Last week there was a six-year-old boy wandering in the street, with either autism or post-traumatic stress disorder, and he was screaming. It sounds awful, but somebody had tied him to a tree. The International Committee of the Red Cross talked to the combatants, and it was arranged for an ambulance crew from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to go to rescue him. But when they went to save the child the crew was attacked and the driver shot dead.Another time I was at a hospital dealing with 180 casualties who came in. A Palestinian doctor there was in tears, sobbing uncontrollably. He told me he had been called over from another hospital in the middle of the night because of an attack.One of the casualties was a girl, about 19 or 20, who had lost her baby and sister. This surgeon amputated her right leg, performed a vascular bypass graft, shortened her femur, and fixed up her abdomen. He was crying because she was his sister.There is terrible human suffering here. It needs to stop.
Yesterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “wont end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”This morning, he said:”We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Yaalons concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Yaalon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:”Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israels past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians 773 of whom were civilians and 9 Israelis 3 of whom were civilians.
“….Since I have arrived, countless civilian targets have been bombarded in broad daylight with clear sky and in free sight. Amongst them are a primary school for girls from the United Nations in Beit Hanoun where hundreds of refugees had taken shelter, in spite of the UN having sent the GPS coordinates of the school to the general commandment of the Israeli army. I cannot even recall the exact number of deaths and don’t have internet to look it up. Moreover, a park in the refugee camp Schatti has been attacked. The eight children that played in front of it are all dead now. And 17 people died during the late afternoon of the 30th of June, when a market in the North of the Gaza Strip was bombarded. A further 160 Palestinians injured, who were doing their groceries. The enumeration of the massacres on the civilian population could be continued endlessly, as since the 8th of July around 1000 civilians have been killed.I simply cannot understand the motivation of the Israeli armed forces. Why would they intentionally aim at civilian targets and bombard large gatherings of people? Precise knowledge of the targets in the cross thread should be available through the surveillance drones, which deliver high resolution imagery. Why are the pilots in their fighter jets deliberately killing women and children? Which ethical standards do these lords of the skies follow that decide over life and death?”
In a flagrant violation of international law, Israels assault on Gaza has killed hundreds of civilians and devastated civilian infrastructure.
On the 26th of July, WILPF’s section in the United States published a statement calling for,WILPF US demands that our US government immediately suspend military aid to Israel, and instead use our tax dollars for humanitarian aid to Gaza.WILPF US urges that all nations calling for a cease fire will also join the call to give assistance to the Palestinian refugees.WILPF US further demands that US military aid to Israel remain suspended pending investigation of violations of US and International Laws for crimes against Palestinian civilians with the weapons thus obtained.The world has stood by and allowed these atrocities to happen again and again. No more.Read the full statement.
There are calls for Canadians to go to Gaza.
Abu Hasna, the UN agency spokesman, said the international community must step in.”Its the responsibility of the world to tell us what we shall do with more than 200,000 people who are inside our schools, thinking that the UN flag will protect them,” he said. “This incident today proves that no place is safe in Gaza.”