Urgent call from Gaza

We use our editorial space this week to reprint portions of a June 12 “Urgent call from Gaza civil society,” signed by 17 organizations representing Palestinian women, students, teachers and unions.

We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured, including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever.

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

– Arms embargoes on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;

– Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel

Association agreement;

– Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society in 2005.

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies.

Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset, Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party, called for genocide of the Palestinian people. “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes,” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire Al-Hajj family was wiped out — the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, five more dead, including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven-year-old child among them.

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their three-story house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighborhood. The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. Seven people died immediately, including five children under 13 years old. Twenty-five more were injured, and 8-year-old Seraj Abed al-Aal succumbed to his injuries later that evening.

Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity; surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade cutting off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now.

We know we face horrors ahead of us. For this we call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

– Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel;

– Trials for war crimes;

– Immediate international protection for the civilians of Gaza.

Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amid this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime. When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.

ACT NOW, before it is too late!