The present outbreak of violent clashes in East Jerusalem and Gaza have been triggered by Israel’s brutal and violent evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem and the simultaneously co-ordinated attacks by Israeli police on hundreds of peaceful worshippers in Al Aqsa Mosque. Twenty-four people, including nine children, have been killed and more than 600 injured by Israelis heavy bombing of Gaza. The outrage is spreading across West Bank and Israel.
More than a thousand Palestinian families are being forcibly evicted and their homes demolished across East Jerusalem by Israeli riot clad armed police for the purpose of replacing the Palestinian families with Jewish settlers and expanding Israel’s occupation of Palestinian East Jerusalem. These latest evictions are in the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheik Jarrah where 3 generations of displaced Palestinian families are living. Palestinian families and their supporters across Israel, many Jewish, are resisting these brutal evictions by police and violent assaults by Jewish settlers. They act in self-defence, for justice and sovereignty.
The people of Gaza, imprisoned and suppressed by Israel in the tiny narrow overcrowded piece of land, showed their solidarity with their sisters and brothers in East Jerusalem by firing some rockets into Israel. Israel retaliated with heavy bombardment of buildings and homes in Gaza. The US government and many mainstream news outlets present Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza as “self-defense”. Do not the Palestinians have such a right? The weaponry used and damage inflicted are wholly dis-proportionate. The US government bank rolls Israel’s military to the tune of more than $3 billion, annually.
When Israel deploys its military machine against an occupied population that does not have mechanized units, an air force, navy, missiles, heavy artillery and command-and-control, it is not exercising “the right to defend itself;” rather It is carrying out a slow genocide and therefore guilty of war crimes. The recent Israeli savagery has targeted several residential high rises including buildings that housed over a dozen local and international press agencies, government buildings, roads, public facilities, agricultural lands, two schools and a mosque. They are of no military value.
Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison where over two million Palestinians only just survive on the edge of starvation, where they struggle to find clean water and endure constant Israeli terror. The ceaseless crimes of the occupation—the food shortages caused by the Israeli blockade, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the near constant electrical outages due to the Israeli targeting of power plants, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair—would drive any first world country into insanity. This is inhumane carnage.
In fact, Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill thousands of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war of self-defence, it is state-sponsored terrorism.
Israel has racked up over 30 breaches of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Here are just a few violations:
- It has breached Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime.
- It has violated Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war.
- Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel.
- It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.”
(Chris Hedges, ” Israel, the Big Lie”, 14 May 2021 Scheer Post)
However, more than 50 years of Israeli violent occupation and relentless aggression, supported by the US, has not cowed the Palestinian people. Quite the opposite. It has only strengthened their determination to achieve their sovereignty and justice. They have sent a clear message to the world that as long as the brutal occupation continues, they will continue to defend themselves and their inalienable rights to sovereignty.
We call on the Australian government to put pressure on the government of Israel to immediately cease evictions and demolition of Palestinian homes and end the repression and oppression of the Palestinian people. This is the only path the Palestinian and Jewish people can take in moving towards bringing longed-for peace and security for all. They deserve the full support of the Australian people.