Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Talking Points on the Gaza Drama

(Hijab tip: American Muslims for Palestine)

We call on the US government, as a contracting party to the 4th Geneva Convention, to take immediate steps to end the on-going War Crimes directed at Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip and the West bank.

We are distressed by the news of the continuing violence and killing directed at the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and the imposition of an illegal blockade on all border crossings. Since the beginning of the year, the [apartheid] Israeli actions included cutting off supplies for electricity and fuel, which renders the whole human services infrastructure in Gaza Strip in great impairment and itself constitute a crime against humanity. This action as well as the continued disproportionate use of violence is a major violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. [Apartheid] Israel is responsible for the well-being and safety of all occupied civilians, including the Gaza Strip.

In his most recent statement Professor John Dugard, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, called [apartheid] Israeli government's actions "serious war crimes" for which its political and military officials should be prosecuted and punished. The killing of civilians violates, he said, "the strict prohibition on collective punishment contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also violates one of the basic principles of international humanitarian law that military action must distinguish between military targets and civilian targets." Indeed, the very legal framework invoked by the Israeli government to carry out this illegal and immoral act - declaring Gaza a "hostile entity" within a "conflict short of war" – has no basis or standing in international law.

We call on the US government, as a signatory of the 4th Geneva Convention, to act immediately to put a stop to [apartheid] Israel's actions and, revive the diplomatic process, to end all attacks on civilians, including the continuing demolition of Palestinian homes at an alarming rate and building of settlements. As we mark the 60 anniversary of the Nikba (the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine) we are reminded of the continued dispossession and violence directed at Palestinian refugees and their families, a fact that must be addressed as we deal with the current unfolding war crimes.

  1. Under International law and standing UN conventions, destroying a people in part or in full is considered ethnic cleansing.
  2. The escalation in Gaza was forewarned by [apartheid] Israel's deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai of a "greater Shoah" the Hebrew work for the Nazi Holocaust.
  3. The full siege of Gaza is leading to deaths due to lack of access to medical essentials, sickness, lack of sanitation, lack of access to basic resources that are there and protected as basic human rights.
  4. [Apartheid] Israel is the occupying power and uses air, sea and land US made weapons to bomb civilians in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, a clear violations of rules of engagement in armed conflicts.
  5. Palestinians have the right to defend themselves. This right is protected by International Law.
  6. Palestinians dying in Gaza were forced out by [apartheid] Israel, forcefully and illegally in an effort to ethnically cleanse Palestine. Now [apartheid] Israel is killing them inside the refugee camps.
  7. Peace can only be achieved when Israeli apartheid is ended and Palestinians are granted their national, political and civil rights, as well as the right to return.
  8. As of March 4th, 2008, [apartheid] Israel killed 128 Palestinians, injured 350, and 28 of those killed are children, the youngest being a 20 day old infant.


cafeintifada said...

Great blog, Zahra! Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

I find a common thread in the Palestinian and Gaza struggles to be the inability for the people to get along with each other. The so called "leaders" of the people have proven time after time that they are too corrupt, self-centered, and stubborn to truly "lead" people. To no avail, we continue to look to place blame on other groups, other political parties, other countries, when it is "we" who can never seem to come together for our own common good. It's been the case for years in Palestine. Our Arab neighboring countries don't even know what to do with us and want no part of us. And our failures have transcended into our lives in America. Take a count of how many pro-Palestinian organizations are in the San Francisco Bay Area alone? Why do we need so many? How is that we live in a civilized country where we have the luxuries of choice and freedom and yet we can't get our own organizations to work together? There is no oppression here. Nobody is holding a gun to our heads, blockading us in, cutting us off from food and water. I'm afraid to admit that it is just more of the same corruption, self-interest, and self-legitimization. There are so many damn fundraisers going on at all times of the week and weekends, week in and week out. And nobody ever seems to know where the money goes. Except maybe to create jobs within the organizations so people get a paycheck. That's just plain though we are using our organization for personal gain. We need to hold our organizations' "leaders" financially accountable. The days of blind trust are over. I want answers. I want to know that are donations are getting to where they are supposed to go. Imagine how we look to the non-Muslim American population: disorganized, lack of unity, lack of one voice. I think it's time we all take an honest look in the mirror and take stock of who we really are. Are we "leaders", "pioneers of change", or are we just like our ancestors and brothers and sisters overseas? I'm afraid we may be more of the latter.