An Open Letter From Gaza
One year after the massacre in Gaza, we the people of Gaza need your support to end the inhuman blockade.
This week marks one year since Israel began its attack on the Gaza Strip: a year since phosphorus bombs, dime bombs and other weapons of death and destruction were unleashed on a defenceless civilian population. A year since the people of the world demanded that Israel end its attack on Gaza.
In this Israeli war of aggression on the occupied Gaza Strip, many of our civilians were massacred by Israel’s indiscriminate bombing, condemned by UN experts and leading human rights organisations as war crimes and crimes against humanity. This assault left over 1,440 Palestinians dead, predominantly civilians, of whom 431 were children. Another 5,380 Palestinians were injured.
We, the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the overwhelming majority of whom are refugees who were violently expelled from our homes by Zionist forces in 1948, were subjected to three weeks of relentless Israeli state terror, whereby Israeli warplanes systematically targeted civilian areas, reduced whole neighbourhoods and vital civilian infrastructure to rubble and partially destroyed scores of schools, including several run by the UN, where civilians were taking shelter.
This came after 18 months of a crippling, deadly hermetic Israeli siege of Gaza, a severe form of collective punishment described by John Dugard, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights as “a prelude to genocide.”
The war on Gaza was pre-medicated. Matan Vilnai, ex-Deputy Defense Minister of Israel, told Army Radio during “Operation Hot Winter” (29 February 2008): “They will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”
In the days following this statement, 107 Palestinians, including 28 children, were killed. The international community failed to take action. This inaction, served as a green light for the atrocities in January 2009.
But the attack on Gaza is not yet over: we, the Palestinians of Gaza are still living with our physical, mental and emotional wounds. Our bodies cannot heal because the medicine that we require is not allowed into the Gaza Strip. Our homes cannot be rebuilt and the mangled steel and concrete cannot be removed because the trucks and bulldozers that can remove them are not allowed into Gaza.
Never before has a population been denied the basic requirements for survival as a deliberate policy of colonisation, occupation and apartheid, but this is what Israel is doing to us, the people of Gaza, today: 1.5 million people live without a secure supply of water, food, electricity, medicines, with almost half of them being children under the age of 15. It is a slow genocide of the kind unparalleled in human history.
Earlier this month, Ronnie Kasrils, ex South African Intelligence Minister and member of the ANC, said in the UK that what Israel is doing to the Palestinians is far worse than what was done to black South Africans under apartheid. And, former US president Jimmy Carter said that the Palestinian people trapped in Gaza are being treated “like animals.” The people of Gaza need your support to end the blockade. Over 1400 international activists from over 42 countries will be in Gaza on December 31.
They will march with us to demand that Israel lift its’ blockade of the Gaza Strip immediately and permanently. We ask you to show your solidarity with Gaza on the same day: wherever you may be, organize a protest, a march or a petition collection in your own country. There are 1.5 million people in Gaza: we want to see 1.5 million people around the world support us as we take our demands to the Israeli state. We need you to show Israel that we have a common humanity; that you watch what it does and you will not tolerate it because silence is complicity. We need you to show Israel on December 31 2009 that there is no place for their kind of war mongering and barbarism in the world and that the people of the world reject it. We need you to show us, the people of Gaza, that you remember the horror that we face each day, and that you are with us as we fight against the Israeli-apartheid killing machine.
Signed by Palestinian Academic Sector, Boycott National Committee, PNGO (Civil Society Sector), Labour Sector, Women’s Sector, Students’ Sector and Youth Sector
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