Israeli action in Gaza is a war crime

Haiti, the Congo, Afghanistan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia − there are many countries and societies that suffer interminably and almost silently as the world powers press on expanding their military and economic might on a global scale. The deliberate bombing of women, children and men with powerful rockets and artillery fire is an atrocity and a war crime. The actions of the Israelis in Gaza have so outraged the world that even the normally tongue-tied Security Council of the United Nations has had to criticize Israel’s relentless assault and leading members of the Jewish community in London, usually passionate defenders of the state of Israel, have expressed their abhorrence at the wanton killings and atrocities of the invasion.

Israel is a state with influence, with powerful friends and with clout in the international community. The actions it complains of against a Palestinian faction, Hamas, cannot be condoned, but Israel’s response is disproportionate and barbaric, modelled on the most obnoxious examples of human cruelty, the genocide of native Americans, the Atlantic slave trade and the Nazi holocaust of the Second World War.

The heavy and merciless blowing up of children, women and men cries out for condemnation and world action to stop the unfolding slaughter. James Petras, American academic, wrote the following on the nightmare unfolding in Gaza:

“Moving directly from its totalitarian vision to its military blueprint to the savaging of Palestinian population centers, the Jewish state destroyed the principal university with over 18,000 students (mostly women), mosques, pharmacies, electrical and water lines, power stations, fishing villages, fishing boats and the little fishing port that provided a meager supply of fish for the starving population. They destroyed roads, transport facilities, food warehouses, science buildings, small factories, shops and apartments. They destroyed a women’s dormitory at the university. In the words of the Israel leader: ‘…because everything is connected to everything…’ it is necessary to destroy each and every facet of life, which allows humans to exist with some dignity and independence.”

Israel’s defenders are reduced to bringing up a quasi-religious argument that seeks to somehow present nuclear armed Israel as a victim in the Middle East. A cursory glance at the facts and the Israeli military industrial complex with a seven billion dollar annual budget says otherwise.

There are also the massive support tentacles of AIPAC – the high-powered lobby group and the greatest supporter and benefactor of the Israeli state and policy – with ties to boardrooms, media, the USA Congress and the Pentagon. Any objective observer, after considering these facts, would hopefully develop a more clear-eyed assessment of the manner in which the Jewish state behaves in the Middle East.

What are the reasons for this latest incursion? There are several theories but one is very straightforward: the continuation of a policy of expansion under the guise of the survival of the Jewish state. Most of Gaza’s populations are survivors of 1948 when 13,000 Palestinians were murdered and hundreds of towns were erased and people driven from their homes in the area. History records that in 1967 Israel, to cite one source, “seized the remaining 22 per cent of Palestine including East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and continues to hold them in violation of United Nations resolutions.”

A second probable reason for the Gaza invasion is the Jewish state’s apprehension about the possible new direction of the incoming US president and the fact that the economic morass in the United States might lead to a fall-off in economic support for Israel.

The US military and state provide Israel with billions of dollars annually, by far the largest recipient of US foreign aid in the world.
The third reason is revenge for the defeat of the Israeli military at the hands of Hezbollah in their last incursion into Lebanon.

The fourth reason for the incursion is the forthcoming Israeli elections and its main contenders. Defence Minister Ehud Barak (the once and would-be prime minister) − his eye fixed on February elections – is employing mass murder as his party’s latest vote-getting appeal.

The western media hardly report protests of Jews in Israel, North America and Europe against the slaughter in Gaza. One of the foremost critics of the Jewish state is Noam Chomsky, himself a Jew. Other Jews inside and outside of Israel have condemned the incursion into Gaza. Naomi Klein, the internationally acclaimed writer and activist, has recently argued that the best strategy to “end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.” While she admits this will be a difficult task, she sees it as perhaps the only way that these massacres will end. And the massacres in Gaza have in fact provoked a rise in anti-Zionist activism by Jewish women and men who believe that the apartheid practised by the Israeli state is a betrayal of all that Jews have historically stood for.

Yours faithfully,

Andaiye, David Hinds, Rupert Roopnaraine, Karen de Souza, Wazir Mohamed, Denis Canterbury, Alissa Trotz, Nigel Westmaas, Eusi Kwayana, Chris Ram, Abbyssinian Carto, Moses Bhagwan

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