War on Gaza

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Palestinian human rights activist discusses violence

Jameel Rashid
Contributor

It looks as though history is repeating itself, as Israel’s Jan. 22 election nears.

In December 2008, Israel asserted its power by pounding the Gaza Strip with hundreds of daily airstrikes in an operation by the Israeli Defence Forces called “Operation Cast Lead.” The attacks came just weeks before the 2009 Israeli Elections. Claiming that Cast Lead was an important operation to protect Israel from rocket fire coming in from Hamas troops in Gaza, the operation lasted 22 days, killing nearly 1,400 people, mostly women and young children, according to Amnesty International statistics on the conflict. Global condemnation for the killing of innocent civilians garnered the attention of various human rights organizations.

The overall 2008 attack saw an election victory of Benyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.     Four years later, and with a new election on the horizon for Israel, similar events are unfolding yet again.

This time, Israel has began “Operation Pillar of Defence” aimed at protecting Israeli citizens from rocket attacks and destroying Hamas.

Important questions must be raised regarding Israel’s real intentions for going to war a second time with the Palestinians after its failure to accomplish its goals during Operation Cast Lead.


"[Palestinians] continue to suffer the daily violence of Israel’s ‘self-defence.’” – Valerie Zink


Valerie Zink, Palestinian human rights activist, spoke at a local Regina solidarity rally held on Saturday Nov. 17 in Victoria Park, saying that for too long, Israel has claimed that it had the right to protect itself, while Palestinians did not have that same right.

“When 13-year-old Ahmed Abu Daqqa was shot in the stomach and killed by an Israeli solider as he was playing soccer with a friend last Thursday, we were told that Israel has the right to defend itself. This is not the first time. Sixty-four years ago, when militias razed 400 Palestinian villages to the ground to establish the State of Israel on what was then Palestine, we were told that Israel had the right to defend itself. We were told that it was a land without people, for a people without land, and yet, 800,000 people were violently expelled from their homes to ethnically cleanse the territory that would become Israel … 64 years later, [Palestinians] continue to suffer the daily violence of Israel’s ‘self-defence.’”

Saturday’s rally, seeing close to 100 people in attendance, marched around Victoria Park, raising awareness about what was happening in Gaza, and calling for a “free, free, Palestine.”

The recent attacks on the Gaza strip by Israeli forces have been, according to Israel, a reply to Hamas rocket attacks into Southern Israel. Eli Yishai, Israel’s Interior Minister, said in a statement that “the goal of the [Operation Pillar of Defence] is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” Other Israel spokespersons, such as Gilad Sharon, the son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, outwardly wished destruction on Gaza, writing in the Jerusalem Post that, “We need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima. The Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

Israel has recently called up 75,000 reservists and stations them on the borders with Gaza, in preparation of a ground assault on the costal enclave. As the most densely populated area in the world, and with more than 60 per cent of the population being youth, the grave human rights violations in Gaza continue to grow.

As of Sunday, 12 Palestinian civilians and four fighters were killed in the sixth day of fighting, local officials have said, raising the number of Palestinian deaths to 101, according to Reuters. Of the total deaths, 24 are children.    

Photo courtesy cjme.com

2 comments

  1. ml johnstone 22 November, 2012 at 10:23

    Everyday my heartaches and I am just a regular ol"English speaking WASP
    It was that way the last time too
    I could NOT believe our MPs said so little rather than STOP this immediately to Israel
    I remember M Ignatieff saying Hamas has to stop throwing rockets. C'mon. Israel was bombing everywhere and killing so many while we are looking at rows of dead babies and children
    Who did not hear the cries that came over the airwaves of the Doctor, who worked in obstetrics and reproduction in both places,as he responded to the bombing of his house and loss of daughters?
    His cries haunt me still.
     

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