Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza has created outrage round the world. More than 190 people have been killed in over 1,300 air strikes. Another 1,000 have been injured as Socialist Worker went to press.
Palestinian journalist Lara Abdurahman, spoke from Gaza. She told Socialist Worker, “We here in Gaza have the courage to resist.
“I hope that all of you will have the courage to go onto the streets to protest in support of us. We worried we might be forgotten. Thank you for your support.”
Dr Mona Qasim El-Farra works in a hospital in Gaza. She said, “I am appalled that Israeli propaganda claims they don’t attack civilians.
“At least 70 percent of those killed are civilians. The injured are mostly civilians. Civilians are suffering.
“I care for all children. I am a human being. I am a physician. But there is a huge difference between Israeli children running to their shelters and Palestinian children being bombed and killed with no defence.”
The death toll in Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza had passed 190 as Socialist Worker went to press. On top of this more than 1,000 Palestinians have been injured. No Israeli has died since the bombing started.
The Egyptian government has proposed a ceasefire. But Hamas, which controls Gaza, has said there is no point without a deal.
Journalist Lara Abdurahman spoke to Socialist Worker from Gaza. She said, “It’s sad and calm here–like the city of ghosts. No one is out. There are no cars on the streets, only ambulances.
“Israeli warplanes are flying over the city all the time and they are bombing every couple of minutes. I’m staying at home sitting on the internet to cover the situation.
“Palestinians learned to be strong through endless attacks. We just want to live freely.”
The violence escalated following the discovery of the bodies of three kidnapped Israelis and a revenge attack in which Mohamed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive.
Three Israelis have been charged with his murder. Reports suggest that they intend to plead insanity.
Mohamed’s family do not hold out much hope for justice.
The United Nations (UN) estimated that 77 percent of the people killed in Gaza were civilians.
In one attack Israel bombed a charity housing disabled people, killing two and injuring five others.
Some 22 members of the same family were killed last Sunday when two bombs blew up the home of Majid Batsh.
Israel has called on residents of northern Gaza to evacuate their homes. It has not said where they are supposed to go. Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world with 1.4 million people crammed into an area of roughly 365 square kilometres.
Hamas runs the government in Gaza. It has launched nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel since the latest round of fighting began.
Its armed wing announced on Friday of last week that it intended to target Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.
Northern Israel has also come under attack from rocket fire from Southern Lebanon.
The Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank is less defiant. Its president Mahmoud Abbas met UN special envoy Robert Serry last Sunday in Ramallah and called for “international protection for the Palestinian lands and nation.”
Clashes have continued in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Munir Ahmad Badareen, 22, was shot and killed by the Israeli army in clashes near Hebron on Monday of this week.
David Cameron rushed to contact the Israeli government. “The prime minister strongly condemned the appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
“The prime minister reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel in the face of such attacks, and underlined Israel’s right to defend itself from them.”
Moshe Feiglin is deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
He called on Israel to cut off electricity to Gaza to disrupt patients’ dialysis machines. “The blood of a dialysis patient in Gaza is not redder than the blood of our IDF [Israeli army] soldiers who will, God forbid, need to enter [Gaza],” he said.
Three Arab MPs were expelled from the Knesset on Monday of last week for condemning the ongoing Gaza massacre and the incitement of racist violence by Israel’s leaders.
Lara Abdurahman writes for The Institute For Middle East Understanding imeu.org
Eight years in, Israeli seige is choking Gaza
Israel has been worried recently by a unity agreement between the two main Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah. The two groups came together in the government of the Palestinian Authority that oversees the West Bank and Gaza earlier this year.
Israel refuses to work with Hamas and immediately cancelled peace talks.
The US threatened that the deal might have consequences for any financial aid given to the Palestinians.
The Islamist organisation Hamas won a large majority in Gaza in the 2006 legislative elections.
Many Palestinians saw it as fighting for their rights when they felt the earlier liberation movement Fatah had capitulated to Israel.
However Fatah, Israel and the West all refused to recognise the election result. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.
Israel’s current attack is the third major incursion since then.
Dr Mona Qasim El-Farra, a physician in Gaza, told Socialist Worker, “Resistance in Gaza continues despite the ceasefire in 2012, because we don’t want to go back to the way things were.”
Gaza remains under blockade by Israel. It closed the borders after Hamas won the election.
Mona said, “We demand the lifting of the siege, opening the sea for fishermen and opening the border to make sure that this never happens again.”
Backed by US dollars
Israel is the largest recipient of US aid. It gets £1.8 billion each year–more than all African countries combined.
In 2009 the US made “an investment in peace” by promising Israel £18 billion to spend on weapons over the next decade. Some 26.3 percent had to be spent on US weapons.
Britain supplies parts for weapons, including F-16s.
Boycott can isolate Israel
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) is effective because Israel fears international isolation.
The Israeli cabinet has commissioned a paper on the campaign. It’s not the economic consequences it fears so much as the ideological damage of bring “delegitimised”.
When top scientist Stephen Hawking refused to attend a major conference after campaigners approached him, it was a blow to Israel’s standing.
BDS can be taken up in every British university with partnership agreements with Israeli counterparts. Every Israeli university has links with the military.
Protests around the world show rage at Gaza bombs
Around 10,000 people protested outside the Israeli embassy in London on Friday of last week against the attacks. It was one of a wave of protests across Britain and around the world.
Glasgow saw 4,000 on the streets. There were also sizeable protests in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Leicester, Cardiff, Swansea and Nottingham.
Thousands demonstrated in New York, Paris and Norway’s capital Oslo. Around 3,000 protesters held a demonstration at the international Criminal Court at the Hague.
Jeremy Corbyn MP was one of the speakers at the London protest. He told Socialist Worker why he supported the demonstration.
“Collective punishment is illegal in any aspect of international law. All those who have died are victims of Israel’s occupation,” he said.
“We turned out in our thousands tonight, and we’ll turn out in our thousands again–both here and around the world–until the Palestinians get peace and recognition.”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign called a protest at the BBC for Tuesday of this week over its biased reporting.