Israel unleashed terror on the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip last week, when it launched a military operation including airstrikes.
It claimed it was attempting to stop the Hamas Islamist movement firing rockets into Israel, but its real aim is to crush the Palestinian people’s resistance to their oppression.
Israel murdered over 100 Palestinians, the majority civilians, in the five day assault and injured over 350 people. In contrast, only three Israelis died, including two soldiers and one civilian.
As Israel “withdrew” from Gaza on Monday of this week – just as US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was about to arrive for a two-day visit – its leaders were already pledging further attacks on Gaza.
Prime minister Ehud Olmert said, “We are in the midst of a combat action. What happened was not a one off event.”
Amjad Shawa, Palestinian NGO network coordinator for Gaza, and Mona el-Farra, a doctor at Al Awda hospital in Jabalia refugee camp, spoke to Socialist Worker on Monday of this week.
“These have been very difficult days,” said Amjad. “A huge number of people have been killed, including women, children and disabled people. Many NGOs have been destroyed, such as those that supply medical relief.
“It was a massacre, with no mercy shown towards the children. They were killing our beautiful youth every day.
“People went three days without water during the attack. The 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip were already suffering from the Israeli siege that began in 2006.
“Now it’s getting worse. We are spending most of the day without electricity. There is a shortage of fuel to operate water wells and run ambulances.
“Any new military operation will increase our problems. The Palestinians are facing a catastrophe.”
Mona said, “Last Saturday the hospital received 69 injured people. These casualties were more than the capacity of the hospital’s beds and two operating theatres. Many of the injured had to lie on the floor.
“We had to evacuate some of the injured people to another hospital. Some were left to bleed until they died because of a lack of resources.
“There is little electricity in the Gaza Strip – blackouts are now the rule. The ministry of health is advising people to boil drinking water, as there is no chlorine to treat it. The health of people is deteriorating.
“On Monday everyone in Gaza went to funerals of those killed in the assault. The Israeli operation did not stop.”
The attack on Gaza is the latest part of the US and Israel’s plans to destroy Hamas. This month’s issue of Vanity Fair magazine reveals how George Bush was outraged when Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006.
He launched a plan to get the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement to prepare a coup against Hamas. This was foiled after clashes that led to Hamas taking control of Gaza in June last year.
“It looks like what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted by Hamas before it could happen,” said David Wurmser, a former adviser to US vice-president Dick Cheney.
“Israel uses the excuse of Palestinian rocket attacks,” said Mona. “But it is trying to hide the fact that the occupation is continuing. Israel stopped directly occupying Gaza in 2004, but it is still controlling our lives by remote control.
“This is a disproportionate war between an army and a people’s resistance. It is the Palestinian people’s right to resist occupation.”
Amjad said, “Israel killed children in its attack. Were they firing rockets from Gaza? No – they were killed because they were Palestinian, because of their identity and nationality.”
Amjad and Mona are both calling for people in Britain and other countries to show solidarity with the people of Gaza by joining protests, such as the 15 March World Against War demonstrations.
Amjad said, “We are hoping that the people who value justice will act to help us. We need help to get hope for those who are losing some of it every day. People in the prison of Gaza feel alone. And we need to feel that people in Britain are with us.
“Please show your solidarity with the people in Palestine by joining protests in your country. Show Israel that the Palestinians are not alone and that you are against its crimes. Protest for our children and infants.”
Mona said, “Protests against Israel’s attacks are important. They make us feel that we are not alone.”
Emergency protest against Israel’s assault and siege of Gaza, Saturday 8 March, 4-6pm, opposite Downing Street, central London. Called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
For more on the Stop the War 15 March demonstrations go to » www.stopwar.org.uk