Israel has once again unleashed terror on the people of Gaza. Since its military assassinated Hamas military chief Ahmad al-Jaabri last week, Israel’s Operation Pillar of Cloud has killed more than 100 Palestinians.
It has injured over 750. Among those slaughtered were 19 year old Heba Al-Mashharawi and 83 year old Ameina Matar Al-Mazanner. The Israelis killed 11 members of the Dalou family, including five women and four children. A quarter of those killed are children.
The Western media repeats Israeli propaganda uncritically. It is ridiculous to talk of “surgical strikes” in one of the most densely populated areas on earth. And Western leaders like Barack Obama and David Cameron have blood on their hands for backing Israel to the hilt.
Israel’s claim that it is defending itself is a lie. Operation Cast Lead, which began in December 2008, killed 1,400 Palestinians. Since then three Israelis have died while Israel has killed a further 271.
Hamas rockets are a desperate response to these atrocities and Israel’s savage collective punishment of Gaza’s population. There is no equivalence between Israel, armed to the teeth by the US and Britain, and Gaza’s poor and imprisoned population.
The Lancet, a world renowned medical journal, describes “Constant surveillance from the sky, collective punishment through blockade and isolation, [and] intrusion into homes and communications.”
But there is a difference between now and 2008—the Arab revolutions. In Egypt the cravenly pro-Israel Hosni Mubarak is gone. New president Mohamed Mursi is under pressure from below to stand up to Israel.
In a historic development last Sunday 500 Egyptian activists crossed into Gaza, bringing medical supplies and protesting in solidarity outside the al-Shifa hospital.
Israel illegally occupies part of Syria, the Golan Heights. Though Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has posed as an anti-imperialist, it is the Syrian revolution that threatens this stability.
In Jordan an unprecedented wave of workers’ protests and strikes is developing. Jordan borders on the Palestinian West Bank where strikes and protests are also on the increase.
Operation Pillar of Cloud is a desperate attempt to counter the threat of the Arab revolutions and garner votes ahead of the Israeli elections.
Across the world ordinary people, including many Jews, oppose Israel’s brutal policies. We need to mobilise in solidarity with the Palestinians and against our governments that arm and fund Israel’s terror. Together with our sisters and brothers in the Middle East we can free Palestine.
Mohamed Majdalawi, a 30 year old activist in Gaza, spoke to Siân Ruddick
“People have learned from Israel’s previous attacks. Family members dispersed to different locations so they wouldn’t all die if their home was attacked.
“Residents of the border areas fled to stay with relations in relatively safer areas. They taped up windows to avoid injury from shattering glass. They stored food, fuel and water.
“Among the casualties are children as young as five month old Amr Al’Mash-hrawi and three year old Jana. But things were bad enough before the attack. Barely a day passed without casualties.
“People in Gaza see the Arab leadership cooperating with Israel, while the Israelis enforce brutal aggression.
“Arab countries are going through revolutions which may distract them from Palestinian suffering. But we remember the demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands in Western capitals during the last war.”