July 21, 2014
Within the past few weeks there has been a major upsurge in the violence being perpetrated by Israeli armed forces on Palestinian civilians. Almost every day both mainstream and social media are flooded with gruesome images of the many men, women and children who have become victims of extremely violent attacks by Israeli soldiers. The MSJ joins many the world over in calling for an end to this absurd violence so that peace can be restored and the daily lives of the people of this region would no longer be threatened.
We condemn the recent massacre in populated Shejaiya neighbourhood where over 60 people (women, children and the elderly) were killed. Since the start of this conflict, over 600 Palestinians including women and approximately 100 children have lost their lives by the unlawful actions by Israel. The deliberate targeting of homes, hospitals and mosques in this so called “Operation Protective Edge” is a violation of international law. In fact Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations have all condemned Israel’s violation of international law.
What is happening now in Gaza is ‘asymmetrical warfare’ in terms of the amount of death, injury, destruction, and overall misery being inflicted by Israel is in absolutely no way compared to the response from the Palestinians. In addition, the blockade by Israel and the closure of key trading tunnels with Egypt in 2013 had created great hardship for ordinary Palestinians. As a result of this blockade there have been severe fuel shortages leading to regular power cuts affecting hospitals, schools and the water and sewerage systems. This blockade has also placed added pressure on the social life with unemployment as high as 40%. MSJ calls for an end to this inhumane economic blockade.
An appreciation for the historical context of this violence is important to understand the injustice which is at the centre of this appalling situation. At the root of these unwarranted attacks is the continued and unjust denial of the right of the people of Palestine to settle and lead peaceful lives in Gaza and the West Bank. Following World War I and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire Great Britain was given mandates for Palestine and Transjordan (the territories that include the area of present day Israel, Jordan, West Bank and the Gaza Strip).
Following World War II the state of Israel was established by carving out land that was formerly Palestine. This resulted in Palestinians being unjustly displaced from their homeland and for many decades had to suffer the indignity of being stateless as well as being forced to live in “camps”. This situation was made worse when after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israelis settled on seized land, further denying Palestinians the right to their land. The UN has condemned the ongoing construction of Israeli settlements in these occupied lands as a deterrent to the establishment of peace..
Therefore, peace would only be possible when Israel ceases from denying the Palestinians their right to exit and live peacefully in their homeland and to having sovereign determination of their destiny. The MSJ reiterates our condemnation of the horrific violence unfolding in the Middle East as well as our call for an end to the conflict and the restoration of peace and the unjust blockade against the People of Gaza.
Movement for Social Justice
David Abdulah
Political Leader