Monday, November 23, 2020

Itís Time to Stop the Ferocious Israeli Attacks on the Civilians of Gaza

By Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi - November 19, 2012
Section: [Main News] [Opinion]
Tags: [Mustafa Bargouthi] [Gaza]

Today, I want to clarify five different points regarding Israel’s current military offensive on the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli media are currently hard at work trying to distort the international perception of the current situation.

For the past two years, the international media had spotlighted Israel as a victim defending itself from Palestinian rockets. However, it is important note that each and every ceasefire violation over the past two years by Israel. Similarly, the latest 12 November 2012 Egyptian mediated ceasefire—a ceasefire agreed upon by both the authorities in Israel and in Gaza— was again broken by Israel via its extrajudicial execution of Ahmed Jabari, his personal bodyguard and a cameraman on 14 November 2012. Israel started the current escalation in violence and has since gone on to assassinate other leaders throughout the Gaza Strip. These types of insidious operations are a part of Israeli tactics.

Secondly, the motives behind Israel’s attack on November 14 must also be clarified to the international community. It is certain that Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and Avigdor Liberman wanted to use Palestinian and Israeli blood as propaganda for the coming elections in January 2013. They could not start a war with Iran so they instead refocused their sights on Gaza. They are using this war to gain support from the Israeli electorate as well as to divide Palestinian people and crush their will to resist; yet another confirmation that the government of Israel is a government of war, not a government of peace.

These types of insidious operations are a part of Israeli tactics

Third, this war is not only a war on Hamas, this war is an attack on the entire Palestinian people. There is a war on all of Gaza, on its 1.7 million inhabitants, living crammed into only 140square miles. Every Israeli airstrike leads to losses, especially of civilian lives. This conflict is also a war on the popular nonviolent resistance within the West Bank and Jerusalem. Retrospectively, since November 14th most media have completely overlooked any and all popular resistance efforts and Israeli subsequent violent repression throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem. This is also a war against the Palestinian’s decision to apply to the United Nations as an observer state. Accordingly, all of us, every single Palestinian, is included in Israel’s attacks on Gaza. There are no exceptions.

Fourth, the Palestinian people are united in the face of Israel’s aggression. What happened yesterday in the West Bank and Jerusalem proves my point exactly. Yesterday’s demonstrations showed a clear rise in Palestinian nonviolent solidarity activities with the people of Gaza.

Fifth, this is an incredibly bloody type of war. An article in the New York Times yesterday reported that a comparison between number of losses on each sides comes to 16 Palestinians per every one Israeli. This contrast in losses must be made clear as its not possible to compare the Israeli army, considered one of the top five or six strongest in the world, with the valiant Palestinians using only simple means of resistance. During Israel’s 2008-2009 ground invasion of Gaza, the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli deaths was 111 to one. If Israel chooses to pursue a similar ground invasion this time around we are likely to see comparable causality figures.

Since Wednesday 14 November 2012, we have recorded 70 martyrs stemming from Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and almost 600 injured people, among whom there are 85 women, 180 children and 30 elderly. Among the martyrs, there have been three women, three elderly and 20 children.  These numbers are steadily increasing.

I will now list several names and ages of the martyrs, in particular the children, as I would like the media to focus on their names not only on the numbers. We are talking about Ahmad Bashrawi (11-months old), Hanin Tafi (10-months old), Jumana Abu Suifan (11-mohts old), Tamir Abu Suifan (2-years old), Walid Abadle (2 ½-years old), Rinan Arafat (7-years old), Faris Basyouni (5-years old), Omar Mashrawi (4-years old), Muhammad Eyad Sa’abala (4-years old), Eyad Abu Kousa (1  ½ years old)  died this morning along with two other children of the Abu Foul family. Of course, in addition to Hiba Mashrawi (19-years old) who was pregnant with twins.

Additionally, this afternoon around 4 PM an Israeli airstrike in Sheikh Radwan wiped out 14 members of the Al-Dalou family: five women, five children and four men.

Israel has launched more than 1,200 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since 14 November 2012, with about 300 airstrikes yesterday alone.  The numbers are steadily increasing as we speak. The strikes have been aimed at residential areas without any precaution for the presence of civilians. For example, yesterday the house of the Saleh family in the Zaitouna district was hit directly by an Israeli F16 jet fighter, demolishing the house and severely injuring at least 30 people.  Also yesterday, Israel committed yet another crime, shelling one the media center in Bourj Al-Sharouq, injuring six Palestinian journalists. One of the journalists present, Khader Zaher, subsequently had his leg amputated.

We call on all members of the Arab League, and indeed all members of the international community, to join us in our decision to pressure Israel and use Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions measures

Additionally, there are two new developments stemming from yesterday’s protests in the West Bank and Jerusalem. First, the Israeli army used live bullets on peaceful, unarmed demonstrators, severely injuring Rushdi Tamimi of Nabi Saleh as well as Hussein Shawamri, a paramedic for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS).

Second, Israeli forces are shooting tear gas canisters and live bullets directly at Palestinian ambulances. One PMRS ambulance was damaged outside Ofer prison after being deliberately targeted. Twenty year-old Issra’ Hdayd, a volunteer with PMRS who was in the ambulance at the time, was struck directly in the head, fracturing her skull in two places and leaving her with a brain hemorrhage. She is currently being treated in Ramallah hospital in life threating conditions.

Yesterday the army also injured many university students, particularly the valiant students of Birzeit University and including the head of the student council.

On another note, yesterday we discovered that the Israeli army is using a new kind of weapon. Instead of bullets, they have been firing a new and dangerous type of canister bomb that administers some type of electrical charge upon impact. This new type of shell can lead to immediate death if it strikes one in the head and blindness if it strikes one in the eye.

So these are the actions of Israel’s occupation forces—the 'most moral army in the world’—and of course, they come in addition to the wide use of rubber bullets, tear gas and sound bombs. In fact, yesterday, several demonstrators were hit in the eye by rubber bullets. But latest development of the unregimented use of live bullets against peaceful demonstrators is not only dangerous and immoral, it is a blatant war crime—one of the man war crimes Israel commits on a daily basis in both Gaza and the West Bank.

The world witnessed yesterday, and will witness again today, unprecedented solidarity activities with the Palestinian people. Yesterday, demonstrations took place in Belgium, France, in several cities within the United Kingdom,  in Ireland, Portugal,  and the United States, and today we are likely to see demonstrations in other countries all over the world.

As images from today’s airstrikes on Gaza disseminate across the globe, and we continue to see more and more dead Palestinian children, we expect to see a further rise in solidarity actions with the Palestinian people.

- Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Leader of the Palestinian National Initiative

*This is a condensed transcript of a press conference Dr. Barghouti held on November 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM at Watan TV in Ramallah, occupied West Bank. Casuality figures were updated at 5:30 PM.

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