Socialist Viewpoint (US) editorial on Gaza
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Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes a range of statements from left parties and groups around the world. More will be added as they come to hand.
Respect's George Galloway on January 8, 2009, addresses a London meeting organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Protesters from Partido Lakas ng Masa in the Philippines throw a giant shoe at the Israel embassy
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.
Socialist Unity -- January 12, 2009 -- Sinn Féin's Northern Ireland Assembly team held an event this today at 11.30 am on the steps of Stormont, Belfast, to highlight the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This was supported by Ireland–Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Speaking ahead of the event Sinn Féin Chief Whip and North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said that this was a ``simple'' expression of solidarity with the beleaguered people of Gaza.
Ms Ní Chuilín said, “Monday’s event will bring together the Sinn Fein Assembly Team as well as other groups and organisations, to highlight, in a small way, our solidarity with the people of Gaza.
“Sinn Féin is calling for an immediate end to attacks on all civilians; we are calling for a ceasefire and for urgent aid to be allowed into Gaza.
“What is going on is an international humanitarian crisis and we hope that this further, all be it a simple expression of our solidarity and our hope to see the horrific events over, will add to the countless international calls for inclusive negotiations.”
Sinn Féin have also submitted a motion to the Northern Irleand Assembly on the Gaza crisis. Sinn Fein Assembly Group Leader John O’Dowd MLA highlights the main point of the motion that ‘this Assembly condemns the appalling loss of life in Gaza and calls on those responsible for all attacks on civilians to cease.’
Speaking after the motion was submitted Mr O’Dowd said,
“Obviously the attention of the world is focused on the situation in Gaza. Numerous Sinn Féin leaders have highlighted our position over the past few days and called for an immediate ceasefire in the area. We hope that this motion will be a further expression of our concern and assist the world wide calls for an immediate ceasefire and end to hostilities.”
The full text of the Sinn Féin motion reads as follows:
``This Assembly condemns the appalling loss of life in Gaza and calls on those responsible for all attacks on civilians to cease.
The loss of life and scale of injuries among the civilian population is totally unacceptable.
There is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Humanitarian aid organisations must have the freedom of movement to deliver their aid unhindered to the people of Gaza.
This Assembly calls for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.
This Assembly further calls on the international community to mobilise to secure these objectives.
Zionist Israel slaughters over 760 Palestinians
Unions must build direct solidarity
A statement by Socialist Resistance’s steering committee
January 8, 2009 -- Since Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza, the Zionist rulers have maintained it as an open air prison and most of the time as a shooting gallery. Now they have made it an extermination camp. The premeditated slaughter of more than 760 Palestinians, one-third children, with more than 3500 wounded has horrified the world and especially the Arab masses, who sympathise with the Palestinians.
The Palestinian people have been relegated to the status of vermin
in their own land by the Zionist colonisers and their US imperialist
In the Zionist treatment of the Palestinians the Arab masses recognise the contempt that the imperialists have for them, and the sight of it rubs salt in their wounds. They have suffered this bitterness and have harboured a justifiable hatred for their oppressors for decades without finding an effective outlet. Today their outrage can only become deeper; in time it will eventually overwhelm the neo-colonialist rulers of their own countries, who connive with the Zionists and the imperialists.
The Zionist colonisation aims to condemn the Palestinians to hopelessness, which mirrors the hopelessness of all the Arab and Muslim peoples and all Third World peoples suffering under the economic dominance and exploitation of the imperialists. Egypt, by far the largest Arab state, in particular seethes with such frustration, both because of the collaboration of its brutal dictatorial rulers with imperialism and the failure of the promises that the road out of poverty would be opened by cooperation with world capitalism’s economic overlords in the so-called Infitah (open door policy), which paralleled the peace with Israel. The Camp David Accords with Israel were a political capitulation, the Infitah, which opened up Egypt to imperialist economic exploitation, was a corresponding economic capitulation.
Egypt, the only Arab state to border on Gaza, is openly collaborating with the ongoing Zionist massacre. The international press reported that Egyptian border guards are firing on Palestinians trying to flee from Gaza. That is a violation of a fundamental human right, the right of flight, the right of refugees to international protection. Paradoxically, the Zionists’ real objective is to drive out the Palestinians, but they want to crush them first. Palestinians will fight to stay in their country, to hold onto to their land, to resist the Zionist colonisers. But some may want to flee to save their lives or the lives of their children. If they want to, they have that right, and it is protected by international law and humane tradition. It is an outrage that Israel and Egypt are denying them this basic human right.
Egypt could also end the Zionist economic siege of Gaza. It need only open the border. Palestinian forces were able to force their way through at one point and keep the border open for a few days. But Egypt closed it again and reinforced it. That is another outrage. It goes beyond capitulation to Zionism; it is active collaboration with it. Even the capitalist press has pointed out that the Israeli present campaign is the greatest slaughter of Palestinians since the 1982 massacre in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Lebanese fascists with the open complicity of the Israeli army. That is the measure of the challenge today.
Can world public opinion allow such a massacre to go on in the full view of the world’s peoples? If it does, that will be a grave setback for the advance of civilisation in general. The provocations of Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups are no excuse for indifference. Acts of resistance can be expected from any human beings subjected to intolerable conditions. Similar acts can be seen every day, everywhere around the world, but the imprisonment of the Palestinians is far worse. Their acts of resistance should arouse sympathy and not censure.
Humanity is one. If one section of humanity is subjected to torture, all of humanity suffers, all humanity is endangered. It is time for all people of good will and reasonable sense to rise to the defence of the suffering people of Gaza. They can force their governments to pressure Israel to end its siege of Gaza.
Israeli is and has always been a racist Zionist colonial settler state. It was established in 1948 with imperialist agreement by the physical removal of the Palestinian people from their historic Palestine. Shortly after the original “partition” which divided Palestine in roughly two parts, the imperialist-armed Zionist army organized a war to destroy hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages in order to occupy additional portions of Palestinian. What remains of Palestine today is less than 20 percent of the original homeland to millions, the majority of whom today live in exile and constitute the largest refugee population in the world.
Socialist Resistance, like the vast majority of British socialists, has never recognised the legitimacy of the Zionist State of Israel, just as we reject extending any legitimacy to the conquest and occupation of any nation by imperialist colonisers anywhere in the world, past and present. We support Palestinian self-determination. A democratic secular state should re-constituted on the original Palestine lands, with equal rights for all, and with the right of all Palestinians to return.
We call for the dismantlement of the Zionist structure of the state of Israel, which is a form of institutionalised discrimination analogous to Apartheid in South Africa.
We simultaneously support struggles for a socialist federation of the Middle East and for a socialist Palestine, where all inhabitants, irrespective of religious or ethnic origin, can live at peace in an egalitarian society free from capitalist profit and exploitation.
We demand that the Labour government:
We call on the labour movement to show its solidarity with the people of Palestine by:
By the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation
Belying the fond hopes of all those who greeted each other for a ``peaceful’’ and ``terror-free’’ 2009, the New Year has begun on a particularly aggressive note of war and destruction. Armed Israeli forces have mounted an all-out assault on Gaza, killing and maiming hundreds of Palestinians through air strikes, a ground offensive as well as sea-borne attacks. Nearer home, the Sri Lankan Army claims to be advancing towards Mulaitivu, after having already captured the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) stronghold of Kilinochi. The LTTE claims to have killed more than 50 members of the Sri Lankan armed forces in retaliatory resistance and counter-operations, both around Mulaitivu and in the capital Colombo.
Both these campaigns seem to have been timed deliberately at this particular juncture. Busy with the post-election change of guard in the US, neither Bush nor Obama will have to face the heat on account of these wars, and the European Union and all other major players in international relations are preoccupied with the global financial meltdown and economic recession.
Israel’s attack on Gaza clearly enjoys the fullest backing of the US which sees Israeli aggression merely as a ``reply’’ to acts of military ``provocation’’ by the Hamas. The Sri Lankan military offensive may not enjoy that sort of explicit endorsement by the US and its allies, but Sri Lanka is out to seek international legitimacy for its action by projecting the whole thing as a crucial victory over “savage terrorism”.
The history of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in Gaza and the West Bank goes back to four decades. Notwithstanding periodic changes of guard in both Israel and the US, the two establishments have always had the closest strategic partnership. Every military assault by Israel on Palestinian/Arab territory or people has enjoyed the protective political umbrella of the US, and since 2001 the partnership has been reinforced by the US-led global ``war on terror’’. While the US has gone on to invade and occupy countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, Israel has specialised in targeting the backbone of Arab resistance, Hamas in Palestine, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. But just as the US has got stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq, two years ago Israel too had to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Regrettably enough, the US-Israel axis has been emboldened not only by the silence of much of the Western world and big Asian countries like China and India, but also by the complicity and acquiescence on the part of sections of Arab rulers. Egypt and Jordan have already been pushed into so-called peace treaties with Israel, and they now look away, if not play willing accomplices, as the US-Israel axis targets the Palestinians, Lebanese and Syrians. In spite of such a division within the Arab ruling establishment, the Hezbollah had successfully withstood and defeated Israeli aggression two years ago, thanks to overwhelming popular support within the Arab world. This time too, Hamas and Hezbollah have both called for organising mass protests and resistance across the Arab world and Israel may once again have to pay a heavy price for its military misadventure in Gaza. Reports of communist-led protests are also coming in from within Israel.
India has traditionally opposed the Israeli occupation of Palestine and since the disastrous International Peacekeeping Force experience in the late 1980s, officially India has favoured a political, and not military, solution of the Sri Lankan Tamil question. But over the last ten years as Indian foreign policy has started revolving increasingly around the US-Israel strategic axis, India too now effectively endorses the aggressive military strategy pursued by Israel and Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the FBI has virtually taken over the ``Indian’’ probe into Mumbai terror attack and, through the newly set up NIA, the US now has an ever tighter grip on various aspects of India’s domestic security as well.
The Indian people must therefore come out ever more vociferously against the Israeli attack on Gaza and also for an immediate cease-fire in Sri Lanka. The more India endorses the marauding military expeditions of the US-Israel axis, the more India weakens her own battle against terrorism. A free Palestine remains the most crucial unfinished agenda of the contemporary global battle for peace, justice and democracy and the Indian people must throw their entire weight behind the just forces of Palestinian resistance and for a dignified political resolution of the Sri Lankan Tamil question.
[From ML Update, vol.12 No.2, January 6-12, 2009.]
Statement by the South African Communist Party
January 6, 2009 -- The South African Communist Party joins millions across the globe, including tens of thousands of Israeli peace activists, in expressing outrage at the genocidal aggression of the Israeli security apparatus against the people of Gaza. This aggression is both futile and absolutely disproportionate to the alleged objective of halting rocket fire from Gaza, an enclave that has been suffering a bitter and illegal siege for months.
The real and entirely cynical objectives of the current military offensive include the boosting of the popularity of Israeli politicians ahead of February elections, and punishing Palestinians for supporting a political party of their choice in democratic elections.
In overall strategic terms, "Operation Cast Lead" is part of a broader Zionist agenda that includes the Zionist apartheid wall and the daily harassment of Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza. In the words of Israeli peace activist, Ur Shlonsky, the objective is to "terrorise the civilian population, assuring maximal destruction of property and cultural resources... The daily life of the Palestinians must be rendered unbearable: They should be locked up in cities and towns, prevented from exercising normal economic life, cut off from workplaces, schools and hospitals, This will encourage emigration and weaken the resistance to future expulsions". The hundreds of Palestinian civilian casualities of the last few days of intensified aggression (like the tens of thousands who have been killed in the last years), are not "collateral" victims, they are the targets.
It is also in this light that the 2004 relocation Jewish settlements in Gaza should be understood. The relocation was presented as part of Washington's "road map to peace" and a "victory" for Palestinians. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. The presence of Jewish settlers within Gaza was an impediment to turning the territory into a concentration camp that could be indiscriminately bombarded.
The SACP further condemns the criminal complicity of the US administration, the major backer and arms supplier to the Zionist state, and the hypocrisy of all major western governments.
Statement by the Socialist Party of Malaysia in solidarity with the people of Palestine
January 6, 2009
1. The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns Israel for its latest massive assault on the Palestinian people.
2. Israel began its latest round of barbaric assaults on December 27, 2008, by launching air strikes followed by land offensives, which aimed to destroy every aspect of civilised life in Gaza. The death toll in Gaza has reached over 500, while thousands have been wounded in the barbaric attacks of the Israeli armed forces.
3. The latest massacre has been carefully planned by the Zionist regime of Israel, attempting to destroy Hamas, the organisation that leads the struggle of the Palestinian people against its oppression. Hamas won the Palestinian election in January 2006. The recent assault is not a response to Hamas' rocket attacks as Israel claims, but rather a pre-planned ethnic cleansing to purge Arab Palestinians, and overthrow a democratically elected Hamas administration, with backing from imperialist powers like the United States.
4. This is not the first time the Zionist apartheid regime of Israel has committed an act of genocide, but this time it has been far more ruthless than before.
5. Israel's economic blockade of Gaza since June 2007 has cut off supplies of the most basic needs, such as food, water and medicine. The continuous blockade has turned Gaza Strip into the largest concentration camp in the world with a 1.5 million starving population imprisoned within its border.
6. Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire with Israel in June 2008 to try to bring humanitarian relief to the population of Gaza. But Israel's refusal to allow sufficient aid into Gaza, along with its continued attacks on Palestinians, have hampered the process.
7. Israel's new round of slaughter of the Palestinian people has deepened the humanitarian crisis in Gaza Strip.
8. Fewer than 20 Israelis have been killed by Qassam rockets fired from Gaza since 2001. Nearly 500 people in Gaza have been killed by Israeli state violence in just a week, and the death toll is expected to increase as the Israeli offensive continues. Palestinians have chosen to resist with largely home-made rockets, their occupiers who practise apartheid, while the Israeli Zionist state, well equipped with imperialist [-supplied] killing machines, has responded by collectively punishing the impoverished population of Gaza. Collective punishment is a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), which Israel has become part of 60 years ago upon its formation.
9. Besides the Zionist Israeli state -– a racist state founded on the mass expulsion of the Palestinians, its imperialist ally –- the US and other Western imperialist powers, are equally responsible for the ongoing slaughter of the Palestinian people. The US government has supplied Israel with the world's most modern weapons including F-16 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters, missiles and bombs which have been used by the Israeli armed forces during the attacks on the people in Gaza. The US government has planned to provide Israel with an average US$3 billion a year in military aid for the next decade.
10. US support for Israel is part of the imperialist desire to dominate the Middle East region. In the midst of defeats of the US in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as its failure to contain Iran, US under the outgoing Bush administration has chosen to back Israel. The recent assault on Gaza would show both Israel and US still possessing the power to bully weaker governments in the region and to warn disobedient governments like Iran and Syria.
11. The question is why does the US president-elect Barack Obama, who will be inaugurated on January 20, 2009, seem to be keeping a low profile on the recent slaughter in Gaza. Will the Obama administration make a difference in the Middle East by breaking away from the US imperialist strategy embraced by previous presidents?
12. The PSM extends its solidarity to the people of Palestine in their struggle against Israel's apartheid regime and imperialism.
13. The PSM demands the following:
i. Israel must immediately end the siege of Gaza, stop its aggression and pull out all its troops from territories of the Palestinian Authority
ii. The US must stop all its military aid to Israel and impose an arms embargo against Israel
iii. The US needs to end its "War on Terror" by immediately withdrawing its military from Iraq and Afghanistan.
14. The people of Palestine have the rights to determine their future through democratic process from below.
15. The resistance of the ordinary people of Palestine against the Zionist regime of Israel is a resistance against the barbaric system of global capitalism and a struggle against imperialism. The struggle of the Palestinian people is our struggle.
16. A lasting peace in the Middle East will only prevail if justice is upheld for the Palestinian people and imperialism is defeated. It is only a global mass movement of ordinary people from below that can defeat imperialism.
Down with racism and imperialism!
Hands off Gaza!
Long live resistance!
Choo Chon Kai, International Bureau,
Socialist Party of Malaysia/Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
The PSM is calling for candlelight vigils in solidarity with the people of Palestine on January 10, 2009, at Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Penang and Johor.
For more information, please contact Kuala Lumpur (Sevan 016-9708370) , Perak (Sugu 012-5061357), Penang (Kris 016-3337678) and Johor (Choo 012-7097721).
Below is the text of a RAM leaflet (http://www.ram.org.nz/) produced for a Wellington protest on January 6 against Israel's attacks on Gaza:
``It’s horrible, but what can we do about it?” That’s the reaction of people everywhere to the pictures of dead Palestinian children and the pleas of the doctors in Gaza.
Israel’s military might can seem unstoppable. But the ongoing attacks are only possible because of the diplomatic, financial and military support they receive from the US state, its allies and friends.
Around the world, people are taking action to end their government’s acceptance of the Israel attacks. We can:
Protests have the power to keep the plight of innocent victims in the public eye. They can help people at home, feeling sickened by the TV news, to feel they aren’t alone. It’s hard for a lone individual not to shrug their shoulders and look the other way. It’s natural for people to come together at times like these to say they want it to stop. Protests can keep hope alive.
Tell our government to take a stand
National’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, has said almost nothing about the biggest international crisis of the day. He did declare that the NZ government “won’t take sides”. This is a continuation of what Labour called its “even handed approach”.
But if a boy poked out his tongue at another in the school playground, and the second clubbed him back with a baseball bat, is it good enough to “not take sides”?
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for an immediate ceasefire.
Venezuela’s campaigning president, Hugo Chavez, condemned the Israeli attacks as “criminal” and called for a “massive campaign of repudiation”. Our government should do similar.
In the 1980s, Black South Africans asked the world to impose an academic, sporting, political and economic boycott of their country. This added to the pressure which eventually ended South Africa’s racist apartheid system.
Today, Palestinians are calling for a boycott of Israel. We can support it by refusing to buy Israeli products and by writing to the shops that sell them.
Food brands include Beigel Beigel and Silan (sold by Pak’N’Save). Children’s toys (including Happy House) are sold by Bunnings Warehouse and Edukids. DIY hardware includes Chromagen hot water systems and Keter plastics (manufacturer of some Black & Decker toolboxes, sawhorses etc, stocked by Placemakers and Mitre10).
And we must put pressure on the NZ company Rakon, which supplies components for Israeli guided bombs, to stop.
Find out more
our news media full of official statements and interviews with the
powerful, relying on mainly US and British reports for overseas news,
the whole story is rarely told. Find out more about what’s going on and
what’s behind the headlines:
Global Peace & Justice Auckland http://www.gpja.org.nz/
Palestine Human Rights Campaign http://palestine.org.nz/
Boycott Israeli Goods http://big.org.nz/
Wellington Palestine Group http://wellingtonpalestinegroup.blogspot.com/
Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine http://ausjp.wordpress.com/
January 4, 2008 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa, Philippines, adds its voice to the international outrage and condemnation of the Israeli assault and now the ground assault of Israeli troops against a defenceless Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and stands as one with Hamas, the legitimate government of the Palestinian people in Gaza. In opposition to the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza we say: “We Are All Palestinians!”
At the same time we also draw attention to and condemn the backing of US imperialism for the Israeli state and US support for the current Israeli occupation and bombardment of Gaza. Without the support of world imperialism, and especially the support of the US, Israel cannot get away with such genocidal actions against the Palestinian population and continue to survive. We condemn the US and the Bush Administration support, as well as the US Congress vote in support of Israel‘s most recent assault and occupation of Gaza.
In the same breadth we oppose any suggestion that Hamas is in any way equally responsible for the events unfolding. Hamas is a legitimate liberation movement struggling against the Israeli occupier and aggressor. Any condemnation and demands to end the war must be directed at Israel. The ``blame'' lies with the brutal Israeli occupation and aggression and not with the liberation movement fighting to free the Palestinian people.
We also support calls for an international boycott of Israeli products and sanctions against Israeli investments. For example, we support the international campaign against Motorola and its fully owned subsidiary Motorola Israel, to end its production and sales of all communications devices to the Israeli military, including all radar detection devices.
Ultimately, we stand by our principled support for a free, democratic and secular Palestine.
January 5, 2009 -- Bolivarian News Agency -- The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Hugo Chávez urged Israel "to stop the invasion of the Gaza Strip and the murder of thousand innocent people." The Bolivarian leader denounced the government of Israel and described it as murderous and genocidal. "It is sad that Israel continues acting as the killing arm of the yankee empire."
Likewise, he pointed out that the Latin American and European countries, as well as the United Nations Organization, should stand up and declare against this attack on the Gaza Strip.
As an action of solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Venezuelan president will undertake humanitarian actions to supply Palestine with medicines and food "in spite of some opposition leaders who continue attacking me and saying that I am giving away the money Venezuela needs to face the world economic crisis."
"The yankee empire has no mercy and the evidence is what they are supporting in Gaza, where a real slaughter, bombardments every 15 minutes and a ground invasion are taking place; this is all supported by the current government of the United States", said President Chávez.
"Nobody knows what their plans are to expand the war in the Middle East and other parts of the world. That's the reason why we will undertake humanitarian actions with the Palestinian people; no matter what the opposition says", stressed the Venezuelan leader.
See also http://links.org.au/node/826
December 29, 2008
Socialist Alliance statement (available in Arabic at http://links.org.au/node/826)
Israel’s killing must stop! Stand up for the people of Gaza! End ties with the racist Israeli state!
The Socialist Alliance condemns the Israeli massacre in the Gaza strip, which has left at least 280 people dead and 800 more injured. We call on the Rudd government to also condemn this slaughter and to break Australian economic, diplomatic, military and cultural ties with the Israeli apartheid state.
While Israel claimed that it targeted “terrorists”, the 100 bombs were mostly aimed at police stations in the middle of densely populated civilian areas. The attack, which was carefully planned at least several days in advance, also took place at the same time as children were going home from school, leaving many dead or injured.
The massacre comes on the back of two years of blockade imposed by Israel in an attempt to topple the democratically elected Hamas government. Many Gazans have already died due to lack of basic medical treatment, food, clean water and electricity.
The killing looks set to continue with large numbers of Israeli armored vehicles massing on the border of Gaza. Israel has called up 6500 reservists and has announced that it will call up more over the next few days.
If the massacres are to stop international public opinion needs to let Israel know that its actions are unacceptable. In particular, Israel’s traditional supporters , who have clearly sanctioned this bloody operation, must be forced to withdraw their support.
The Australian people need to stand up for the people of Gaza by making the Rudd government end its support for Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Socialist Alliance urges its members and supporters to join all emergency protests that are being organised around the country against this latest crime of the Israeli state.
People before profits, planet before profits
"The barbaric Israeli assault on Gaza will go down in infamy alongside Deir Yasin and Sabra and Shatilla as one of the defining events of the Palestinian tragedy and resistance.
"The atrocities are continuing -– so too must the world-wide protests. We in Britain have a particular responsibility. Our government, alongside George W Bush, has sickeningly placed the blame on the Palestinians for their suffering in Gaza.
"Our government arms the quisling Arab regimes whose cowardice and greed are as necessary to Israel's murder as its US supplied weapons.
"Historically, it was a British foreign minister who authored the Palestinian tragedy when he signed their country away to the Zionist movement.
"Respect helped organise the militant demonstration on December 28 in London outside the Israeli embassy within 24 hours of the first air raids on Gaza. We stand in solidarity with the protests called by diverse groups across Britain.
"Every single MP should be put under pressure to speak out clearly against Israel's aggression. Those who do not will have the blood of innocent Palestinians on their hands.
"Let's unify our efforts. Stop the Slaughter in Gaza. Hold the British government to account. Freedom for Palestine."
Congress of South African Trade Unions vehemently condemns today's
murderous Israeli attack on the people of Palestine, when Israeli
warplanes and combat helicopters killed at least 155 people and wounded
around 200 more in Gaza. It is reported that in Gaza City the dead and
wounded lay scattered on the ground after more than 30 airstrikes
destroyed several security compounds, including two where Hamas was
hosting graduation ceremonies for new recruits. Today's death
toll is even worse than on the five-day Israeli offensive in March,
which killed more than 120 people. It is the highest loss of life in a
single day in more than 20 years. And yet the Israeli government says
that today's attack is "just the beginning" of their offensive against
the people of Gaza! Among the dead, according to medical workers'
reports, are police chief, Tawfiq Jabber, the head of Hamas's security
and protection unit, and the governor of central Gaza. Contrary to the
Israeli claim that it had only targeted "terrorist infrastructure", TV
footage clearly shows wounded children being carried to hospital. Yet
again civilians are bearing the brunt of the bombings and shootings. COSATU
endorses the view of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, that this
Israeli air campaign was "criminal" and backs his call for the
international community to intervene. The federation reaffirms
more strongly than ever its demand that Israel must immediately
withdraw all occupation forces from Gaza and end the occupation of all
Palestinian land. It must abide by international human rights law, and
refrain from imposing collective punishment on Palestinian civilians
(as per the UN Human Rights Council declaration issued on July 6,
2006), which it has blatantly contravened today. All workers and
freedom-loving people of South Africa and the world should intensify
the boycott of Israeli goods. COSATU reiterates its call for the
government of South Africa to break diplomatic ties with Apartheid
Israel and institute sanctions against it until it ends its 40 years of
military occupation of Palestine and recognise the people's right to
sovereignty and self-determination. Patrick Craven (national spokesperson), Congress of South African Trade Unions
COSATU condemns Israeli assault on Gaza
The Congress of South African Trade Unions vehemently condemns today's murderous Israeli attack on the people of Palestine, when Israeli warplanes and combat helicopters killed at least 155 people and wounded around 200 more in Gaza. It is reported that in Gaza City the dead and wounded lay scattered on the ground after more than 30 airstrikes destroyed several security compounds, including two where Hamas was hosting graduation ceremonies for new recruits.
Today's death toll is even worse than on the five-day Israeli offensive in March, which killed more than 120 people. It is the highest loss of life in a single day in more than 20 years. And yet the Israeli government says that today's attack is "just the beginning" of their offensive against the people of Gaza!
Among the dead, according to medical workers' reports, are police chief, Tawfiq Jabber, the head of Hamas's security and protection unit, and the governor of central Gaza. Contrary to the Israeli claim that it had only targeted "terrorist infrastructure", TV footage clearly shows wounded children being carried to hospital. Yet again civilians are bearing the brunt of the bombings and shootings.
COSATU endorses the view of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, that this Israeli air campaign was "criminal" and backs his call for the international community to intervene.
The federation reaffirms more strongly than ever its demand that Israel must immediately withdraw all occupation forces from Gaza and end the occupation of all Palestinian land. It must abide by international human rights law, and refrain from imposing collective punishment on Palestinian civilians (as per the UN Human Rights Council declaration issued on July 6, 2006), which it has blatantly contravened today.
All workers and freedom-loving people of South Africa and the world should intensify the boycott of Israeli goods. COSATU reiterates its call for the government of South Africa to break diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it until it ends its 40 years of military occupation of Palestine and recognise the people's right to sovereignty and self-determination.
Patrick Craven (national spokesperson), Congress of South African Trade Unions
By Left Party (Sweden)
28, 2008 -- It is with great dismay and sadness, that we are seeing how
Israel abuses the already hard-hit population of Gaza continues. The
casualities are rising as the Israeli bombardments continue. Hospitals
are filled with wounded and dying people, hospitals who lack access to
medicines and equipment due to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. ``We
are running out of words in order to accurately describe the hell that
the Gaza residents endure'', says Lars Ohly, chair of the Left Party.
Israeli attacks on densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip are
unjustified and in clear and serious violation of the very foundations
of international law and the law of wars. It is the duty of the entire
world, including Sweden, to act forcefully. The Left Party
demands that Israel immediately ceases its attacks on Gaza and the
border crossings are opened, so that the population of Gaza can have
access to medicines and food. Sweden must clearly put pressure on
Israel to respect international law and human rights. ``The
time for verbal condemnation is over, Israel's clear violations of
human rights and international law must now bear consequences. Sweden
must act immediately within the EU to break the existing free trade
agreement between the European Union and Israel, and freeze the
negotiations on deepening cooperation between the EU and Israel. Now it
is high time to stop rewarding the Israeli occupation and aggression'',
said Hans Linde, foreign policy spokesperson for the Left Party.
December 28, 2008 -- It is with great dismay and sadness, that we are seeing how Israel abuses the already hard-hit population of Gaza continues. The casualities are rising as the Israeli bombardments continue. Hospitals are filled with wounded and dying people, hospitals who lack access to medicines and equipment due to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.
``We are running out of words in order to accurately describe the hell that the Gaza residents endure'', says Lars Ohly, chair of the Left Party. Israeli attacks on densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip are unjustified and in clear and serious violation of the very foundations of international law and the law of wars. It is the duty of the entire world, including Sweden, to act forcefully.
The Left Party demands that Israel immediately ceases its attacks on Gaza and the border crossings are opened, so that the population of Gaza can have access to medicines and food. Sweden must clearly put pressure on Israel to respect international law and human rights.
``The time for verbal condemnation is over, Israel's clear violations of human rights and international law must now bear consequences. Sweden must act immediately within the EU to break the existing free trade agreement between the European Union and Israel, and freeze the negotiations on deepening cooperation between the EU and Israel. Now it is high time to stop rewarding the Israeli occupation and aggression'', said Hans Linde, foreign policy spokesperson for the Left Party.
Hon. Navin Ramgoolam
Republic of Mauritius
December 29, 2008
We write to you as Prime Minister in view of the brutal air strikes by the Israeli army against Gaza, which according to the Red Cross have caused 300 deaths, most of them civilians, and 950 wounded amongst the Palestinians since last Saturday.
LALIT strongly condemns this military aggression by the Israeli army against the Palestinians living inside the Gaza Strip. It is both disproportionate and indiscriminate. We are particularly concerned about the fate of the 1.5 million ``imprisoned'' Palestinians of Gaza living under the murderous siege imposed by the Israeli government since June 2007 and suffering the effects of economic sanctions that are backed by the US and its European allies.
This siege and the economic sanctions are together responsible for denying Palestinians access to medical treatment and causing shortages of food, fuel and electricity to Palestinians. Together they constitute a grave act of collective punishment. The current international economic blocade against Palestine has resulted in a spiralling humanitarian disaster, with the spread of disease, malnutrition and chaos in both the West Bank and Gaza. This new military attack by Israel is further aggravating the situation of the Palestinian people.
The illegal occupation and colonisation of Palestine is, in fact, benefiting the Israeli economy. Israel is making enormous financial gains from its control of all essential services for the Occupied Territories, including water, electricity and telephone services. Some 10 % of Israel’s income (or 46.651 new Israel shekels) is generated each year by the occupation of Palestine. It is the Israeli military industrial complex that has been the primary beneficiary. It is using the occupied territories for ‘field trials’ for new weapons systems.
In 2004 the export of this weaponry was worth US$4.5 billion, or around 10% of the total military expenditure in the world according to Shiv Hever and the Israeli-Palestine Alternative Information Centre (AIC). Companies like Caterpillar, Volvo, Daewoo are also making huge profits from the occupation, all three are supplying equipment to Israel, specially to the military. The D9 armoured bulldozers, supplied by Caterpillar are often used for the demolition of Palestinians’ houses. Since 2000, according to the UN, more than 4500 Palestinian homes have been demolished. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolition estimates that Israel has demolished more than 12,000 Palestinian homes since 1967.
The ``security barrier'' or Apartheid Wall that Israel is building is also making profits for Israeli and foreign companies. The wall is in fact designed to steal Palestine’s natural resources (such as water and land). The ``seamline'' zone between the 1967 Green Line and the Apartheid Wall is now being used by Israeli capitalists to super-exploit Palestinian workers who are forced to work as cheap labour in this “free” zone, a zone where companies do not have to abide by Israeli labour or environmental laws.
The continued military attacks and war waged by Israel on Palestine are motivated by the economic interests and political agenda of the capitalist business class of Israel, US and Europe and their respective States.
Through this letter we would like to re-iterate the call that LALIT and former President Cassam Uteem made to your government in a letter in November 2006. We therefore call again on your government
(i) to freeze its diplomatic relations with Israel,
(ii) to call for an arms embargo on Israel, and
(iii) to initiate a boycott of Israeli products.
Your government should simultaneously use its influence in regional and international forums to take the initiative to prepare a collective statement demanding an immediate stop of Israel military action in Gaza and to follow suit in the three actions above. All must be done to force the present Israeli regime to act according to international law and to put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people. The 40 years of illegal occupation and 60 years of colonisation of Palestine are reminiscent of the violence of colonisation in past centuries, now universally condemned as having been totally unacceptable plunder often bordering on genocide. It must stop.
LALIT also expressed its total solidarity with the people of Palestine, in particular with the inhabitants of Gaza, who are facing another harsh and disastrous end of the year. We are actively supporting groups in Palestine and in Israel engaged in resistance actions against military occupation and colonisation.
Copy to: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Cassam Uteem, Palestine Solidarity Committee, the press.
By David Finkl
The horror in Gaza is not some kind of accident or unexpected disaster. It is a result of events and decisions years in the making. It cannot be understood apart from years of United States policy in the Middle East. And it is most definitely not an act of “legitimate Israeli defence against unprovoked Hamas rockets”.
The bombing of Gaza is the massacre of a civilian population. Homes in refugee camps, hospitals, a university and its dormitories with students sleeping inside, vital infrastructure -- all have been hit by Israel’s “precision bombs”. Targets destroyed in the name of “destroying terrorist structures” include police stations and recruits, who are ordinary people not military personnel. Journalists are barred from entering Gaza, so direct accounts of the carnage come mostly from Palestinian bloggers or desperate United Nation relief officials.
The military operation has clearly been planned for months. All during this time, Israel has tightened the blockade of Gaza, with complete United States government approval - cutting off essential medicines including insulin, reducing critical food supplies to barely above starvation level - fully realizing that the Hamas authorities in Gaza would eventually respond with rockets at southern Israeli towns. That was exactly the pretext that Israel’s government wanted.
Horror in Gaza
Several hundred Gaza residents, including noncombatant women and children, have been killed and thousands wounded. Even before this onslaught, however, they have been dying from lack of medicines blocked by the Israeli siege. A recent solidarity delegation to Gaza, traveling by boat in defiance of the blockade, was asked by their Palestinian hosts to bring thousands of children’s hearing aids -- because children in Gaza have catastrophic hearing loss from Israeli noise bombs as well as jets’ routine sonic booms.
The Israeli assault is intended to break the back of the Hamas government in Gaza, but it will fail in this, as the Palestinians of Gaza will rally behind Hamas in their solidarity against attack. Therefore, the massacre of Gaza’s people can be expected to continue until international outrage forces it to stop. That outrage is quite rightly directed as much at the American government as it is at Israel. The Bush administration, with its proclamation that the elected Hamas Palestinian government “are nothing but thugs”, is giving open full support to this crime against humanity.
Palestinians and their supporters are sickened by the complicity of Arab governments, particularly Egypt, in the Israeli-US attempt to destroy the leadership that was chosen through a free election in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The European Union, whichextends special trading privileges to Israel, has also done nothing to stop the Israeli blockade of Gaza and now the slaughter of its population. The pressure to force the bombing to end must come from below, from the Global Justice movement and from the outrage of people throughout the Middle East and the world.
Much of the world is awaiting with great hope the arrival of the Barack Obama presidency. Mr Obama was elected, let us remember, with great majority support both from Jewish and Arab Americans, and his victory was greeted with elation in the Arab world and Israel alike. Tragically, his statements before the election, and his silence now, offer little reason to expect the Obama White House to change US policies which are leading Israel, as well as the United States and the Middle East, toward mutual destruction.
What needs to change? The fiasco known as the “peace process” since the early 1990s has produced no peace, because it was always built on two false assumptions. The first was that Israel would keep the promises it made to halt settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and allow a viable Palestinian state to emerge. No Israeli government ever intended to do so. The second assumption was that the Palestinian population would quietly surrender in the face of overwhelming firepower to whatever terms the United States and Israel would dictate. They haven’t surrendered, and they won’t now.
The Arab American community and supporters of the Palestinian people poured out in Dearborn, Michigan on December 30, lining the sidewalk on Warren Avenue for a full half mile. At least two thousand people participated in this protest against Israel’s murderous bombing of the population of Gaza, so many that a memorial service for the Palestinian martyrs planned for the evening had to be postponed as the crowd overflowed the hall. Another mobilisation will occur at Dearborn City Hall on Friday, January 2.
Under this “peace process”, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza have created a reality worse than existed in South Africa. The world must stand up against this to force the change that is necessary if there is to be peace for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. The growing international efforts for boycott and sanctions deserve full support, to end the Israeli occupation and force the slaughter in Gaza to stop. The only other possible outcomes, all too clearly foreshadowed by what we must call the Israeli-US massacre in Gaza, are new forms of apartheid and ultimately genocide too horrible to contemplate.
A Statement of the National Action Committee of the Socialist Party USA
The Socialist Party USA unequivocally condemns the ongoing Israeli military offensive against the people of Gaza. We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities on all sides and an immediate end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. We encourage US citizens to assist the process of peace in the region by demanding that the US government end all military aid to Israel and other Middle Eastern governments.
The Israeli military is involved in a massacre of the people of Gaza. More than one million people are trapped in the region, penned in by the Israeli Defense Forces on one side and the Egyptian military on the other. Over the past few days, more than 400 people have been killed and thousands more injured as a result of Israeli military aggression. This has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis which has put the entire population of Gaza at risk. Today, Gaza City is a squalid ghetto under attack by overwhelming military force intent on the inflicting collective punishment on the Palestinian people “to the bitter end.”
The present humanitarian tragedy in the Gaza Strip is only a one moment in a history of Israeli state terrorism directed at the Palestinian population. Features of this conflict include arbitrary seizures of Palestinian land, destruction of homes, and the criminalization and physical expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. This process must be ended immediately. The Socialist Party USA believes that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be reached through violence. The politics of terror and militarization tend to reduce the social space available for popular movements to develop. The Socialist Party USA therefore supports Israelis and Palestinians who are working toward a peaceful, equitable solution and we encourage collaborative organizing across national and ethnic borders.
The Socialist Party USA also believes that the US government is directly responsible for funding the militarisation of the region and giving political cover to the overwhelming use of force by the state of Israel. Many of the tanks, planes, and helicopters, being used against the Palestinian people have been paid for with US taxpayer’s money. Indeed, tens of billions of dollars has been delivered to the state of Israel and Egypt in the form of military aid. The US government has provided political support in various international organizations, including the United Nations, for the Israeli state regardless of the illegality or illegitimacy of its actions. Added to this, is the continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by the US military which has resulted in a massive death toll and has served to justify the use of military force.
The Socialist Party USA believes that residents of the United States have an important role to play in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We have a responsibility to build popular movements which aim to end the US government’s “special relationship” with Israel and which call for an end to the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. All forms of non-violent protest should be employed in this effort including divestment campaigning which features boycotts of corporations that openly support Israel. Internationally, the Socialist Party USA seeks to support popular forces throughout the Middle East who are working towards building democratic secular societies. Democratic Socialism, with its emphasis on international solidarity and human rights, offers the possibility of moving beyond the occupier’s logic of violence, criminalization and oppression.
No to Israeli Military Aggression!
End the Siege of Gaza!
For the Free Association of all People’s of the Middle East!
End the Occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan!
Israel’s aerial and ground war is in full swing with no end in sight. Palestinian children throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers are met with tank and aerial bombardment of their entire neighborhoods by Israel. None of this horror could take place without the massive aid the U.S. is and has been supplying to Israel even before its birth in 1948.
In a News Analysis written by Ethan Bronner that appeared in the Times December 29, 2008 entitled, “Israel Reminds Foes That It Has Teeth,” Bronner, reports that while Israel maintains that the reason they are carrying out this military operation in Gaza is to force, “… Hamas to end its rocket barrages and military buildup.” He goes on to say, “But it has another goal as well: to expunge the ghost of its flawed 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and re-establish Israeli deterrence.” Bronner continues, “…[Israel] worries that its enemies are less afraid of it than they once were, or should be. Israeli leaders are calculating that a display of power in Gaza could fix that.”
But in another article (also December 29) that appeared in Counterpunch, by Joshua Frank, entitled “Obama and the ‘Special Relationship’,” the author writes, “Over the last seven years only 17 Israeli citizens have been killed by Palestinian rocket fire, which makes it extremely difficult for Israeli politicians, which are in the midst of an election, to argue that their response has been proportionate or defensible in any way.”
Not only have the people in Gaza been enduring an Israeli blockade of all goods and services, including electricity, water and medical supplies and equipment, for over a year; the death toll among all the people of Palestine is counted in the tens-of-thousands since before the formation of Israel in 1948.
And, as for U.S. intentions in the region from that time on, in an article in the March 1995 issue of The Middle East Forum Promoting American Interests entitled, “Jesse Helms: Setting the Record Straight,” Helms, who was the senior senator from North Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time stated,
“I have long believed that if the United States is going to give money to Israel, it should be paid out of the Department of Defense budget. My question is this: If Israel did not exist, what would U.S. defense costs in the Middle East be? Israel is at least the equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without Israel promoting its and America’s common interests, we would be badly off indeed.”1
This quote was from 13 years ago. Just think of the buildup of Israel’s arsenal funded by U.S. dollars since that time! How many aircraft carriers is Israel worth today with its U.S.-stocked nuclear arsenal?
This siege on Gaza is not just to throw the proverbial fear of the almighty into the people of Gaza but to all who stand opposed to U.S. wars and occupations throughout the world, including opposition to their funding of Israel’s ongoing and relentless war against the Palestinian people.
In fact, Palestine can be viewed as the first front of the U.S. “War on Terror.” The U.S. came out on top of the world imperialist heap after WWII. And immediately it facilitated the formation of Israel with the intention of establishing Israel as a beachhead for U.S. imperialist interests in the Middle East. That’s why they have funded Israel’s war against the people of Palestine all these years since Israel’s formation.
The U.S./Israeli war on Palestine cannot be separated from the U.S. War on Terror any more than you can separate the war on Iraq from the war on Afghanistan; the attacks in Pakistan; the threat to Iran, etc. It is just another front along its designated “Axis of Evil” which includes many other targets around the world in Lebanon, Africa, Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Columbia—anywhere the U.S. meets resistance to their imperialist exploitation of workers and natural resources.
It is incumbent upon the American people including the entire antiwar movement in this country to stand squarely opposed to these murderous assaults against a people pummeled by war for decades, bankrolled by the U.S. to benefit U.S. Big Business and maintain its world military domination!
The working class of the U.S. must join the workers of the rest of the world not only to condemn the ongoing bloodshed and the inhuman blockade of Gaza, and demand it end immediately, but it must condemn all U.S. funding and aid to Israel and demand that it end NOW!
We must educate people who have been brainwashed by years of lies and propaganda justifying the hundreds of billions of dollars this bipartisan government has already spent funding the wars to insure U.S. domination in the Middle East. And we must point out that Israel— the former Palestine—is but one of 725-plus U.S. military bases around the globe.
The antiwar movement can make a huge step forward by demanding that the U.S. end all aid to Israel now. Palestinian speakers should be featured at antiwar rallies.
“End All U.S. Aid to Israel NOW! Not One More Dime for War and Occupation! Bring All the Troops and Contractors Home from Iraq and Afghanistan NOW! Money for Human Needs Not War and Occupation!”