|As of January 3, the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza has killed over 450 Palestinians – the largest number of people killed by Israel in such a short time in decades. 1,600 more have been wounded, an overwhelming number of whom are civilians – women, children and the elderly. The massing of soldiers and tanks along the Gaza border suggests that additional horrors are contemplated.
The ruination of Gaza has been long in the making. Over 75% of Gaza’s inhabitants are refugees from land that became Israel. They have been denied the internationally recognized right to return to their homes and are now denied the elementary right to flee relentless bombing and a threatened invasion. These are the families who had developed the agriculture and economy of Palestine under the rule of foreign empires for generations. Ripped from their land, they were crowded into what is now the most densely populated 360 square kilometers in the world.
Their homes have been bulldozed, their crops and livelihoods destroyed, food and fuel severely restricted, their borders closed, their water pilfered by settlers, their fishing restricted.
In 2006, the Palestinians of Gaza conducted a democratic election and chose Hamas as the governing party. They have desperately reached out to obtain basic food, medical supplies and the essentials for survival that have been denied them. It is for these “crimes” that the Palestinians of Gaza are being punished – for choosing their own leaders, seeking freedom, and refusing to be driven from their homeland.
The people of Gaza have seen their elected officials imprisoned. They have been put on a starvation diet and placed in darkness by an internationally-enforced blockade. They are subjected to night-time sonic booms that shatter windows and cause miscarriages, and suffer recurring aerial bombardments that have decimated their infrastructure.
The Hamas government’s signing and enforcement of the June 2008 truce with Israel led to no relief from this relentless siege. On November 4, Israeli strikes killed dozens of Palestinians. Isolated shelling attacks from Gaza, which resulted in few, if any, Israeli casualties, have been used as a pretext by Israel to launch genocidal attacks, which have been denounced by people around the world. Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, now says this will be a “war to the bitter end.”
The Israeli government claims that Gaza is no longer “occupied” since “settlers” were withdrawn a few years ago. This is a boldface lie used to abdicate legal and moral responsibility for the welfare of an occupied people and to demonstrate that Gazans cannot govern themselves and live peacefully with their neighbors. A land that is completely surrounded and controlled, lacking the very basics of survival, is even more cruelly “occupied” than before. This describes a prison, not a sovereign territory.
The horrors experienced in Gaza are closely linked to the murderous U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which aim to control the resources in the Middle East. The systematic torture of Gaza, many call genocide, is a crime against all people of this planet. No one can be free while others are oppressed. It is time for the people of the world to unite and say, “No to the U.S.-Backed Israeli War in Gaza!” and “No to the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!”
The atrocities carried out against Gaza are made possible by $3 billion in yearly U.S. aid to Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, with $30 billion more to be allocated over the next ten years. Israel has the fourth largest military in the world.
Hundreds of billions of our tax dollars go yearly for the U.S. war machine – for the most modern weapons of mass destruction, mainly profiting U.S. contractors and weapons makers.”
We demand that Congress and the current president of the United States end all support for Israel’s war, invasion and occupation of Palestine. We join with people all across the world in demanding that Israel initiate an immediate cease fire and withdraw all military forces from Gaza. We call upon president-elect Barack Obama to denounce the present atrocities committed against the people of Gaza. We call upon the people of the U.S. and the international community to declare solidarity and to offer all assistance to the besieged Palestinians.
Stop the Wars Against Iraq and Afghanistan! – Bring the Troops Home Now!
No to U.S. Wars Against Iran and Pakistan!
Money for Jobs, Health Care, Housing, Pensions, and Education – Not for Wars and Corporate Bailouts!
|For further information contact:
National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations
*Note: This update supercedes previous versions.