IJAN condemns Israel’s siege on Gaza

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are threatened by a humanitariancrisis created by a two-year-old economic blockade that furtherexacerbates the effects of 60 years of ruthless colonial oppression. Inthe past two weeks, the blocking of all food and medical supplies toGaza raises this humanitarian crisis to a level that rings with thethreat of annihilation.

We are outraged but not surprised by this escalation.  As predicted bypolitical writers such as Ilan Pappe and Toufic Haddad, Israeli’sunilaterally designed and implemented disengagement from Gaza preparedthe terrain. With this withdrawal, Israel maintained control of theborders, air and water space, and completely isolated Gaza practicallyand politically. This has been accomplished with unconditional supportfrom the United States and its allies and the complicity of the broaderinternational community and Gaza’s neighbors.

The warnings about Gaza are similar to others throughout history.Mordekhai Gebirtig, the great Yiddish poet, wrote his famous song‘S’brent’ (It Is Burning) in 1938. He wrote the song in response to the1936 pogrom in the town of Przytyk, warning against the comingcatastrophe that would befall the Jews in Europe.

The end of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas – Israel’sjustification for belligerence – was in fact provoked by Israel duringthe United States presidential election. Israel is acting in bad faith,attacking Gaza’s civilians and using the Palestinian response tojustify ratcheting up the suffering. Israel’s actions in Gaza are anassault on life itself. They are an unconscionable crime againsthumanity and a form of collective punishment.

Israel has taken a lesson from the Nazi government in Warsaw andother oppressive regimes by kidnapping and holding hostage humanitarianaid workers and international human rights observers. Such a tacticprevents their witnessing of and communication about what is happeningin Gaza.

The latest naked display of violence by Israel and the arrogantcontempt of Israel’s leaders for the humanity of the people of Gaza andtherefore for the humanity of us all should move world bodies,non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, and all people ofconscience to take immediate action.

Those who have supported Israel’s refusal to deal with thedemocratically elected Hamas government should now understand that thestarving of Gaza is the inevitable outcome of that support.

Stop the assault on and blockade of Gaza now! Stop the holding of humanitarian aid workers and human rights observers hostage!

Only a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel has a chance of stopping Israel’s violence.

If Mordechai Gebirtig, the Jewish artist and revolutionary, were alive today, he would be writing ‘S’brent’ for Gaza.

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