On October 7th, the military wing of HAMAS, the ruling party in Gaza, launched an attack on Israel, killing 1,300 people. This included families in their homes, young people at a concert, as well as soldiers and officers. In response, Israel has inflicted a collective punishment on the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza. More than 2,700 have been killed in airstrikes, including 1,000 children. At the same time Israel has blocked shipments of food and medicine, and cut off electricity and water.
Last week, the Israeli military ordered 1.2 million people from the north of Gaza to move south or face annihilation. Where will they go? The south is already over-populated without enough resources to take care of the people who live there. Some who have left the north have been attacked, bombed and killed while trying to flee! Now, the Israeli army has tens of thousands of troops and tanks ready to roll into Gaza.
According to the United Nations, Gaza is an open-air prison maintained by Israeli military occupation. It is 140 square miles with 2.2 million people — one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with the least resources. It has been occupied for over 50 years, with Israel controlling everything and everyone that goes in or out. People have not been allowed to enter or leave freely since 2006.
Most people have to rely on public assistance and international aid to survive. Eighty percent of Gazans do not have adequate food, drinking water, or medicine. Electricity only works for a few hours a day. Eighty percent of the water is unfit for human consumption. About half of the people in Gaza are 18 or younger. What prospects do they have? Imagine the despair and rage of people, living their whole lives in these conditions under a military occupation.
This latest round of violence by the Israeli military is not the first. Since 2006 there have been five deadly invasions of Gaza, inflicting horrific death and destruction. Whole families have been wiped out, their neighborhoods reduced to rubble. In the war in 2015, more than 2,000 people were killed, mostly civilians, including over 500 children.
In these attacks, and the current bombing of Gaza, Israel has used and continues to use white phosphorus bombs, a horrific weapon that burns anything it touches and nothing can put out the resulting fires, a weapon that most states in the world consider illegal.
Throughout the occupation, Palestinians in Gaza have staged massive protests, sent petitions to the United Nations, and made moral appeals to the world to end the occupation. In 2018 and 2019, people marched in the tens of thousands to the walls that enclose Gaza, demanding that Israel open the borders so they can access basic necessities. Their nonviolent protests were met with sniper fire as Israeli soldiers intentionally maimed, crippled, and killed the demonstrators.
There is widespread support of the struggle of the Palestinians by people in the Arab countries, but their voices are ignored while most of their governments have been complicit in the occupation of Gaza.
The U.S. government gives total support to Israel. It guarantees $3.6 billion in aid every year, much of it to the military. Israel is its key military ally in the region, providing support to the U.S. wars to dominate this strategic region, and ensuring the oil profits for multinational corporations. Israel’s atrocities are being carried out in our name, using our tax dollars to carry out murder and genocide! The major European powers support Israel as well.
Israeli officials openly call for ethnic cleansing, an act of genocide to erase the Palestinians of Gaza. Most U.S. politicians fully support this butchery! President Biden and the Democrats pledge their full support for Israel, so do Republicans and some openly echo Israeli politicians’ calls for genocide. The current war and impending massacres depend on the full support of the U.S. government.
We cannot remain silent while this atrocity is carried out in our name! We must stand with the Palestinian people and condemn this slaughter! We must demonstrate and act in any way we can to oppose the U.S. government’s support of genocide against the Palestinian people.