Israel invades Gaza, Palestinians, solidarity activists call for solidarity and resistance (updated Jan. 7)

Non-Aligned Movement condemns Israel’s attacks against Gaza

January 6, 2008 -- The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) condemned Israel’s military invasion against the Gaza Strip as it expressed its sorrow over the loss of more than 550 innocent Palestinians and the merciless destruction of their territory.

A statement issued by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), published at the United Nations, in New York, expresses the NAM’s concern about Israel’s ground invasion, which started on January 3, when hundreds of tanks opened fire against the Gaza territory, [defying] the world’s outcry.

The NAM statement reads as follows:

The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) strongly condemns the military aggression, including airstrikes, carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, on the Gaza Strip, which has caused death and injuries to hundreds of civilians, including children, and destruction of Palestinian property and infrastructure.

This unacceptable military escalation by Israel constitutes a grave breach of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, fuels the cycle of violence and threatens international peace and security as well as the fragile peace process between the two sides.

Such violent and illegal military actions and the continued collective punishment of the Palestinian people have deepened the suffering of innocent and defenceless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who are already greatly suffering from continued imposition of the crippling Israeli siege and the ensuing humanitarian crisis.

The NAM demands that Israel immediately cease its military attacks and abide by all of its obligations under international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.

The NAM calls upon the international community, especially the Security Council, to uphold international law and its responsibilities and to act urgently to address this grave situation.

The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirms its support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

* * *

150,000 Palestinians protest in Sakhnin

January 4, 2009 -- Palestinian citizens of Israel held a massive protest on January 3, 2009, in Sakhnin, an Arab city in northern Israel, against Israel's war on the Palestinian people in Gaza. It was attended by up to 150,000 protesters. Crowds waving Palestinian flags and brandishing pro-Palestinian placards chanted "Gaza will not surrender to the tanks and bulldozers!" and "Don't fear, Gaza, we are with you!".

Meanwhile, Israel has begun its ground invasion of Gaza. Around the world on January 3, solidarity demonstrations have been held, attended by tens of thousands. Two thousand protested in South Africa outside the United States Consulate in Johannesburg (statement see below).

Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is gathering the most recent statements by Palestinian and solidarity organisations and activists. More will be added as they come to hand. See HERE for previous statements.

PFLP calls upon Arab and international forces to escalate their actions and solidarity

January 3, 2008 -- The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called on January 3, 2008, upon the Arab people and all progressive forces in the world to escalate all forms of resistance against the Zionist and imperialist enemy.

The PFLP noted the mass response of the Arab people who have taken to the streets across the Arab homeland in support of their sisters and brothers resisting and beseiged in Gaza and called upon this resistance to continue and escalate. The PFLP further called for popular and armed resistance to the occupiers and invaders of our land to intensify and increase, so that as the enemy attempts to intensify its crimes in Gaza, it will feel the response of the resistance and the fire of the anger and determination of the people everywhere.

In addition, the PFLP called upon the progressive forces of the world to continue and intensify their actions and mobilisation against the Israeli crimes and the US and European complicity and support in this war against our people. The PFLP salutes the mass mobilisation in the cities of the world -- London, New York, Paris, Oslo, Brazil, Lima, Rome, San Francisco, Chicago, Mexico City, Bogota, Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and everywhere -- and calls for the continuation of the pressure upon their governments.

The PFLP further stated that this is a historic moment and battle, and a fight for the existence of the resistance and the future of the Palestinian cause. Now is the time to meet this challenge, as the resistance is doing in Gaza and the West Bank, with all utmost action and mobilization throughout the Arab homeland and around the world.

Towards victory!

Now is the time for unity and resistance

By the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

More than 431 killed in Gaza and 2300 have been wounded in a series of massacres and crimes committed by the Zionist occupier against the Palestinian people in Gaza on December 27, 2008. 650 children have been injured and 75 women as part of the ongoing onslaught. The occupier has continually bombarded Gaza with missiles from Apache helicopters and F-16 planes throughout Gaza for over seven days.

Demonstrations have broken out throughout the West Bank and the Arab world in protest and outrage at the brutality and the nature of these massive crimes.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement calling for the broadest resistance to meet and confront this aggression against the Palestinian people and to respond to these massacres, and for the unity of the resistance, and the unity of the Palestinian people, to greet the occupier with resistance, strength and steadfastness despite his brutal crimes. The statement stressed the urgent need for national unity immediately to confront the crimes against our people and to greet the occupier and its brutality with tremendous and unified resistance that is capable of shaking its foundations.

The PFLP statement further called upon all resistance forces to come together now and establish unified resistance front to coordinate and take up the challenge of these attacks against our people. It pointed to the responsibility of the United States for these attacks, as a strategic partner of the occupier, working hand in hand with its massacres and crimes against the Palestinian people, and as the source of the arms used by the occupier against our people. It also pointed to the complicity of the Arab regimes in these crimes, particularly the Egyptian regime, for its ongoing and active participation in the blockade and siege of the Palestinian people in Gaza and its meetings and discussions with the occupier about its plans for Gaza. These massacres are taking place because of Arab and international silence and active complicity.

The PFLP further called for the immediate end to any and all negotiations with this brutal occupier who plans massacres against our people and stated that if he will not end the negotiations immediately, Abu Mazen must resign now. The nature of the Zionist enemy and its dedication to the eradication of the Palestinian people is laid bare and clear by this series of attacks, calculated to cause maximum damage and human cost. For the past sixty years, there is an unbroken history of massacres and crimes against our people and this massacre today is yet one more expression of the nature of the illegitimate colonial state that has implanted itself on Palestinian land and continues to live on US support through massacres and crimes against the Palestinian people.

The statement concluded by calling upon all of its fighters and military branches to take the strongest actions and to resist the occupation and its massacres by all methods and forms of action and resistance, and by calling for the broadest solidarity on Arab and international levels, for people to come into the streets, demonstrate, march, and take action to declare that these massacres and crimes are unacceptable, that the Arab people and the world are with Palestine and the Palestinian people, and that they will not allow these crimes to continue nor for the Arab regimes and international regimes to be silently complicity or actively involved in the occupation's crimes.

The Palestinian people will greet these massacres with steadfastness, strength, unity and resistance and all of the crimes, massacres, targeting of civilians, residential neighborhoods, and schoolchildren and teachers will do nothing to crush the resistance of our people, the statement said, it will only ensure Palestinian unity in the face of this brutality which makes clear the true face of the occupier to the world.

From the Communist Party of Israel: Stop the Killing! No to the Siege!

January 3, 2008 -- The killing in Gaza continues. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, thousands injured, air strikes have caused utter devastation and entire families are left homeless. Civilians in the south of Israel are being held captive by a government which lies to them and abuses them. Destruction and death in Gaza will not ensure their future, but rather lead to more violence and killings.

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 3, 2009) two big protests will be held in Israel, by a coalition of peace forces and the Communist Party of Israel and the front Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) in Tel-Aviv; and in Sakhnin by the High Committee of Arab-Palestinian Citizens in Israel, both of them against the killing in Gaza. Together we will call out: Stop the Killing! No to the Siege! Yes to life for both peoples!

In these dark days, let us stick to our message: Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies! Our demand: A full truce and the lifting of the siege on Gaza NOW!

Israel has gone to great lengths to ensure that the world does not know the extent of its crimes against humanity inside of Gaza. In Israel itself, there are protests against this war on a captive people. Thousands have gathered to protest daily in Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazaret, Um el-Fahem, Tira, Taybe and other cities. Citizens called up as reservists to prepare for a possible land assault on Gaza have refused service, risking jail. None of this is being reported in the US and European corporate media, which is largely "cheerleading" the Israeli attack, primarily by “evenhandedly” reporting on the attacks in Gaza and the rockets launched by Hamas into Israel.

As Dov Khenin, an Israeli Knesset member from Hadash and a leading Communist Party member, stated in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, “Well, the most important thing to realise is that there is an opposition inside Israel to the war and to everything going on around right now in Gaza. This position is a Jewish-Arab one. On Saturday night, we had a demonstration in Tel Aviv of 2000 young people, mainly Jews, and there are a lot of demonstrations all over Israel of Jews and Arabs opposing the war policy of the current government. This opposition is growing steadily. It is very important to know this and to understand that there are other voices in Israeli society who (oppose) a war, and they believe there is a better alternative for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Yesterday, a group of Tel Aviv poets held a poetry-reading vigil protesting the Gaza operation in front of the luxury Akirov Towers, where Defence Minister Ehud Barak (and head of the Labor Party) has an apartment. Twenty young poets read anti-war works over a loudspeaker, calling it "a protest against the destruction Ehud Barak is wreaking on the residents of the south while he's sleeping in a comfortable bed on the 31st floor." Ibtisam Marahna, number 12 on the Meretz Knesset list, spoke at the protest, and announced her resignation from Meretz because of its support for the war.

Ten human rights organisations yesterday called on Defence Minister Ehud Barak to urgently renew an unlimited supply of fuel to the Gaza Strip. The groups, including B'Tselem, Gisha and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, wrote that the massive destruction of infrastructure following the Israeli action will increase the need for fuel to operate "humanitarian equipment such as water pumps, sewage and the health system." The groups wrote that since Israel has been constantly reducing the fuel supply to the Gaza Strip since October 2007, a shortage should have been expected following the military action.

MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) yesterday demanded from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that the Shin Bet security service stop questioning Arab political and leftists activists following protests over the Gaza operation. "If the defence establishment is worried about a wave of protests against the crime in Gaza, it is better to stop the crime and not persecute the political leadership and activists in the Arab sector", Barakeh said.

10,000 protest in Tel Aviv

Thousands march against the Israeli state's assault on Gaza, in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 3, 2009

Philippine government should sever ties with Israel

Stop the War Coalition-Philippines

January 5, 2008 -- We at the Stop the War Coalition Philippines, a broad coalition of civil society organisations, social movements, labour unions, political parties, human rights, women's, students, religious and other organisations, strongly condemn Israel's war crimes against the people of Gaza and the international community.

These latest attacks are not only disproportionate, they are completely unjustifiable.

At the root of the continuing tragedy in the Middle East is the continuing illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel. That Israel is able to continue this occupation and that it is able to bomb and kill indiscriminately without restraint points to the incapacity of the international community, including the United Nations and the world's governments, to uphold peace and justice. It is this unwillingness to act that will ensure that more blood and tears will flow from this escalating war.

We in the Philippines must help stop this war not only because thousands of Filipino migrant workers are caught in the crossfire but because we have a stake in creating a world with peace and justice.

We at the Stop the War Campaign demand that Israel should immediately end its war crimes in Gaza and end the occupation of Palestine.

We demand that the United States immediately stops arming and funding Israel's war.

We call on the international community, the United Nations and all responsible international government and civil society organisations, to stop Israel from continuing its attacks and to support a just resolution to the crisis.

We demand that the Philippine government begins the process of severing all diplomatic ties with Israel until it complies with international law and ends the occupation of Palestine. At the same time, we also call for immediate relief and evacuation plans for Filipino workers in the region. We demand more jobs for Filipinos at home so that they will not be forced to seek employment in outlaw states.

As our elected representatives, our government should take a stand in favour of international law and justice, summon the Israeli ambassador to protest, and expressly condemn Israel for its actions.

We demand that Manila and other government units revoke their "sister city" ties with Israeli cities.

We call on our parliamentarians and diplomats to likewise denounce Israel's actions.

In solidarity with the Palestinian, as well as Israeli people opposed to war, we call on trade unions, universities, cultural organisations, political parties, and other social movements and civil society groups to be part of a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.

`Amandla intifada' -- Almost 2000 protesters in Johannesburg call for sanctions against Israel

By Palestine Solidarity Committee (South Africa)

January 3, 2009 -- Close to 2000 protesters chanting slogans such as ``Amandla intifada'', ``From Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime'', and ``Free, free Palestine'' gathered outside the United States consulate in Johannesburg to protest Israel's barbaric bombing of Gaza and to support a campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The protest was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Speakers included: Eddie Makue, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches; Bongani Masuku of the Congress of South African Trade Unions; and Melissa Hoole and Salim Vally of the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Vally insisted that the demonstration was not only a condemnation of Israel's brutality but also a celebration of Palestinian heroism and resistance. He likened the resistance to ``the brave young women and men in the Warsaw Ghetto against Nazi occupation''. He described appalling living conditions in the Gaza Ghetto and noted that 80% of the inhabitants of Gaza were refugees. Vally said Israel planned this massacre six months ago and constantly provoked Hamas by, for example, arresting democratically elected officials and increasing the number of men, women and children in Israeli jails to 12,000. He acknowledged the presence at the protest of Somali refugees and asked for unity against xenophobia, support for the poor in South Africa and for solidarity with the people of Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Burma and Western Sahara. He called for supporting the goals of most Palestinians -- ``a single democratic state with equal rights for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and not a bantustan''.

Protesters endorsed a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, as called for by close to 200 Palestinian civil society and political organisations. COSATU's Masuku said that was the best way for South Africa to support the oppressed Palestinian people. He also reiterated his organisation's call on the South African government to withdraw the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv, sever all diplomatic relations with Israel, and impose sanctions on that state.

Makue, who returned two weeks ago from an 11-city speaking tour of the US, where he also called for sanctions against Israel, emphasised that Israel is an apartheid state and pointed out that apartheid in any country in the world is a crime against humanity. He also insisted that the US and Israel must respect democracy and said that the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people elected in a free and fair election in 2005 was Hamas.

Hoole pointed to the billions of dollars of support that the US provides to Israel and, in particular, to the Israeli military. She said the US was not only complicit but was an active partner in Israeli violations of international law. She called on Obama to prove that he believed in change by changing US policies towards Israel and to end its support for that racist state which is the largest recipient of US aid.

Protesters also expressed their disgust at Arab governments, calling them ``quislings''. Undemocratic and unelected Arab ``leaders'' have hypocritically sold out the Palestinian people and the struggle for Palestinian liberation, some said. In particular, fingers were pointed at the Saudi Arabian monarchy and Egypt's strongman Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak, it was noted, was briefed about the Gaza massacre days before it happened. They also mentioned his suppression of workers' struggles. As a result, protesters decided to stage a demonstration outside the Egyptian Embassy in Pretoria next week.

Among the protesters were some Palestinians, mostly from Gaza.

Other speakers included representatives from the Socialist Party of Azania, Virginia Setshedi from the Soweto Concerned Residents and the Social Movements Indaba, and Maulana Ebrahim Bham from the Jamiatul Ulama.

12,000 people rally in Toronto against the Israeli assault on Gaza

January 3, 2009. Demonstration against the bombing of Gaza,Toronto

Photos: Robert Allison © 2009 (

January 3, 2009 -- At least 10,000 people gathered at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square to protest against Israel’s recent assault on Gaza. Protesters then marched through the streets of Toronto to the Israeli Consulate and the United States Embassy. Demonstrators called on the Canadian government to condemn Israel’s latest aggression and to cut all political, economic and military ties with Israel until it complies with international law. Protests were also held across Canada in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Demonstrations are scheduled in Montreal on Sunday.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from Canadian civil society, the trade union movement, and allies in the Jewish community. The large number of people on the streets today shows that the Harper government is out of touch with the Canadian public,” said Khaled Mouammar President of the Canadian Arab Federation.

As the protest was taking place, Israel began a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. This latest escalation comes in spite of international condemnation and calls for Israel to end its full-scale military assault on the people of Gaza, which has already killed over 400 people. It is clear that Israel believes it can act with impunity, and continue to commit war crimes against the illegally occupied Palestinian people.

"We will continue to mobilise and voice our outrage at the crimes being committed in Gaza until the Canadian Harper government publicly condemns Israel’s violations of international law", stated Farid Ayad, president of Palestine House.

Numerous speakers at the demonstration, including the president of CUPE Ontario Syd Ryan, local Jewish activist Jenny Peto and Rafeef Ziadah from Palestine House, urged the crowd to support the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli apartheid. As part of this campaign, organisers called on the Canadian government to implement sanctions against the Israeli government until Israel halted its aggression upon the population of Gaza and fully complied with international law. Organisers further demanded that Canada insist Israel ends the siege on Gaza and open the borders to allow for food, medicine, water and other essentials of life.

The rally was endorsed by:
Palestine House
Canadian Arab Federation
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Canadian Union of Public Employee (Ontario)
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Steel Workers – Toronto Area Council
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Not in Our Name – Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network Toronto
Yosher – Jewish Social Justice Network
Women In Solidarity with Palestine
Educators for Peace and Justice
Muslim Unity
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation
Canadian Forum for Justice and Peace in Sri Lanka
Muslim Association of Hamilton
Canadian Druze Society
Canadian Syrian Cultural Club
Al Huda
Muslim Unity
Canadian Shia Muslims Organization
Worker to Worker Canada Cuba Solidarity Network
Somali Canadian Diaspora Alliance
Science for Peace
Bayan – Canada
Bengali Student Association
McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice
Arab Students Association at Ryerson University

10,000 protest in Sydney, Australia

Pip Hinman, speaking on behalf of the Stop the War Coalition and a member of the Socialist Alliance, addresses the 10,000-strong protest in Sydney, Australia, on January 4, 2009.


Thousands march in Scotland

On January 3, 2009, thousands took to the streets in Scotland. 2000 marched in Glasgow (above) and 1000 in Edinburgh.

7000 march in Bremen, Germany

Bremen, January 3, 2009. Photo by Die Linke.

Photostory: World demonstrates for Gaza

The Electronic Intifada

January 3, 2009 -- Around the world people took to the streets outraged by the scenes of death and destruction in the Gaza Strip that began when Israel bombarded the coastal territory on December 27, 2008. The below images were sent to The Electronic Intifada from around the world and document various actions, demonstrations and vigils in solidarity with Gazans under siege. If you have images to which you hold the rights documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos [@] electronicintifada [dot] net.

Cairo, Egypt, 30 December 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

Beirut, Lebanon, 28 December 2008. (Matthew Cassel)

Bethlehem, occupied West Bank, 30 December 2008. (Haytham Othman/MaanImages)

Helsinki, Finland, 29 December 2008. (Terhi Hilden)

Amman, Jordan, 31 December 2008. (Anonymous)

Chicago, US, 31 December 2008. (Maureen Clare Murphy)

Cape Town, South Africa, 29 December 2008. (Cape Town Anti-War Coalition)

Caracas, Venezuela, 29 December 2008. (Lainie Cassel)

London, England, 30 December 2008. (Fil Kaler)

Belfast, Northern Ireland, 31 December 2008. (Danny Morrison)

Dublin, Ireland, 1 January 2009. (Mohd Hafiz Hashim)

Mexico City, Mexico, 31 December 2008. (Jesus Villaseca)

Montreal, Canada, 30 December 2008. (Sabrien Amrov)

New York, US, 30 December 2008. (Anonymous)

Paris, France, 28 December 2008. (Azri Smail)

Nashville, US, 31 December 2008. (Anonymous)

Madrid, Spain, 30 December 2008. (Anonymous)

Istanbul, Turkey, 31 December 2008. (Erkan Saka)

Sakhnin, Lower Galilee, 1 January 2009. (ActiveStills)

Kansas City, US, 1 January 2009. (Kaitlin Roberts)

Denver, US, 29 December 2008. (Salah Issa)


Brighton, England, 3 January 2009. (Manuel Muriel)

Melbourne, Australia, 3 January 2009. (Margarita Windisch)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2 January 2009. (Adi Hanif Mohamed)

Lyon, France, 3 January 2009. (Eric Colonna)
Seattle, US, 3 January 2009. (G.P. Hickey)

Obama's deadly silence
Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 2 January 2009

Barack Obama is presented with a t-shirt by Sderot mayor Eli Moyal as
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (left) looks on after inspecting
homemade Palestinian rockets during his visit to the southern Israeli
town last year. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

"I would like to ask President-elect Obama to say something please
about the humanitarian crisis that is being experienced right now by
the people of Gaza." Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
made her plea after disembarking from the badly damaged SS Dignity
that had limped to the Lebanese port of Tyre while taking on water.

The small boat, carrying McKinney, the Green Party's recent
presidential candidate, other volunteers, and several tons of donated
medical supplies, had been trying to reach the coast of Gaza when it
was rammed by an Israeli gunboat in international waters.

But as more than 2,400 Palestinians have been killed or injured -- the
majority civilians -- since Israel began its savage bombardment of
Gaza on 27 December, Obama has maintained his silence. "There is only
one president at a time," his spokesmen tell the media. This
convenient excuse has not applied, say, to Obama's detailed
interventions on the economy, or his condemnation of the "coordinated
attacks on innocent civilians" in Mumbai in November.

The Mumbai attacks were a clear-cut case of innocent people being
slaughtered. The situation in the Middle East however is seen as more
"complicated" and so polite opinion accepts Obama's silence not as the
approval for Israel's actions that it certainly is, but as responsible

It ought not to be difficult to condemn Israel's murder of civilians
and bombing of civilian infrastructure including hundreds of private
homes, universities, schools, mosques, civil police stations and
ministries, and the building housing the only freely-elected Arab

It ought not to be risky or disruptive to US foreign policy to say
that Israel has an unconditional obligation under the Fourth Geneva
Convention to lift its lethal, months-old blockade preventing adequate
food, fuel, surgical supplies, medications and other basic necessities
from reaching Gaza.

But in the looking-glass world of American politics, Israel, with its
powerful first-world army, is the victim, and Gaza -- the besieged and
blockaded home to 1.5 million immiserated people, half of them
children and eighty percent refugees -- is the aggressor against whom
no cruelty is apparently too extreme.

While feigning restraint, Obama has telegraphed where he really
stands; senior adviser David Axelrod told CBS on 28 December that
Obama understood Israel's urge to "respond" to attacks on its
citizens. Axelrod claimed that "this situation has become even more
complicated in the last couple of days and weeks as Hamas began its
shelling [and] Israel responded."

The truce Hamas had meticulously upheld was shattered when Israel
attacked Gaza, killing six Palestinians, as The Guardian reported on 5
November. A blatant disregard for the facts, it seems, will not leave
the White House with George W. Bush on 20 January.

Axelrod also recalled Obama's visit to Israel last July when he
ignored Palestinians and visited the Israeli town of Sderot. There,
Obama declared: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where
my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my
power to stop that. I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

This should not surprise anyone. Despite pervasive wishful thinking
that Obama would abandon America's pro-Israel bias, his approach has
been almost indistinguishable from the Bush administration's.

Along with Tony Blair and George W. Bush, Obama staunchly supported
Israel's war against Lebanon in July-August 2006, where it used
cluster bombs on civilian areas, killing more than 1,000 people.

Obama's comments in Sderot echoed what he said in a speech to the
powerful pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, in March 2007. He recalled an
earlier visit to the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona near the border
with Lebanon which he said reminded him of an American suburb. There,
he could imagine the sounds of Israeli children at "joyful play just
like my own daughters." He saw a home the Israelis told him was
damaged by a Hizballah rocket (no one had been hurt in the incident).

Obama has identified his daughters repeatedly with Israeli children,
while never having uttered a word about the thousands -- thousands --
of Palestinian and Lebanese children killed and permanently maimed by
Israeli attacks just since 2006. This allegedly post-racial president
appears fully invested in the racist worldview that considers Arab
lives to be worth less than those of Israelis and in which Arabs are
always "terrorists."

The problem is much wider than Obama: American liberals in general see
no contradiction in espousing positions supporting Israel that they
would deem extremist and racist in any other context. The cream of
America's allegedly "progressive" Democratic party vanguard -- House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
Howard Berman, New York Senator Charles Schumer, among others -- have
all offered unequivocal support for Israel's massacres in Gaza,
describing them as "self-defense."

And then there's Hillary Clinton, the incoming secretary of state and
self-styled champion of women and the working classes, who won't let
anyone outbid her anti-Palestinian positions.

Democrats are not simply indifferent to Palestinians. In the recent
presidential election, their efforts to win swing states like Florida
often involved espousing positions dehumanizing to Palestinians in
particular and Arabs and Muslims in general. Many liberals know this
is wrong but tolerate it silently as a price worth paying (though not
to be paid by them) to see a Democrat in office.

Even those further to the left implicitly accept Israel's logic.
Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, criticized Israel's
attacks on Gaza as a "reckless" and "disproportionate response" to
Hamas rocket attacks that he deemed "immoral." There are many others
who do nothing to support nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation
and colonization, such as boycott, divestment and sanctions but who
are quick to condemn any desperate Palestinian effort -- no matter how
ineffectual and symbolic -- to resist Israel's relentless aggression.

Similarly, we can expect that the American university professors who
have publicly opposed the academic boycott of Israel on grounds of
protecting "academic freedom" will remain just as silent about
Israel's bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza as they have about
Israel's other attacks on Palestinian academic institutions.

There is no silver lining to Israel's slaughter in Gaza, but the
reactions to it should at least serve as a wake-up call: when it comes
to the struggle for peace and justice in Palestine, the American
liberal elites who are about to assume power present as formidable an
obstacle as the outgoing Bush administration and its neoconservative

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is author of One
Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
(Metropolitan Books, 2006). This essay was first published in The
Guardian's Comment is Free and is republished with the author's

Africa takes to the streets on Israel massacres in Gaza

Algeria /Mauritania:
Algeria will try to help unify Palestinians ahead of a possible Arab summit to support conflict-torn Gaza, Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said.…

Botswana has broken her silence on Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip by calling on the Jewish state and Hamas to sit down and resolve their differences.

Mass protests against the government's response to Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, but police moved to quell street protests over the issue.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has called on "civilized members of the human race" to rise up against "this holocaust that has been unleashed on the helpless Palestinians, whose lands, human dignity and right to peaceful and dignified existence in their own country are being blatantly violated with impunity."…

Several hundred people took to the streets of Bamako, the Malian capital, to protest against the Israeli bombings in the Gaza strip and show support for the Palestinian people. The protesters condemned the "savage" bombings of the Gaza strip and deplored the "indifference" of the international community in the face of the tragedy.…

The Mauritanian Press Association (RPM), Wednesday organised a sit-in, in front of the United Nations' country office in Nouakchott, Mauritania's capital, to protest against Israeli attacks and massacre on Gaza, in Palestine.…

The Namibian Government has joined the ranks of countries condemning the Israeli incursion on Gaza, describing the operation as a "disproportionate use of force" and calling on Israel to withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip.…

Niger and Nigeria:
In Nigeria and Niger, tens of thousands protested the Israeli bombings that marked their 12th day, with roughly 23,000 people marching in the main city of Kano in Nigeria's mostly Muslim north, police said. Organisers estimated the number at 30,000.…

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has called on the United Nations to take decisive actions against Israel as was done against Yugoslavia in the case of Kosovo.…

South Africa:

Thousands of demonstrators marched to Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday to call for an end to Israel's offensive in Palestine's Gaza Strip.…

Thousands of Sudanese marched through Khartoum on Thursday to vent their anger at the Israeli offensive in Gaza, carrying banners and shouting slogans in support of their "Palestinian brothers".

Hundreds take to the street in protest at Israeli attacks on Gaza

President Jakaya Kikwete has urged Palestinian and Israeli
authorities to find an immediate solution to the conflict between them
and halt the ongoing hostility that has so far claimed hundreds of

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claimed that independent journalists were assaulted by Tunisian police on December 30th. The reporters were covering a demonstration in Tunis by the legal opposition Progressive Democratic Party against Israel's Gaza offensive. Victims of the alleged police violence were Al Jazeera correspondent, Lotfi Hajji, and Al-Maoukif reporters, Ismail Debara and
Mohammed Al Hamlouny.