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Genocide in Gaza: Global outrage, resistance and a wider war?

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Aug 6, 2014 - 6:40:23 PM

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Palestinian medics wrap in burial shrouds the bodies of children from the Al-Najar immediate and extended family, after an Israeli air strike on their building of four apartments, at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 29. Photo: AP/Wide World photos
“We watch in horror as Israeli occupation forces destroyed mosques, schools, hospitals, agricultural areas, industries, and even the only power station in Gaza. We ask people of conscience to contact media and politicians to ensure that Israel is not immune from compliance with International Humanitarian Law. We also ask for expansion of campaigns of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS).”
Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Researcher at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in Occupied Palestine

A massive march and rally was held outside the White House in Washington, D.C., drawing thousands protesting Israel’s genocidal military assault against the Palestinian people, and the U.S. government’s financial military support.

With the Palestinian civilian body count continuing to rise and world opinion against Israel’s brutality growing, many waved flags and held signs critical of the preferential treatment enjoyed by Israel and a foreign policy double standard which often finds the U.S. looking the other way when Israel commits human rights abuses. They called for an end to the Gaza occupation and Israeli state-sponsored terrorism.

Protestors gather in front of the White House in Washington during a demonstration against Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip. Photo: AP World Wide Photo
On June 2, there was a very public announcement regarding the establishment of a unity government between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. This was roundly condemned by the Israeli government. Political analysts said it was only a matter of time before Israel would strike in order to prevent budding Palestinian unity.
Nancy Mansour-Leigh of the New York based activist group Existence Is Resistance has been traveling between Ramallah, a city in the West Bank, and Jerusalem, which is about 40 miles from the Gaza Strip. She and others have been actively protesting and visiting children and civilians who have been wounded. She was almost shot by Israeli soldiers during a recent protest, but some of her friends were not so fortunate.

“In front of me they shot 281 people,” said Ms. Mansour-Leigh. “They just started firing. Five of my female friends got shot,” she added. “We are cockroaches to them. We’re not even people. We’re not human beings to the Israelis.”

The pressure is taking a mental and physical toll on her. She has lost 22 pounds and only gets about two hours of sleep per night. She searches a list of names daily to see if her friends are alive, because they have no electricity and are still being bombed. Many of the young children she visits in the hospitals have lost their parents and don’t even know it yet. Some of her male friends send her photos so that if they are martyred, someone will know.

“There’s a video that’s floating around that came out a few days ago where Israeli youth are singing songs and celebrating saying ‘Gaza is a graveyard no more schools for Gaza because all the kids are dead’ and they were clapping and laughing. I wouldn’t celebrate Israeli kids being dead,” she said.

Voices of dissent

Dr. Cornel West’s voice trembled with emotion as he spoke in front of the White House August 2. He called Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama war criminals. Any human being who chooses to promote occupation and annihilation is a war criminal, he said.

"We’re here out of a deep, deep love for our precious Palestinian brothers and sisters who are undergoing not just occupation, not just domination, not just humiliation, but more and more everyday annihilation and we won’t stand for it,” Dr. West said. “Barack Obama is a war criminal, not because he’s Black or half-African and White, but because his drones have killed 233 innocent children and because he facilitates the killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.”

On his blog, Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh who is a researcher at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in Occupied Palestine called upon the international community to continue activism on behalf of the people of Gaza.

“We watch in horror as Israeli occupation forces destroyed mosques, schools, hospitals, agricultural areas, industries, and even the only power station in Gaza. We ask people of conscience to contact media and politicians to ensure that Israel is not immune from compliance with International Humanitarian Law. We also ask for expansion of campaigns of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). Hundreds of thousands around the world demonstrated for Gaza and we are grateful. But more actions at this stage are needed to prevent large-scale genocide and human catastrophe in Gaza,” Prof. Qumsiyeh noted.

Israel’s bloody hands

According to the most recent information available, Israel has killed at least 1,822 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 377 children. Over 9,400 others have been wounded.

While Israel claims Hamas places their weapons caches in civilian areas and uses that as an excuse to bomb hospitals and schools, the reality of the matter is that the 139 square mile Gaza Strip is a densely populated area with more than 1.8 million inhabitants. That’s approximately 12,000 people per square mile. On Aug. 3, a United Nations school in Rafah, which is located in southern Gaza, was bombed and at least 10 civilians were killed. According to the Institute for Middle East Understanding, United Nations officials said the Israeli military was given the exact GPS coordinates of the school’s location 33 times in order to prevent the shelling of the school where approximately 3,000 Palestinians sought refuge. The final notification took place just one hour prior to the attack, however, Israel still bombed it.

Hanan is 3 years old from Jabaliya, Gaza. She is in Jerusalem being treated after Israeli bombing. Photo: Nancy Mansour-Leigh/Existence Is Resistance
UN spokesman Christopher Gunness, working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Palestine, broke down in tears during a recent media appearance on Al Jazeera Arabic, as he discussed the horrifying fate of Palestinian children and civilians.

An already dreadfully appalling humanitarian crisis has been made worse with Israel’s bloody aggression named “Operation Protective Edge” which began July 8. The UN Office for the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 373,000 Palestinian children will require psychological counseling and support. Approximately 485,000 people are displaced and staying in emergency shelters, and approximately 1.5 million people are not in shelters and have either very little or no access to water. Human rights activists have described Gaza as an “open-air prison” with Palestinians routinely unable to import daily essentials such as food and medical supplies because of blockades imposed by the Israeli government.

Palestinians have been suffering under a system of apartheid since Israel’s formation in 1948. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were occupied in 1967. Palestinians are constantly subjected to random searches, detainment, and restrictions on freedom of movement. Quite often, they are victims of brutality at the hands of Israeli military, police, and armed xenophobic Zionist settlers who routinely encroach on historical Palestinian lands. Despite international condemnation and calls to stop, the Israeli government continues forcible annexation of Palestinian land.

On June 2, there was a very public announcement regarding the establishment of a unity government between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah. This was roundly condemned by the Israeli government. Political analysts said it was only a matter of time before Israel would strike in order to prevent budding Palestinian unity. Bill Chambers of the Palestine Solidarity Group of Chicago said Israel was already planning severe military action, which is why the Zionists acted so quickly.

“The Israeli government is really using the tragic opportunity of the three Israeli teenagers who were abducted and killed,” said Mr. Chambers.

Shortly after it was publicly reported that three missing Israeli teenagers, Gilad Shaer,16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, had been found dead, instead of pleading for calm, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whipped Israelis into an emotional frenzy using American-style dog whistle politics and calling for vengeance. The death of 15-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir soon followed. He was kidnapped, tortured and burned alive by his abductors in an apparent retaliatory attack. Often forgotten in the controlled media’s narrative is the fact that there is no evidence that any Palestinian group or faction was responsible for the disappearance and death of the three Israelis.

“Their plan was to attack villages in the West Bank, to bomb Gaza, they did a wholesale arrest of Hamas. This was really an excuse—as many people have said—for really a collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” Mr. Chambers added.

In recent comments about the events taking place in Gaza, President Barack Obama again reiterated the talking point that Israel has “the right to defend itself” but also admitted the Palestinian civilian casualties have to be addressed. His attempts to maintain diplomatic balance have been awkward at times, but his words represent slight verbal shifting from hardline, total commitment to Israel statements typically heard.

“Now, at the same time, we’ve also been clear that innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience and we have to do more to protect them,” said President Obama in an Aug. 1 White House press briefing. “Anybody who has been watching some of these images I’d like to think should recognize the costs. You have children who are getting killed. You have women, defenseless, who are getting killed. You have Israelis whose lives are disrupted constantly and living in fear. And those are costs that are avoidable if we’re able to get a cease-fire that preserves Israel’s ability to defend itself and gives it the capacity to have an assurance that they’re not going to be constantly threatened by rocket fire in the future, and, conversely, an agreement that recognizes the Palestinian need to be able to make a living and the average Palestinian’s capacity to live a decent life.”

Tensions have recently escalated with Netanyahu reportedly advising the Obama administration “not to ever second guess me again” on his dealings with Hamas.

Only eight members of the U.S. Congress voted Aug.1 against sending more money to Israel. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.,) Jim Moran (D-Va.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) all voted against sending $225 million to bolster Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The vote was still 395-8 in favor of additional funding.

Israel receives annually over $3 billion in Foreign Military Funding from the United States. While the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) claims the funding is to maintain Israel’s “qualitative and quantitative” military superiority over its enemies in the region, groups like the Anti-Defamation League point fingers at the Islamic Republic of Iran as the dangerous enemy. History, however, suggests those in the region have more to fear from Israel’s bloodthirsty military apparatus and their nuclear capacity.

Global outrage, resistance strengthens, and a wider war?

Almost all of Latin America has taken strong stands against Israel’s actions. Cuba severed ties with Israel way back in 1973 and Venezuela did the same following Israel’s 2008-2009 brutal aggression. Recently Bolivian President Evo Morales declared Israel to be a “terrorist state” and revoked travel privileges that had been in place since 1972. He also fi led a request with the United Nations to prosecute Israel for crimes against humanity. President Morales had already broken off diplomatic relations with Israel back in 2009. Other Latin American countries, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and El Salvador have all recalled their ambassadors from Tel Aviv.

Dr. Norman Finkelstein was recently arrested with others in New York at a demonstration on behalf of the people of Gaza. He announced another civil action on Aug. 8 at the Israeli Mission in New York and the United Nations.

“I am shocked by the cowardly Israeli massacre in Gaza, and Barack Obama’s cynical complicity,” Dr. Finkelstein shared via Facebook. “I am despairing that anything can be done to stop it. But it’s still in our power to bear witness, so it cannot be said that we stood by silently,” he wrote.

Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, prominent lecturer and founder of the Islamic Online University, wrote: “I always thought that Israel controls Gaza. But today, I have realized that Israel controls all Arab countries except Gaza.”

Mr. Chambers, who has been a pro-Palestinian activist for over a decade, believes the only hope to stop the carnage is by supporting the growing international “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement” aimed at Israel.

“That’s going to be the only thing that the state of Israel is going to understand,” said Mr. Chambers.

Others, however, believe ultimately that only continued resistance will break the back of their Zionist oppressors. Palestinian resistance fighters have killed 64 Israeli soldiers, during the recent conflict, which appears to be the only thing that has caused Mr. Netanyahu to consider scaling back the heavy-handed military assault.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly called Israel a “rabid dog” and said actions in Gaza were genocidal. He criticized the calls for a ceasefi re by the U.S. and Europe, and instead called on the Muslim world to arm the resistance fighters. This would, of course, widen the war. Palestinians in the region lack basic necessities, and it is the duty of Muslim nations to provide, he noted.

“Arab rulers in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states are partners in the crime. A victorious Palestine is a threat to their existence as corrupt, puppet dictators,” offered Palestinian Ali Baghdadi, also via Facebook. The long time columnist for Muhammad Speaks and The Final Call has often been critical of the slowness of Muslim leaders across the globe to respond to Palestinians in need.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has often warned that war in that region would bring about destruction of Israel and ultimately, the destruction of the United States of America after the world becomes engulfed in what is called the War of Armageddon.

As accusations fl y from political officials from many nations, bombs continue to fall, bullets continue to fly, and there appears to be no end to bloodshed as a global elite targets Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many Muslim nations in parts of Africa for re-colonization and destruction.

Nancy Mansour-Leigh said it is important for the people of Gaza to know that they have support. They are happy when they are told there are demonstrations going on in America and the United Kingdom on their behalf, she said. And to those who are critical of Hamas and their methods, she had pointed words.

“I want people to understand that no matter how they feel about Hamas, if there was no Hamas, there would be no Palestine whatsoever. If there was no Hamas, Gaza would be gone. We support the resistance 1000 percent and there is nothing left but the resistance at this point,” said Ms. Mansour-Leigh. “Don’t use Hamas as an excuse to justify the massacre that Israel is committing against the Palestinians and has been committing before Hamas was even formed.”