- Category: Campaigns
- Published on Sunday, 6 July 2014
- Written by Kat Burdon-Manley
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PCS) mobilised 1000 people outside the Israeli embassy in London yesterday (5th July 2014) to protest against continued Israeli air strikes on Gaza and military operations in the West Bank. One group of activists took direct action and blocked the road to stage a symbolic die-in where they were joined by other protestors.
The Israeli Occupying Force (IDF/IOF) has been conducting military operations in the West Bank and carrying out airstrikes on Gaza since 3 Israeli teenagers were abducted and killed on the 12th June in Al Khalil (Hebron) in the West Bank.
The IOF demolished the homes of ‘suspects’ the Israeli government claim were involved in the kidnapping of the 3 Israeli teenagers. Family members of the suspects were removed from their homes before they were destroyed by the military and made homeless. The suspects have not been charged or tried for the abduction and murder of the Israeli teens.Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank since the abduction, because of their supposed support for the democratically elected leaders in Gaza, Hamas. Hamas has denied responsibility for the abduction and murder of the 3 teens.
Israel is using collective punishment, including punitive home demolitions, which has been ruled as lawful deterrence by Israel’s Supreme Court. Collective punishment is prohibited by international law, but Israel runs roughshod over its international obligations. Israel are also conducting air-strikes on Gaza and have been since the 12th June.
The IOF have carried out raids throughout the West Bank, arresting over 700 Palestinians and detaining over 150 under administrative law, which means they can hold Palestinian people, including minors, for up to 6 months without charge or trial. The IOF is responsible for killing at least 5 Palestinians and injuring countless others, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Children are also being targeted by Israeli settlers, one Palestinian girl of 9 was hit by a car and injured in a reprisal attack by Israeli settlers in Bethlehem. Settlers also ran over a man of 28 close to Hebron in another reprisal attack.
Palestinians are dehumanised throughout Israeli society, so when leaders such as the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls the teens’ killers ‘human animals’ and demand ‘revenge’, or when lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari demands ‘to transfer the pain to the cruel enemy... make Ramadan into a month of darkness for them!’ or calls Palestinian children ‘little terrorists’, it is no wonder the IOF shoot unarmed Palestinians without a second thought and settlers run cars in to a child. The reprisal attack on the 17 year-old Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khudair, who was burnt alive, has been reported in western media, but only because the 3 Israeli teens were killed. It is unusual for western media to report on the killing of Palestinian children. Since 2000, 1,518 Palestinian children have been killed (according to figures from the Ministry of Information in Ramallah) compared to 132 Israeli children in the same period.
Netanyahu has said that he is against Israelis taking the law in to their own hands by committing revenge attacks on Palestinians, yet he has not issued an investigation into the murder of Khudair, even though his killers were captured by security cameras. It is rare that justice is served for the Palestinian people. A man of 21, called Mustafa Aslan, was killed by the IOF in Qalandia refugee camp when he went up on to the roof to check on his father’s car; he posed no lethal threat to the occupying forces. According to HRW, 3,000 Palestinians who were not involved in any conflict have been killed since September 2000, but only 6 Israeli soldiers have ever been convicted for these crimes and the longest sentence served by an Israeli soldier was 7½ months.
The Palestinians in the West Bank live under military occupation, their freedom of movement is restricted and the whole of the West Bank can be closed down in an instant by the IOF. The settlers enjoy freedom of movement in and out of the West Bank and are ruled by civilian law and not military law.