#GazaUnderAttack: update from the ground 28 July 2014, 13:00
Well over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed since July 8th, around 20% of which were children.
As Israel’s latest war on Gaza enters is 21st day, wreaking death and destruction on Palestinian people with impunity, here’s a re-cap of key news from the weekend.
On the ground in Gaza, the extent of damage cause by Israel’s shelling of an UNWRA school in Beit Hanoun became clear, with reports that at least 16 had been killed and over 150 injured. Israel also continued its attacks on medical facilities and workers, bombarding a nearby hospital in which 60 medical staff members in the hospital, in addition to three patients and two international solidarity activists were taking shelter.
There was some small breathing space for Palestinians on Saturday who had just a few hours to try to access food and water; to bury the dead; and to survey the destruction wrought by Israel which has seen whole neighbourhoods razed to the ground. The death toll included at least 18 members of the al-Najar family, including many children, killed in an air strike on Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip - the family had recently gone there to escape fighting in a nearby village. In total it is thought at least 147 bodies were pulled from the rubble in the space of 12 hours alone.
But, as reported by IMEMC amongst others, Israel violated the so-called ‘ceasefire’ by shooting at least one Palestinian during the time that was supposed to be a pause in its rampage: ‘Naim Abdul Aziz Abu Zaher, 36, was shot to death by Israeli forces east of Deir al-Balah around 9 pm Saturday, two hours before the “temporary ceasefire” was scheduled to end. Two other Palestinians died of their wounds early Sunday morning.’
This important infographic helps illuminate this pattern of Israeli aggression and disregard for what are supposed to be humanitarian windows. Made by Visualizing Palestine, it demonstrates that Israel much more frequently and much more brutally violates ceasefire agreements and for this as well as numerous other reasons is therefore responsible for the violence.
Over the weekend, protests against the slaughter in Gaza erupted in the West Bank, underlining the unity of the Palestinian people. Palestinians in Israel also opposed Israel’s current onslaught, as did a small number of Israeli activists. Around the world there were stunning images from London to Islamabad to Paris as hundreds of thousands of people came out to show their support for the Palestinian struggle for justice.
In other news, there was political repression of Palestinians in Israel and the complicity of Israeli universities was laid bare. Importantly, Palestinian officials have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, accusing Israel of numerous war crimes. While geopolitical realities, including American and British support, will make this channel difficult to pursue, this may be symbolically important and has the support of several international human rights organisation. On Twitter, the move spawned the hashtag ‘ICC4Israel’.
Turkish humanitarian organisation IHH announced it would organise a second Freedom Flotilla to try to break the siege of Gaza. The first such attempt but the same organisation in 2010 was met with typical brutality by Israel, its naval forces killing nine unarmed activists on the Mavi Marmara, causing global outcry.
In the media, Tariq Dana and Susan Abulhawa considered the meaning of Palestinian resistance. Mohammed Omer has written of the particular cruelty of Israel’s indiscriminate violence coming during Ramadan and in the lead up to the Muslim festival of Eid ul Fitr.
Meanwhile, an Independent columnist draws attention to the propaganda and PR manuals that Israeli spokespeople and advocates use to – sadly often successfully – convince Western audiences that ‘Israel wants peace’ when in fact it seems sadistically intent on ethnic cleansing and incremental genocide. Analysis of such lies and manipulations of the truth are critical in understanding, for example, how Israel used the killing of three teenage Israeli settlers as a pretext for attacking Gaza when it now admits Hamas had nothing to do with the settlers’ deaths. Other blows to Zionist PR narratives include another clear statement by the Hamas leaders that his party was “ready to co-exist with Jews but not occupiers” and the deaths of at least 40 Israeli soldiers, undermining Netanyahu’s claim that the attack on Gaza was to ‘protect the Israeli people’.
Veteran Channel 4 anchor Jon Snow made an unprecedented and heartfelt broadcast about the children of Gaza, abandoning any pretence of journalistic ‘objectivity’ and underlining the British government’s complicity in the suffering in Gaza. He called on viewers to act to stop the passivity of the international community – which, besides calling for a ceasefire, has taken no action to prevent the massacre (while at the same time imposing sanctions and arms embargos on Russia).
Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada looks at the root causes of this massacre and many previous ones, pointing out that the Zionist desire to maintain ethnic supremacy in the form of a ‘Jewish state’ lies at the heart of the ongoing horrors perpetrated against the indigenous population, ie. the Palestinians. He calls on all those who wish to stop these war crimes once and for all to join the BDS movement which aims to bring about peace through justice, freedom and equality for all.
Similarly, the supposedly relatively progressive UK newspaper, The Guardian, has finally published some good analysis of the situation, this article by Rafeef Ziadah which strongly reiterates that call to boycott Israel made by Palestinian civil society in 2005, arguing that if our governments won’t act, we must. Just as apartheid-era South Africa was isolated with the support of international solidarity campaigns, the impunity Israel currently enjoys can be chipped away at by steadily expanding the read of the BDS campaign for justice.
…there really are no words