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On Nakba day, Palestinian civil society in besieged Gaza decries collective failure to ensure accountability for Israeli massacre 

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As Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, the catastrophe in 1948 when more than 700,000 indigenous Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes by Zionist militias and later the State of Israel, life in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip is reaching a fatal tipping point, as the UN has warned.

Close to 2 million Palestinians are incarcerated by Israel in a small space condemned to a life of misery, where not even water, the source of life, is fit for human consumption. The provision of basic services such as health and education faltering and the alarm must be sounded. This is an Israeli-made “tsunami” that can be stopped if enough people of conscience around the world would hold Israel to account and pressure their institutions and governments to do so. Israel must pay a heavy price for its criminal behaviour.

If ever there was a right time to isolate a rogue regime to prevent it from committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is now. We, the undersigned Palestinian civil society organisations in Gaza, call for urgent and effective measures of accountability, including boycotts, divestment and meaningful sanctions, against Israel and the corporations that are complicit in its serious violations of international law to save hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza from a fate of unspeakable suffering and slow death.

Israel’s massacre in Gaza in the summer of 2014 left more than 2,300 of our people dead and damaged or destroyed our schools, hospitals, UN shelters and thousands of our homes. Eight months on, Gaza remains in ruins, yet at least 100,000 people remain homeless. Of the 12,600 houses that were totally destroyed, not one has yet been rebuilt. To Palestinians everywhere, and in Gaza in particular, the 1948 Nakba is ongoing.

Despite the so called cease-fire, Israel’s often deadly attacks on Palestinians in Gaza are continuous, especially on fishers in the access restricted areas (ARA) along the border with Israel and off the Gaza coast. ARA were among the most hit during the massacre and still continue to suffer from Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

At the root of this grave human suffering is Israel’s ongoing occupation and illegal eight-year siege, which severely restricts movement of people, goods and reconstruction materials. Health and education services have been severely impaired as well. The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been open for just a handful of times so far this year. On average, just 198 people have been able to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing each week during 2014, down from 955 during 2014. As of February 2015,  just 1,661 trucks (containing around 105,307 tonnes) of the 800,000 trucks of material needed to reconstruct destroyed homes and other buildings have been allowed to enter Gaza. The failure of international donors to release pledged funds has exacerbated severe energy shortages. Electricity is still only available for a few hours per day.

The UN Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), the international community’s main response, is fundamentally flawed in a way that deepens the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. The GRM makes the international community, and the UN in particular, the enforcers of the Israeli siege and makes aid to Palestinians conditional on Israeli approval.

As much as 71% of the aid pledged by international donors is expected to benefit the Israeli economy, effectively rewarding Israel for its massacre of Palestinians. Many of the companies supplying the construction efforts are illegally involved in the crime of pillage of Palestinian natural resources and/or participate in the construction of illegal settlements.

Many western governments are seeking to prevent Palestinians from taking cases against Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Last July, the US voted against and several EU member including France, Germany and the UK abstained from voting on the establishment of a UN Gaza Commission of Inquiry.

The US and Germany look set to continue their vast military support for Israel, while the European Union has maintained its Association Agreement with Israel, affording Israel access to EU markets and programs, and the Canadian government has even signed a raft of new agreements with Israel. Even those countries in the global south that speak in clearer terms of their support for the Palestinian people’s right to self determination have failed to translate their symbolic gestures into ending their military links and preferential trade agreements with Israel.

Given the human catastrophe that Gaza is facing and Israel’s threats of more atrocities, we call on governments and international bodies to take immediate action to:

– Ensure Israel is held to account for its war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza, including by supporting Palestinians in seeking justice at the ICC.

– End direct support for Israeli war crimes, including by imposing a comprehensive military embargo and suspending free trade agreements and other bilateral agreements until such time as Israel complies with international law, including lifting the siege on Gaza.

– Provide immediate international protection to civilians in Gaza, including by providing financial and material support to help Palestinians to cope with the immense hardship they continue to experience.

We warmly thank the countless people of conscience and principled organisations across the world who stand in solidarity with our struggle for freedom, justice and equality, and call on international civil society, including trade unions, NGOs, grassroots networks, political parties and parliamentarians to:

– Join and build the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a key tool to ensure Israel is held to account for its violations of international law in Gaza and against Palestinians everywhere, including by pressuring universities, banks and pension funds to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation and war crimes.

– Pressure governments to impose military embargoes and trade sanctions.

– Campaign against corporate criminals such as military company Elbit Systems, security firm G4S and key Israeli military supplier HP that enable Israeli violations of international law.

Signed

Palestinian BDS National Committee
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
University Teachers’ Society in Palestine
Palestinian Medical Relief Society
Palestinian Association for Development and Reconstruction (PADR)
Medical Democratic Assembly
Palestinian Student Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)
Medical Initiative Assembly
Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
Union of Health Work Committees
One Democratic State group
Herak Youth Center
Badr Campaign for Boycott of Israeli Goods

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20 Responses

  1. just
    just
    May 15, 2015, 6:02 pm

    A most honorable and emergent call to action!

    “…This is an Israeli-made “tsunami” that can be stopped if enough people of conscience around the world would hold Israel to account and pressure their institutions and governments to do so. Israel must pay a heavy price for its criminal behaviour.

    If ever there was a right time to isolate a rogue regime to prevent it from committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is now. We, the undersigned Palestinian civil society organisations in Gaza, call for urgent and effective measures of accountability, including boycotts, divestment and meaningful sanctions, against Israel and the corporations that are complicit in its serious violations of international law to save hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza from a fate of unspeakable suffering and slow death.”

    Amen. I want to thank Mondoweiss for giving so many the space to express their solidarity with Palestinians. I am especially grateful today, Nakba Day 2015, to read so many fine articles by and about Palestinians. More and more people are learning the truth from this fine place. The truth can no longer be hidden, nor can the false narratives put forth by Israel persist as long as good people readily combat them with facts. This is one of those places that have made this enormous change possible.

    Thank you.

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba
      May 16, 2015, 11:20 am

      +1 Just ,

      I echo your every sentiment !
      Kudos to MONDOWEISS !! And Thanks >

  2. Down under girl
    Down under girl
    May 16, 2015, 9:43 am

    Education faltering?
    Really?
    • University of Palestine
    • Al-Aqsa University
    • University College of Applied Sciences
    • Al-Azhar University – Gaza
    • Al-Quds Open University
    • Islamic University of Gaza
    All in Gaza

    Search “Riding schools Gaza”
    Search “Hotels Gaza”
    Search “Restaurants Gaza”
    Search “Swimming pools and water parks Gaza”

    Roots Hotel checkout the photos. No poverty or deprivation here
    https://www.facebook.com/RootsHotel?fref=ts

    Al Faisel Equestrian Club
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Al-Faisal-Equestrian-Club/1403430623252151?__fns&hash=Ac0Zbpjjn7s-S4kp

    I suggest someone does some research

    “Paying for Terrorism” by Rachel Ehrenfeld says plenty and there is no reason to believe anything has changed since the Arafat days, who left quite a money trail behind him.

    Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has donated approximately $5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. The European Union alone has donated approximately €1.4 billion during that time, including grants to United Nations Relief and Work Agency. Since the start of the Palestinian Authority’s campaign of violence against Israel in September 2000, the EU has transferred at least €330 million to the Palestinian territories.

    More recent news here at Middle East Forum. U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians. The Jewish Chronicle on line – £2bn in aid that the EU has given the Palestinian Authority over the past five years has been squandered through corruption and mismanagement.

    This article from 2012 “How Many Millionaires Live in the “Impoverished” Gaza Strip?” by Khaled Abu Toameh throws a good deal of light on Gaza.

    The world often thinks of the Gaza Strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, as one of the poorest places on earth, where people live in misery and squalor.

    But according to an investigative report published in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, there are at least 1,700 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip. The newspaper report also refutes the claim that the Gaza Strip has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.

    • James North
      James North
      May 16, 2015, 9:55 am

      Shift change at Hasbara Central.

    • Kris
      Kris
      May 16, 2015, 3:27 pm

      @Down under girl: “The world often thinks of the Gaza Strip, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, as one of the poorest places on earth, where people live in misery and squalor.”

      Yup.

      The world knows also that Israel is a racist, militaristic society that is stealing the land and resources of the Palestinians, and that Israeli Jews are cruel and sadistic, inflicting suffering on their Palestinian victims in every possible way they can devise.

      You can browse back through Kate’s columns for citations. Click here to read an article about more pointless Israeli cruelty: ” Pregnant Gaza woman blocked from joining husband in Australia.” http://electronicintifada.net/content/pregnant-gaza-woman-blocked-joining-husband-australia/14525

      Not only is Israel preventing this pregnant woman from joining her husband abroad, but Israel continues to prevent Palestinian students from taking up their scholarships at universities abroad. So cruel, so pointless, so typical of Israeli Jews.

      • Kris
        Kris
        May 16, 2015, 3:38 pm

        OTOH, maybe Israeli Jews think that it’s better to let Palestinian children with PKU become mentally retarded through lack of proper diet, since if these kids were to grow up to earn scholarships abroad, they’d suffer so much when their hopes and dreams were casually destroyed by Israel? http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/prevents-children-receiving

    • eljay
      eljay
      May 17, 2015, 10:32 pm

      || Down under girl @ May 16, 2015, 9:43 am ||

      I condemn the corruption within Hamas. The criminals must be held responsible and accountable for their crimes.

      But not one of those very interesting facts absolves Israel – an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist state born of terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population from their homes and lands – of its:
      – responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes; or
      – obligations under international law.

  3. bintbiba
    bintbiba
    May 16, 2015, 11:15 am

    May all the Spirits of what is Good and Merciful bestow upon you their Blessings, Beneficence and Love, Dan Cohen. !!

    Will be watching for your update for little 2 year old Ahmed Najjar .

    Thank you.

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba
      May 17, 2015, 3:03 pm

      I also want to contribute….and I don’t do the Twitter thingy !!
      Please Dan , We ‘re watching out for the update .

  4. amigo
    amigo
    May 17, 2015, 12:53 pm

    Land theft, home demolition,arrest and torture of children, spraying skunk juice on homes and schools,extra judicial killings,dropping white phosphorous on women and children,allowing illegal squatters to destroy olive trees,murdering foreign activists,murdering Palestinian politicians at peaceful protests,preventing pregnant women from getting to hospital,shooting farmers on their own land, shooting fishermen who are just trying to feed their families,imprisoning Palestinians without trial,preventing Palestinians from getting an education,putting 1.4 million people on a diet ,stealing water resources and the list goes on and on and on.

    This is the face of Israel that nietanyahu will not be bragging about.

    And these people ask , “Why do they hate us so.”

    Oh , I forgot.It is because they are Jews and it so happens , that they have Carte Blanche to do as they please.

    Such a deal.

    • just
      just
      May 17, 2015, 1:08 pm

      Have you seen this yet, amigo? From Kate’s compilation yesterday:

      “Israeli forces chase 5-year-old with skunk water”
      http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/israeli-military-protests

      In pictures:

      http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=765453

      • amigo
        amigo
        May 17, 2015, 2:26 pm

        “Have you seen this yet, amigo? From Kate’s compilation yesterday: ” just

        Just checked it out.Israel needs a steady supply of enemies so they can always claim to be the victims.This is one of their methods of creating said enemies.Start when they are young.

        Despicable zionist criminals.

      • Kris
        Kris
        May 17, 2015, 8:24 pm

        Thanks, just. I shared this article on facebook yesterday, and am pleased to see that several of my “friends” went on to share it, too.

        This is a clear example of racial hatred: adult Israeli Jews terrorizing a little Palestinian boy.

        Since none of our hasbarists has addressed this, maybe for Israeli Jews this kind of child abuse is just a cultural difference, and it would be okay for Palestinian men to terrorize little Jewish boys, too.

      • just
        just
        May 17, 2015, 8:33 pm

        It’s endless violence, and those pictures by “amateur photographer Ahmad Nazzal” tell a story with a silent scream that’s very hard to ignore. Sometimes, words alone don’t do justice to the evil actions of the IOF. Many thanks for passing it on, Kris.

        In related news, from David Sheen:

        ““Jews are souls! Arabs are sons of whores!” – Israeli mob “celebrates Jerusalem Day” by attacking non-Jewish journos http://on.fb.me/1AenZAC

        https://twitter.com/davidsheen/status/600087729607585793

        and

        “Israeli security forces assault Palestinian journalists with great frequency but today they allowed Jewish Supremacist mobs to do it instead”

        https://twitter.com/davidsheen

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        May 17, 2015, 10:12 pm

        Since none of our hasbarists has addressed this

        Be thankful for the little mercies of life.

  5. amigo
    amigo
    May 17, 2015, 1:41 pm

    Check this piece of puke inducing unbridled hypocracy from nietanyahu.

    “Netanyahu: Jews gave world idea of man’s dignity, no room for racism in Jewish state .”

    Seems as if they forgot to adopt their own plan.There is not one drop of dignity in the zionist mentality.

    “Calling the Ethiopian immigrants “flesh of our flesh, equal among equals,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that there is no place for racism and discrimination in Israeli society.

    “We will fight with all our strength against those unacceptable phenomena,” he said of racism and discrimination at an annual ceremony at Mt. Herzl commemorating Ethiopian Jews who died while trying to make their way to Israel. “We will uproot this from our lives. We will turn it into something inferior, despicable.”

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/PM-Jews-gave-world-idea-of-mans-dignity-no-room-for-racism-in-Jewish-state-403316

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