Socialist Worker

Step up solidarity for Gaza

After BBC bans humanitarian appeal: Collect money for Palestine | Protest against the siege | Stop arms sales to Israel

Issue No. 2136

Israel has reduced Gaza to a wasteland. It has killed over 1,300 people, around a third of them ­children. Thousands more have been left injured, homeless and traumatised. The United Nations describes Gaza as a site of “utter devastation”.

In this context, it is no surprise that the BBC’s refusal to air the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for aid for Gaza has led to such outrage.

As Tony Benn, president of the Stop the War Coalition put it, “If the BBC doesn’t broadcast it, people will die in Gaza, because they haven’t got the aid that would have come from an appeal.”

The scale of the destruction in Gaza is staggering.

Up to 90,000 people have been forced out of their homes. People are living on the streets among ­rubble and decomposing bodies.

For ordinary Gazans, their biggest challenge is burying their dead, finding somewhere to live and getting enough food to survive the day. Basic food items are scarce – there is a shortage of bread because out of the 47 mills and bakeries in Gaza only 12 are open.

Thousands of people are suffering from malnutrition and one million – out of a population of 1.5 million – are dependent on aid just to survive.

Around a third of people have no access to running water and the supply is intermittent for the rest. Some 80 percent of this water does not meet World Health Organisation standards.

There are not enough hospitals, equipment or workers to help the injured, and medics are constantly battling with power shortages.

Even before the assault on Gaza, Israel’s 18-month economic blockade had devastated the area. Over half of Gazans have no electricity.

Unemployment is almost 50 percent. Out of 3,900 workplaces in the Gaza Strip, only 23 were operating even before the attacks.

It is estimated that $2 billion is needed just to repair the 21,000 homes, factories and government buildings that Israel damaged or destroyed.

Aid agencies cannot cope with the scale of the crisis and a number of charities and humanitarian organisations are appealing for help.

The BBC says it chose not to air the DEC appeal because to do so would threaten its “impartiality”.

But it has been anything but impartial in its coverage of the destruction of Gaza – it has spent the past four weeks cravenly spouting pro-Israeli propaganda.

Its refusal to air the broadcast does not reflect “impartiality”, but the lack of it.

Nevertheless, ordinary people are determined to stand with the Palestinians.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are collecting money, demonstrating and demanding that Israel is held to account for its crimes.

People should hold collections for Gaza in their workplaces, schools, colleges, and on the streets.

We must continue to build this solidarity – to refuse to let Israel destroy Gaza and to demand that it ends its murderous economic blockade.

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