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Urgent call from Gaza civil society: Act now!

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Palestinians search in the rubble of a destroyed house where eight members of the Al Haj family were killed in a strike early morning in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, July 10, 2014.  (Photo: AP/Khalil Hamra)

Palestinians search in the rubble of a destroyed house where eight members of the Al Haj family were killed in a strike early morning in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, July 10, 2014. (Photo: AP/Khalil Hamra)

URGENT CALL FROM GAZA CIVIL SOCIETY: ACT NOW!

13.7.2014

Besieged Gaza, Occupied Palestine–We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world, to act, protest, and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we have in Gaza been left to face massacre after massacre.  As you read these words over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever – more than two thirds of the injured are women and children. We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state of the art flesh tearing, limb stripping machinery of destruction?

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for: 

– Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;

– Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement; (1)

– Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society in 2005 (2)

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies. (3)  

We are writing this on Saturday night, again paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza. Who knows when the current attacks will end? For anyone over seven years old, permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over 3 weeks in 2009 over 1400 Palestinians were killed including over 330 children. White phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result. More recently 180 more were killed in the week-long attacks in late November 2012.

This time what? 200, 500, 5000? We ask: how many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient? Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party called for genocide of the Palestinian people. “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes.” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Right now nothing is beyond the murderous nature of the Israeli State, for we, a population that is mostly children, are all mere snakes to them.(3)

As said Omar Ghraib in Gaza, “It was heart shattering to see the pictures of little boys and girls viciously killed. Also how an elderly woman was killed while she was having her iftar at Maghreb prayer by bombing her house. She died holding the spoon in her hand, an image that will need a lot of time to leave my head.” (4)

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire Al-Hajj family was wiped out – the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, 5 more dead including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven year old child amongst them. (5)

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their 3 storey house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighbourhood. The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. 7 people died immediately including 5 children under 13 years old. 25 more were injured, and 8 year old Seraj Abed al-Aal, succumbed to his injuries later that evening. (6) Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity, surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

Other places hit include a clearly marked media vehicle killing the independent journalist Hamed Shehab, injuring 8 others, a hit on a Red Crescent rescue vehicle and attacks on hospitals which caused evacuations and more injuries. (7)

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade that has cut off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now. Cement to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli attacks had been banned and many injured and ill people are still not being allowed to travel abroad to receive urgent medical treatment which has caused the deaths of over 600 sick patients.

As more news comes in, as Israeli leaders’ give promises of moving onto a next stage in brutality, we know there are more horrors yet to come. For this we call on you to not turn your backs on us. We call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

– Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel 

– Trials for war crimes

– Immediate International protection of the civilians of Gaza 

We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign to hold this rogue state to account that is proving once again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged. Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amidst this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime.  When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice. 

ACT NOW, before it is too late!

Signed by

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions

University Teachers’ Association in Palestine

Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)

General Union of Palestinian Women

Medical Democratic Assembly

General Union of Palestine Workers

General Union for Health Services Workers

General Union for Public Services Workers

General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers

General Union for Agricultural Workers

Union of Women’s Work Committees

Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)

Youth Herak Movement

Union of Women’s Struggle Committees

Union of Synergies—Women Unit

Union of Palestinian Women Committees

Women’s Studies Society

Working Woman’s Society

Press House

Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

Gaza BDS Working Group

One Democratic State Group

References:

http://www.enpi-info.eu/library/content/eu-israel-association-agreement

http://www.bdsmovement.net/call 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.599422

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-im-on-the-brink-of-burning-my-israeli-passport-9600165.html 

http://gazatimes.blogspot.ca/2014/07/day-2-of-israeli-aggression-on-gaza-72.html

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=711990

http://dci-palestine.org/documents/eight-children-killed-israeli-airstrikes-over-gaza 

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/palestinian-journalists-under-israeli-fire-201471011727662978.html

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13 Responses

  1. American
    American
    July 13, 2014, 11:59 am

    Yes, but to do this americans would first need to dismantle the biggest obstacle–the US congress.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      July 13, 2014, 4:09 pm

      Yes indeed. We have to free them from Israeli occupation, so that they can regain their sanity, and do the right thing. Until then the Palestinians will never get the support they urgently need.

      • AppleFolsom
        AppleFolsom
        July 13, 2014, 6:44 pm

        I just got an email appeal from Rand Paul, this is my reply to his office:

        Dear Rand,

        You are truly an ambitious politician if you think Israel’s bombing of Gaza is in anyway justified by the awful abduction and murder of three teenagers. I am appalled my tax dollars bought those weapons Israel now wields so savagely against the Palestinians.

        Blessed are the Peacemakers, Mr. Rand. Do something in that regard.

        I will be contacting my Representatives in Congresss to vote *against* your “Stand with Israel Act.” The funding we give to Palestine is humanitarian aid. However the massive funding we give to Israel goes to arms.

        Your efforts seem to be nothing more than a crass announcement to AIPAC that you’d like their funding.

        You’ve lost my respect and my support,

      • American
        American
        July 13, 2014, 11:57 pm

        @AppleFolsom,

        Good letter.

      • Penfold
        Penfold
        July 14, 2014, 1:14 am

        I am sorry but I think focusing on changing the political landscape in the USA is doomed to failure and in many respects playing into the hands of lobbists and their wealth.

        The only thing that can separate politicians from their lobbists wallets is a ground swell of public opinion as indicated by the defeat of AIPAC’s attempts to get the USA into a war with Iran and Obamas Syrian red line.

        I am of the opinion that the only chance of success in this endevour depends solely on the direction that the Jewish American community choose to take, they are the only ones that can convince the average non-jew that standing up to Israel is not “anti-semetic” and they are the only ones that can marginalise the lobbists.

        The likes of Rand Paul will do the right thing once they realise that no amount of lobbist money will get them elected if what they are selling makes them unelectable.

  2. stopaipac
    stopaipac
    July 13, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Very important statement.
    What is disturbing is not what we hear from “the usual gang of idiots” on Capitol Hill, e.g. Sen Graham, Senator Menendez, Sen. Schumer… but the silence of, and indeed, the actual complicity of our supposed “friends”. I propose that it is those in congress that have in the past proven to have some sort of conscience that we direct our energy in challenging and confronting. Take Barbara Lee… many words of “concern” in the past about the situation in Palestine/Israel (though none of late, to my knowledge), but she has pledged to support “robust military aid” to Israel without end, without conditions, making Israel’s criminal attacks against civilians possible. Frankly, i have little hope that such politicians will ever change, as they are in the end wedded to the institutions (i.e. Democratic Party) that forbid real solidarity with the Palestinian people (we will probably have to end the career of the politicians), but we will not change the situation on the ground until we mobilize to carry out this call, to end US support for this criminal regime. First step, support this petition to Barbara Lee. Let’s create some discomfort. http://www.tinyurl.com/LeeStopmilitaryaid

  3. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 13, 2014, 12:56 pm

    In America, Sheldon Adelson’s donation dollars means more than this plea from Palestinian civic society. On the other side, Schumer says we must protect Israel from Palestinian terror rockets. Nevertheless, at least this time around, a tiny bit of facts are getting out about this latest turkey shoot paid for by Dick n Jane DumbGoy.

  4. Walid
    Walid
    July 13, 2014, 3:25 pm

    President Abbas, Arab leaders, Israelis and Americans are scrambling to find a formula to bring about a cease-fire, even if it means that Gazans get nothing out of it. Hamas and other resistance groups are against it and with reason because whatever the deal, the Gazans would get shafted another time and all those people would have died for nothing..

    Number of dead 168, of injured 1140.

    Gory video of the aftermath of Israel’s massacre of last night; very gory:

  5. Walid
    Walid
    July 13, 2014, 4:01 pm

    Number of dead 186

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      July 13, 2014, 4:15 pm

      So sad. It keeps getting worse, and the world does nothing. These are zionist human animals at their worst, with no remorse, compassion, and flexing their muscles at civilians, who have no weapons, no shelter, no iron dome, and no where to run to, unlike Israelis (who seem pampered in comparison).
      Maybe the US is not condemning the deaths of civilians, because we are guilty of the same in Afghanistan and Iraq, maybe they want Hamas wiped out, and if brown skinned babies are dying,.…meh. By our indifference we are only convincing those who blame us for always supporting and mollycoddling Israel, that they are right.
      Our actions speak louder than words. Our congress shows nothing but love for Israel.

  6. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    July 13, 2014, 4:01 pm

    Why ceasefire? Israel have killed 160 people, palestinians want to respond to that of course.

  7. mondonut
    mondonut
    July 13, 2014, 7:41 pm

    What B.S.

    If Gaza wants this round of fighting to stop the first step is simple and obvious to everyone except these authors – stop shooting rockets and mortars.

  8. Paldi5
    Paldi5
    July 13, 2014, 9:07 pm

    Where is Pallywood when we need it?

    Someone should film a movie about all this and the events leading up to it, from a Palestinian perspective. Maybe starting from Oslo. I’ve been watching since about that time. So depressing. Don’t fire until you see the whites of their (black) eyes. It would be a big hit.

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