Principles abandoned; Israel plays with fire –

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Between August 5 to 7, Israel attacked residential areas in Palestine’s Gaza Strip. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, a wave of Israeli air raids on the coastal enclave, left civillians including children and a 23-year-old woman dead. A commander of a Palestinian armed group was also killed during the raids. 

The ‘Guardian’ reported that Palestinian retaliatory rocket strikes injured 60 people in Israel who suffered minor injuries. The toll in Gaza however, was much higher. According to the local authorities, 47 Palestinians, among them six children, were killed, 360 people were injured, and more than 650 housing units were damaged over the three-day strike.

The state of Israel was created by the United Nations (UN) by dividing Palestinian territory between the new state of Israel and the Palestinians. A day after the establishment of Israel, Israeli terrorist groups laid waste many Palestinian villages including the village of Deir Yasin, where the attackers massacred unarmed civillians. Many other Palestinians were driven out of their lands by the invading Israeli groups, while many Palestinians fled in fear. 

Their lands and many more civillians had been captured during constant conflicts in the following years continue to be occupied by the Israeli occupation forces and Israeli settlers. Today, Israel occupies almost two-thirds of Palestinian lands, which are commonly referred to as the ‘occupied territories’. 

The ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people has been played out before the world’s eyes since the creation of the state of Israel. In two major waves (1948 and 1967), the Palestinian people were driven out of their land, with large sections of the population becoming refugees in neighbouring countries throughout the region.Within a year of the setting up of the State of Israel, around 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and became refugees as a result of the fighting which followed Israel’s declaration of independence. 

UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) estimates nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 

The remaining two thirds of the registered Palestine refugees live in and around the cities and towns of the host countries, and in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, often in the environs of official camps. 
Today, there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees dispersed across the world. This reality of the Palestinians’ and their forced displacement constitutes the central pillar of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. In a damning investigation reported in February 2022, Amnesty International accused Israel of carrying out crimes of apartheid against Palestinians. 

The report revealed that the Israeli authorities enforced a system of oppression and domination against the Palestinians, which included extensive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfers, drastic movement restrictions, administrative detention and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians. Amnesty referred to Israeli practices against Palestinians as Crimes against Humanity. 

The recent Israeli attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza are, but a continuation of the same aggressive killing and dehumanization process carried out by the occupation forces. But, unlike when Russia invaded Ukraine, there has been no outright condemnation of Israel by the EU or the US for armed attacks or the apartheid practices it carried out in Palestine. 

In the immediate aftermath of the Israeli bombing, the European Union called on’ parties to exercise restraint and prevent further escalation that leads to more casualties…’ 

Is the EU in fact asking Palestinians to allow Israel to carry on bombing people in the Gaza Strip?
Why is the EU calling on Palestinians NOT to defend themselves? A reversal of their call to Ukrainians when Russia attacked that country. Why is the EU not condemning the continuing atrocities committed by Israel against Palestine? Why are member countries of the EU, not sending arms to the Palestinians to defend themselves? Why is the EU, and leaders in the US, who portray themselves as defenders of human rights, not imposing sanctions against Israel as they did against Russia?

Israel’s military aggression needs to be condemned. Like the apartheid regime in South Africa in an earlier era, Israel too needs to be censured for imposing apartheid on Palestinian and other Crimes against Humanity it continues committing on the helpless Palestinian people. In the end, it was the economic boycott of South African goods, which forced the regime to halt its apartheid policies. Perhaps, it’s time to impose similar punitive measures against Israel.

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Disclaimer: Principles abandoned; Israel plays with fire - - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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