Thursday, 25 December 2008

Sanctions Now – Upgrading, Hell No!

“Gaza is burning,” writes French activist Liliane Cordova Kaczerginski, using the very words of a famous song of a Jewish village destroyed by the Nazis. Like sixty years ago, Gaza is burning and the world is silent, waiting for the outcome of a non-existent peace process. “A hostile entity” —this was the way the Israeli leadership defined, a year ago, a territory in which one and a half million civilians, women, the elderly and children, are trying to survive. As such, the Israeli state has the right, in fact the duty, to launch a war of annihilation.

Several years ago, the late Tanya Reinhart used the word “genocide” to describe the harsh repression of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories by Israel; I was among those who criticized her for using too strong of a concept. From where you are now, forgive me Tanya, because you were right and saw the true nature of the Israeli plans, and I was dead wrong: the State of Israel is conducting a rampant genocide against the people of Gaza, using the weapon of near-starvation, electricity cuts and deprivation of drinking water, provoking epidemics and preventing basic health-care. Gaza is under siege, and the war criminal Ehud Barak has just ordered a halving of even the emergency humanitarian aid conveyed by the United Nations.

When Sarajevo was victim of the criminal siege initiated by the Serbian army and militias, the international community retaliated with severe sanctions, a boycott of the Yugoslav regime and the bombardment of Belgrade. When Iraq occupied Kuwait, the international community launched a military offensive against Iraq and a radical embargo that provoked the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent children. Today, that same international community is completely silent in the face of the martyrdom of Gaza. It is our duty, the duty of civil societies all over the world, to demand from international institutions and governments urgent and drastic actions against Israel, a state that is violating the basic rules of international law, hundreds of United Nations resolutions and each and every convention aimed at protecting human rights.

The war crimes committed by the Israeli state against the population of Gaza exclude it from the community of nations. Like apartheid South Africa, it should be sanctioned and boycotted, and not rewarded with an upgrading of the partnership agreement with the European Union.

As an Israeli citizen, I expect from the European Union to help us pressure our government to stop the crimes against the Palestinian population of Gaza. By rewarding Israel with an upgrading of its relations with the European community, the message of EU is a disgrace that should be condemned and fought by all Europeans who care for human dignity.

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