Mon July 21, 2014

NEW DELHI: Israel’s massacres in Gaza, with the latest in Shejaiya leading to the murder of at least 40 Palestinians with 400 critically wounded, has led sections of the world to compare the military operations to the tortures associated with Nazi Germany. The first to do so was South African hero Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress that issued a statement asking “as we move towards the month of August and are reminded of the atrocities of Nazi Germany, surely we must ask the people of Israel has the term “lest we forget” lost its meaning.”

The Israeli army has openly adopted the Dahiya Doctrine which explicitly calls for harming civilians and civilian infrastructure so severely that these would stop the resistance. The massacre in the Shejaiya neighbourhood, just the latest in a series, is part of the doctrine to end the resistance once and for all. This doctrine was put together by General gadi Eizenkot in October 2008 who openly said that the complete annihilation of the Dahiya quarter of Beirut by the Israeli forces in 2006 would “happen in every village from which shots were fired in the direction of Israel. We will wield disproportionate power against them and cause immense damage and destruction.” The general was clear that this was not a suggestion but a “plan that has been authorised.”

In a major departure from earlier writings New Yorker columnist Lawrence Weschler has now written in what reflects a slow but changing mood about Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, “…. a wonderfully convenient formula, since it allows the Israelis to go blithely on, systematically stealing Palestinian land in the West Bank, and continuing to confine 1.8 million Gazans within what might well be described as a concentration camp.

Note, incidentally, I say “concentration camp” and not “death camp”. I am not comparing Gaza to Auschwitz-Birkenau, but one cannot help but liken the conditions in Gaza today to the sorts of conditions once faced by Japanese-Americans during World War II, or the Boers in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War, or the black South Africans years later in such besieged townships as Soweto, or for that matter Jews and gays and gypsies at Dachau and Theresienstadt in the years before the Nazis themselves settled on their Final Solution.”

Israel shows no signs of leaving, or bowing to the little world pressure that is making itself felt through articles, demonstrations, statements and the media. World governments continue to be silent, including India that has not uttered a word of condemnation against the genocide of helpless Palestinians, being intensified every day from air strikes to the ground invasion to daily massacres of entire neighbourhoods.

Stories and pictures are pouring out despite the invasion with a paramedic informing the Electronic Intifada how four siblings, two of them little children, came into the hospital in Gaza City. The elder was a teenager whose head and face was covered in blood but his focus was on his younger sibling and he kept screaming, “save my little brother.” The last to arrive was the little boy (see Picture) who clung to the paramedic lifting him shouting, “I want my father, bring me my father.” His injuries were serious, with shrapnels in his neck, chest and abdomen.

Gaza is without electricity most of the time, and drinking water. The hospitals are without medical supplies with the doctors working around the clock and in dire need of help. Except for the five hour relaxation that was followed by the ground invasion, there has been no opportunity for humanitarian supplies, medical equipment, personnel and even food to come into the tract that is now being likened to a Nazi “concentration camp” across the world.

The family of one of the little boys blown up by an Israeli missile while playing on the beach is inconsolable (see PIx). According to a report in the Electronic Intifada, nine year old Ismail Muhammad Baker was killed with his three cousins in a strike witnessed by international journalists. Ismael had recently started selling tea at the seaport to help his family and they recalled how they had made him some food just before they heard the loud explosions, and then saw his dead body.

Over 70 children have been killed and many more wounded in this war by Israel that has entered its twelfth date with no signs of abating. Gazans are confined in their homes during the month of Ramzan with nothing to eat, as bombs reign around them and they wait for the soldiers to enter their homes. This time Israel has made it clear that the invasion will not stop at the borders, but that the Army with 18000 reserves waiting back in Tel Aviv, would continue to move into the tract of land.

Gaza has no way out with the one side being controlled by the Israelis, and the border with Egypt sealed by the Egyptian military. The large ‘concentration camp’ as even western writers have started describing it allows the Israeli military to enter at will, and use the worst kind of atrocities news of which does not escape the high diplomatic walls, to cleanse the border areas of the Palestinians and claim the territory by bringing in settlers. Mass arrests are commonplace with Israeli jails overflowing with Palestinian prisoners, many of them children.

Over 300 Palestinians have been killed, thousands injured, and large sections of the population displaced with entire neighbourhoods being wiped out.

Meanwhile  Condemning Israel’s recent invasion of Gaza, nobel laureates, artists and public intellectuals from across the world have called for an immediate military embargo on Israel. The statement refers to the billions of dollars worth of military equipment that is supplied to Israel by the United States and the European Union, and the increasing military cooperation between Israel and emerging economies including India, Brazil and Chile. The statement has been signed by Nobel laureates including Rigoberta Menchu, Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Betty Williams, Desmond Tutu, and Adolgo Peres Esquivel.

The full statement is as follows:

“With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. …There would be no oppressed had there been no prior of violence to establish their subjugation.” –Paulo Freire

Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has so far killed scores of Palestinian civilians, injured hundreds and devastated the civilian infrastructure, including the health sector, which is facing severe shortages.

Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.

Over the period 2009-2018, the US is set to provide military aid to Israel worth $30bn, while Israeli annual military exports to the world have reached billions of dollars. In recent years, European countries have exported billions of Euros worth of weapons to Israel, and the European Union has furnished Israeli military companies and universities with military-related research grants worth hundreds of millions.

Emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Chile, are rapidly increasing their military trade and cooperation with Israel, despite their stated support for Palestinian rights.

By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Israel is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of militarized drones. Israel’s military technology, developed to maintain decades of oppression, is marketed as “field tested” and exported across the world.

Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and leg.


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