TWO ISRAELI bulldozers rolled into the Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Thursday of last week. Guarded by Israeli soldiers, they crushed the homes of 112 families, leaving over 600 people homeless, around half of them children. The Israelis also tore up the runway of Gaza airport.
The Israeli army claimed the houses were empty, and that Palestinian gunmen used them for cover. 'This is revenge,' argued Samir Ghenim, a resident who had fled with his children minutes before the attack. It happened only a week after Israel intercepted the Karine A ship, which according to the Israelis was attempting to smuggle weapons to the Palestinians.
Israel's right wing government, led by Ariel Sharon, went into a frenzy, despite Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's denial that the weapons were bound for his Palestinian Authority. Sharon used the ship's seizure to claim that Arafat was 'preparing for the next wave of terror'.
The US demanded a response from Arafat. Yet it gives around $1 billion worth of weapons to Israel every year to continue the oppression of Palestinians. Israel has killed around 1,000 Palestinians in the last 15 months since the beginning of the intifada, or uprising.
The Palestinian people would not need weapons if the Israeli state stopped rolling tanks into Palestinian areas, destroying homes and killing whole families.
PICKET THE ISRAELI EMBASSY
Saturday 26 January, 12 noon Kensington High Street, west London (Kensington High Street tube) Called by the Stop the War Coalition