20 Aug 2014

Palestine in the World's Heart

This is the editorial from the latest issue of 'Lucha Indigena', a Peruvian based newspaper, published by my good friend Hugo Blanco.....solidarity with Gaza is strong in Latin America.

The Lucha Indigena 'Indigenous Struggle' website can be found here

                                     PALESTINE IN THE WORLD'S HEART


Given the ongoing nature of the murderous assault, the casualty figures cited here -- deaths, the wounded, physical destruction and people rendered homeless -- lag far behind the daily mounting reality.

          As the furious attack on Gaza began, pain and anger spread through the hearts of those people throughout the world who keep a sense of human solidarity against the neoliberal system's culture of selfishness.  The latest news can only add to our distress.  Already more than 1100 have died, and the wounded amount to more than 6500.  According to the United Nations (UN), more than 80% of the victims are civilians.  The Israeli armed forces are dropping leaflets, asking "tens of thousands of residents" to leave their homes.

          Gaza's sole electrical plant has had to suspend operation, while the systems for delivering water and collecting waste are not functioning.  Throughout all this, there are enthusiastic marches in Israel with chants of "No more children in Gaza, so no school tomorrow, yeah, yeah, yeah!", "Gaza is a graveyard" and "Death to the Arabs."

          Nonetheless, as pain and anger have risen, people of good will are moving into action.  Let us begin with Israel, where the "refuseniks" are Israeli conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the army.  Some of them make a point of saying that they will not serve in the occupied territories of Palestine.  The movement originated in 1979 when Gadi Algazi refused during his military service to serve in the occupied territories.  In Gaza, Israel has killed UN staffers, as well as foreign doctors and other medical personnel.

          Let us also consider Latin America.  In Lima there was a demonstration on 25 July outside Israel's embassy, demanding that Peru withdraw its own embassy from that country.  There was also a demonstration in Cusco.  In the face of these events, on 29 July the government of Peru called its ambassador home for consultations.

          Ecuador had taken that same action on 17 July.

          In Argentina, a demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy on 25 July demanded a break in diplomatic relations.

          On 1 July, 5000 Chileans marched to the Israeli embassy in Santiago, where they stuck photos of murdered children on the walls before marching to the embassy of the USA, a key enabler of the genocidal attack.  The previous day in Temuco there was a demonstrations by the Mapuche people in solidarity with Gaza.  The Bachelet government has suspended talks on a free-trade agreement with Israel, while the Foreign Ministry has announced plans to aid victims in Gaza.

          Uruguay has also condemned the attack.

          In Brazil the government called its ambassador to Israel home and voted for sending a commission of the UN Human Rights Council to investigate war crimes.

          Bolivia has asked the High Commission for Human Rights to open a case of "war crimes against humanity" before the International Court of Justice.  The president of Bolivia has characterized Israel as a "terrorist state".  Israeli citizens will henceforth require a visa to enter the country, in contrast to the previous policy.

          Venezuela had already broken relations with Israel in 2, due to a previous attack on Gaza.  In Caracas on 14 July there was a protest demonstration with parliamentarians in attendance.  The government denounced the hypocrisy of those who blame both sides for the genocide.

          In Mexico there were demonstrations in the capital and the native zone of Chiapas.

          Cuba, which has not had diplomatic relations with Israel for many years, also condemned the massacre.

          There were also protests in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

          The best news is that the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition -- with participation by citizens of Britain, France, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the USA, Canada and Australia -- is planning a new flotilla to break the blockade of Gaza in the near future, with participants from around the world.  It has announced the intention of returning from Gaza with Palestinian exports, a continuation of the Gaza's Arc project.

          The main vessel in the 2010 Freedom Flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, took the brunt of the armed Israeli assault, with nine Turkish citizens and one American murdered.  The Mavi Marmara will soon be ready to join the flotilla with hundreds of peace activists from around the world on board.

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