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Attack on Gaza

January 1, 2009 No Comment

The Gaza Crisis

In late December 2008, Israel launched a major attack on Gaza, purportedly in response to Hamas rocket attacks along the border. The operation was the beginning of a well-planned strategy to create a security pretext to re-insert itself in the Occupied Territories.

Background

Having agreed to disengage from Gaza in 2005, Israel began war preparations first by blockading Gaza off from the entire world. The siege deprived Gaza, a discontinuous and divided strip of land carrying a population of 1.5 million Palestinians, of electricity, fuel, food imports, medical supplies, and vital maintenance goods and spare parts. As water and sanitation services deteriorated, hunger and ill-health intensified, and mortality rates increased, international aid agencies like Oxfam warned of a major public health crisis.

Disproportionate Violence

On 19th September 2007, Israel’s security cabinet unanimously declared the entire Gaza Strip an “enemy entity” – due to ongoing Hamas rocket-fire. Yet that rocket-fire was and is a response to continued indiscriminate Israeli military bombardments. In January 2007, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) staged three days of air strikes killing 30 Palestinians, and on the 17th, the Gaza strip was placed under total closure. In response, over 150 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel between the 15th and 18th of that month by Hamas. Yet while these caused no injuries or fatalities to any Israelis, in that same period, nearly 700 Palestinians (including 224 civilians of whom 78 were children) were killed by Israeli extra-judicial executions.

The Siege of Gaza: Silent Genocide?

Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, observed:

“Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendenciesfrom culminating in a collective tragedy… But it would be unrealistic to expect the UN to do anything in the face of this crisis, given the pattern of US support for Israel and taking into account the extent to which European governments have lent their weight to recent illicit efforts to crush Hamas as a Palestinian political force.”

Israel’s December 08 Military Offensive

The siege was a strategy to prepare the ground for a protracted military operation, known as “Cast Lead”. Although justified on the grounds of stopping Hamas rocket-fire, the operation was planned over six months before the launch of the operation at the end of 2008.

Hints that the scope of the operation, already killing and injuring thousands of Palestinian civilians, would be far broader than hitherto admitted, came when Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told Israeli Army Radio that the Palestinians would “bring upon themselves a bigger Holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”

The international community has not only condoned the preponderant Israeli atrocities, its leading members in the US, UK and EU have tacitly supported it in the supply of weapons and financial aid to Israel, as well as in providing moral and diplomatic support to Israel’s objective of destroying through any means necessary the democratically-elected Palestinian government of Hamas.

It is essential for concerned citizens around the world to write to their elected political representatives, to mainstream media institutions, and to international agencies like the UN, to demand that they condemn the Israeli terrorist attacks on Gaza, as well as to urge Israel to cease its repeated war crimes and crimes against humanity in violation of the Geneva Conventions, and to withdraw to its 1967 borders in accordance with UN resolutions.

Please see below a sample letter addressed to British Foreign Secretary David Milliband. Please use this letter as a template to write to the Foreign Secretary with your own concerns. This letter can also be used as a template to write to your MP, the media, and other agencies.

Write to your MP and Government:

It is essential to make your voice heard. The more voices expressing outrage and demanding urgent action to halt the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, the more difficult it will be to ignore the reality of what is happening on the ground.

(sample letter below)

Below is a list of contact details you can use:

1. Write to your MP You can find your MPs details on this site http://www.writetothem.com. Just enter your postcode.

2. Write to the Labour Party You can send a message to the Labour Party using this online form http://www.labour.org.uk

4. British Consulate Jerusalem 00972 02 541 4100
British Embassy Tel Aviv 02 3510 1167 / 03 527 1572
Call them asking what the British government is doing about the attacks on Gaza.

5. Prime Minister – Gordon Brown Fax PM’s office on +442079250918

6. Foreign Secretary – David Miliband private.office@fco.gov.uk

Sample Letter

Here is a sample letter, please personalise if possible – personalised letters are more effective:

Dear Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mr David Miliband

I am writing to you to urge you to immediately call on Israel to cease its attacks on Gaza. I am horrified to learn that over 200 people have been killed in Gaza in the last few hours and many more will be killed if Israel does not cease its attacks immediately.

I also urge you to call for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to press for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The response of the international community in urging Israel to minimise civilian casualties is entirely unacceptable when over 200 people, many of whom are women, children and innocent civilians, have been killed in the past few hours. Israel must be pushed to immediately cease all its attacks.

The international community must accept that it has a moral imperative to bring an end to the violence unfolding in Gaza. The UN Security Council should meet straight away, call for a ceasefire and impose an arms embargo on Israel.

Yours sincerely,

Undersigned

Other Campaigning Resources

IHRC Urgent Alert: Write to UN General Assembly President urging for creation of Israeli war crimes tribunal

IHRC Alert: Write to Egyptian President urging him to open the Refah crossing to alleviate the humanitarian plight of Palestinians in Gaza

Palestinian Civil Society Campaign for Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights

Nationwide demonstrations and protests against Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity

MPAC Action Alert: How Muslims should mobilize mosques and communities to engage with the media, politicians and civil society in support of the human rights of Palestinians in Gaza

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