Tuesday, July 15

Justifying the killing of hundreds of civilians in Gaza

Since the end of the second Intifada, Palestinians have being trying to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing Israeli occupation and building of Jewish settlements on their land, which is illegal under international law. In 2013, the United Nations adopted 22 resolutions against Israel, some of which included the building of the Wall and settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian refugees, the right to self-determination and human rights of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. Despite all the adopted UN resolutions, Israel continues to ignore international law; and, the UN continues not to hold Israel accountable. Palestinians in the West Bank continue to suffer on a daily basis due to the ongoing occupation by Israel with checkpoints, indefinite detentions, intimidation and humiliation from Israeli soldiers to name a few.
Shortly before the kidnapping of the Israeli settlers, two Palestinian teenagers, Nadim Siam Abu Nuwara (17) and Mohammed Mahmoud Odeh Salameh (16) were shot by Israeli snipers outside Ofer prison during the annual Nakba protest. A recent report by Amnesty International outlined how “reckless force” had been used by the Israeli army and police since 2011. “In all cases examined by Amnesty International, Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life.” Still the international community and media refuse to condemn Israel.
Following the kidnapping of the three Israeli settlers, hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested and held without charge, including children. Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16 year old boy, was abducted by Israeli settler; tortured and burned alive. Unfortunately public attention for the murder has been diverted to the current attacks on Gaza.
Israel claims that Hamas is responsible for the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli settlers and that the were the first to start firing rockets into Israel. This is nothing but Israeli propaganda. In the eyes of the Palestinian people of Gaza, Hamas is not a terrorist organization, as Israel claims, but a democratically elected government voted for by the people of Gaza. In order for any peace talks/negotiations to take place, Israel needs to accept that Hamas represent the people of Gaza and they must enter into talks with them in order to put an end to the current situation.
If Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East, then surely they can respect the people of Gaza’s right to elect its own government. The truth is Israel, without any evidence, decided that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping of the three Israeli settlers and commenced the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza without any consideration for the civilian population. Hamas didn’t start firing missiles until two days after Israel’s first air strike. Israel claims that the fighters in Gaza fight among the civilian population, storing weapons in civilian homes and using civilians as human shields. Gaza is one of the most densely populated place in the world. Israel claims it has the right to defend itself; but at what cost? The cost to Palestine and Israel is as follows :
Numbers                            Palestine            Israel
Dead                                       185+                 0
Injured                                    1400+               10
Homes demolished                 560                   0
Homes damaged.                 12,800                0
80% of those killed have been civilians including more than 30 children.
Several families have also been killed since Israel commenced “Operation Protective Edge”. In addition, there have been attempts made to prevent local journalist from reporting on Israel’s ongoing slaughter in Gaza. One example of this is the killing of Hamdi Shihab, driver for Media 24 news whose care was targeted by an Israeli air strike. The unfair reporting of the current situation by western media has been unbelievable to say the least. Diane Sawyer of ABC news showed pictures of Palestinians in the aftermath of a recent bombing and described the as Israelis.  Fox News have also been complicit in this unfair and untrue reporting by showing pictures of Gaza in ruins after a bombing with the headline “militants fire rockets on Israel”.
The truth about the current and ongoing situation in Gaza and Palestine has been for far too long misrepresent by western media in favour of Israel. What is going on now is not a war, it is genocide.

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