Contributed by Joe Montero
The first notes for this article were penned last week, when the bombardment of Gaza and other atrocities against the Palestinian population showed no sign of slowing down, and the Australian government remained silent. The ceasefire was then brokered. The Australian government remains silent.
Photo by Hatem Moussa/AP: Israeli missiles targeted homes
Then came the ceasefire. a few days down the track and the situation is a little clearer. Last week’s toll, which had taken 240 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives, destroyed homes, and created tens of thousands of refugees, has stopped. This is an important achievement.
No matter how much they suggest otherwise, it was not brought about by heads of state and meetings at high levels. The ceasefire was forced by the courage of the Palestinian population reusing to cower. The second factor that bought about the ceasefire, was the outpouring of support for the Palestinian people across the world.
Palestinians are fighting back
Supporters and apologists for the Israeli attack said or implied, this was a response to missiles fired into Israel by Hamas. They conveniently forgot to mention that these were launched after the attack on the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the raining of missiles and tank shells in Gaza.
They conveniently forget to mention that the situation was sparked by forceful and illegal removal of Palestinians from their homes by Israeli police. They also forget to mention that the attack by Israel was aided and abetted by certain governments, notably those of the United States and Great Britain. Both equip the Israeli army with weapons, bullets, and bombs, and provide political support, because they use the Israeli state to extend a foothold in the Middle east and the Persian Gulf.
Orthodox Jews join opposition in New York to Israel’s attack and for Palestinian rights
Without this support, the latest attack on the Palestinian people would not have taken place.
The silence of the Australian government, which amounts to condolence of Israeli crimes, comes from a subservient relationship with these powers.
Events have been presented as if it was a contest between two armies. Missiles fired by Hamas were not at the centre of it. This was a civilian population being targeted. Their defence was stones. Homes, hospitals, infrastructure, and even media outlets were targeted, not military installations. Virtually all the firepower was on one side. Such an attack on civilian population should be called genocide.
Supporters and apologists for Israel like to hold it up as a bastion of democracy in the region. But they cannot explain the contradiction between this claim and the reality of a state based on race and the practice of Apartheid, where some are denied basic rights on the basis of their ethnicity.
Israel’s goal is to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian population. The latest attack was meant to take this to a new level, and it served as a convenient distraction form Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempts to cling to office, when facing serious charges for corruption and political division.
The ceasefire was a significant defeat for Netanyahu and the Israeli state. In Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and even within Israel, Palestinians stood up. They were joined by a considerable number of Israeli Jews against the killing in their name.
Two hundred thousand supporters of the Palestinian people came out into the streets in London, and big crowds in new York and other American cities. This was replicated around the world, and it put pressure on the Boris Johnson government in London and the Joe Biden administration in Washington. They were forced to look like they were working for a ceasefire. This in turn, put pressure om Israel.
Tens of thousands have been coming out in Australia’s major cities, and more in other cities and regional centres.
Photo by Joe Montero: A view of the march in Melbourne on 22 May
Photo from AAP: A view of the march in Sydney
As the situation stands, it has become somewhat more difficult to be a supporter or apologist for Israel’s actions. This has helped to win the ceasefire.
Palestinians will rebuild from the ruins. They’ve had to do this more than once before. International aid is already coming in to provide food, medicine, water, and other needs.
The missiles, shells, and bullets might have stopped for now but the intention to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian population remains. This must be stopped.
Palestinian territories will still be surrounded by an army pointing its guns and threatening a new attack. The occupation will remain. Families will continue to be dispossessed by police and army backed settlers. Gaza will continue to be broken into separated enclaves, surrounded, and turned into virtual concentration camps. Palestinians will continue to be pushed out on East Jerusalem. There will still be no right of return for refugees.
Supporters of justice for the Palestinian people must take this on board, demand an end to all of it and back the right to a Palestinian homeland.
An opportunity for progress has opened. But it will only be realised if the world stands up compels Israel to honour the rights of Palestinians.
the goal of Australians who support justice, is to persuade our government respect this.
Ultimately, the solution lies in Israeli’s and Palestinians talking and agreeing to build the future together. The possibility of a so-called two state solution has dwindled with the annexation and separation of Palestinian territories, and the only realistic option is anew new state not based on religion or ethnicity.