Wednesday, June 02, 2010

It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness

If you care about the suffering of the ordinary people of Gaza, and the Palestinians in the occupied territories who are treated as second class human beings, here are some suggestions as to what you can do:

1/ Write to your elected representative and urge them to demand that Israel obey international law, stop building illegal settlements on Palestinian land,and lift the siege of Gaza.

2/ Tell other people the truth about the situation to counteract the lies from the Israeli government. Here are three truths to get you started:

(i) Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian territory.

(ii) Israel is breaking international law by collectively punishing the people of Gaza - by restricting their freedom of movement, and their access to humanitarian aid, power and medical supplies.

(iii) Hamas was democratically elected by the majority of the Palestinian people in an election judged fair and free by impartial international observers. And they have signalled a willingness to negotiate with israel on returning to the pre-1967 borders.

3/ Boycott Israeli goods. Fruit and vegetables from Israel often bear the name Carmel. Beware goods labelled from the West Bank as they are often from the Israeli West Bank.

4/ Give money to charities helping the people in Gaza. Medical Aid for Palestinians and Oxfam and Save the Children Fund are three charities which I know have an agenda of non-violence. There will be others.

5/ Demonstrate.

6/ Don't despair. The campaign to abolish slavery must have seemed like an impossible task when it first began, and so must the drive to abolish apartheid in South Africa.


diane said...

OK, here's my next question.(!)

Israel supporters (um, on Twitter) claim Israel can't let through blockades 'cos that provides a path for weapons to Hamas, who will use them against Israel.

Also, they reckon aid and food does get through, although John Kerry and Jimmy Carter, who've both been there, tell a different story... And I don't believe the flotilla would have tried to get through if that were the case.

Democratically elected or not, I can't support the violent tactics of Hamas - killing civilians etc, just as I can't support Israel killing Palestinians.

So then it starts to seem like Israel has a point. I don't believe their occupation of Gaza is lawful, but I don't know what to say when people retaliate with "They elected Hamas, they brought this on themselves."

I'm not pro-Israel in all of this, but aren't they right to decry Palestinian violence — and to be afraid of it erupting?

Really, it makes my head hurt. And it makes me see that Israel and its supporters have an answer for every argument. They're defiant. And I don't know how that can be counteracted.

Sue Hepworth said...

The United Nations as well as aid agencies all say that Israel only lets in a quarter of the aid needed by the people in Gaza. The civilians in Gaza have insufficent food and fuel, and many are homeless because of the Israeli bombing campaign last year. Vital medicines are often banned, and at least one occasion of special baby milk - are these useful for making weapons? (They also frequently will not allow sick Palestinians outside Gaza for treatment they need elsewhere.)
I deplore all violence, including that of Hamas. But Hamas is willing to negotiate. Israel will not negotiate with Hamas.
Israel should begin by stopping the illegal building of settlements on Palestinian land. Incidentally, this frequently involves not only stealing Palestinian land, but also the water supplies to their villages.
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