israel: “You could play a role in ending this. You could intervene to stop what Israel is doing.
“You could put sanctions on Israel. We cannot forgive or forget the conspiracy of silence from Western leaders.
“Your silence encourages Israel to continue its massacres.”
Interview by Ken Olende