Calls to stop Israel airstrikes vs Gaza civilians mount

Nov. 21, 2012

With threats of ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces, Zarate said, “This will surely escalate the war and would only mean that more innocent Palestinian lives will be sacrificed.”

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Various local and international groups and individuals are calling for an end of Israel airstrikes against Gaza community where hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands more were wounded, mostly women and children.

“Peace loving peoples all over the world should and must condemn in the strongest terms the brutal airstrikes being undertaken by the militarist Metanyahu regime in Israel,” lawyer Carlos Zarate, secretary general of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao, told

The Israeli Occupation forces have been attacking civilian facilities like houses, mosques, churches and schools in the Gaza Strip since November 14, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

As of November 18, PCHR recorded that 27 civilians have been killed, including 10 children and five women, while 520 were wounded, including 140 children and 48 women.  The CNN quotes reports from the Gaza Ministry of Health which said that 137 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,100 injured since the airstrikes erupted a week ago.

With threats of ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces, Zarate said, “This will surely escalate the war and would only mean that more innocent Palestinian lives will be sacrificed.”

“These airstrikes are especially treacherous, coming at the heels of a ceasefire that Hamas and other Palestinian groups offered and adhered to,” Elmer Labog, chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, said in a statement.

US President Barack Obama, the Israeli government and the US media claimed that the Israeli military assault on Gaza was triggered by the rocket attacks coming from Gaza.

But Raji Sourani, PCHR director and award-winning human rights lawyer, denied this in a news report.

Sourani said that it was triggered by the assassination one of the Hamas leaders who was negotiating for the truce with the Egyptian and Israelis.  Sourani added, immediately after the assassination, there was bombing all over the Gaza Strip.

“U.S. and Mr. Obama try to provide Israel with full excuse, with full legal, political immunity to do whatever they want to do against Gazans.  This is unjust.  This is unfair.  This makes U.S. on the same foot, I mean, equal to Israel and real partner of what they are doing, of war crimes or crimes against humanity, against Gazan civilians,” Sourani said in the news report.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), an association of human rights lawyers in 90 countries with UN Ecosoc consultative status, had condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the “illegal Israeli aggression in Gaza.”

The IADL said that Israel has been violating its obligations as an occupying power under the Geneva Convention.  Israel, it said, should have facilitated the passage of medical and foods consignments to the civilian population in the occupied territory in all circumstances with respect to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

Since last week, Israel has carried out 1,350 attacks and reportedly deployed large numbers of its troops at the borders of Gaza Strip, as well as called up about 75,000 reservists.

About 1.7 million people have come under fire by Israeli forces.

Calling Israel a “long-running aggressor and occupier of Palestine,” Professor Jose Maria Sison of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) said in a statement that Israel is “completely hypocritical” to claim the right of self-defense.

The ILPS condemned the government of US President Barack Obama “for supporting and emboldening the aggressive actions of Israel.”

“Israel has long been able to inflict atrocities and humiliation on the Palestinian and Arab peoples and violate so many UN (United Nations) resolutions because of US military, economic and political support for Zionist Israel,” Sison said.

Meanwhile, KMU’s Labog said that the Palestinian people have suffered immensely “because of US imperialism’s alliance with the Israeli government against many countries in Middle East and North Africa and against movements for national liberation.”

“The Israeli government has become a military power and enjoys impunity for its crimes in the region because of the support of US imperialists,” Labog said.

End the aggression

Meanwhile, the IADL calls upon the International Community to take all steps to end the aggression against Gaza.

It urged the Security Council “to order an end the current aggression and demand that Israel respect the UN Charter and International Law.”  It also highlighted that a US veto against actions to prevent the Security Council to act to end the aggression would be an illegal use of the veto.  It also requested the international community “to make clear that it will hold Israel accountable for its crimes” and called on the international community “to help negotiate a cease fire and take steps to move toward peace.

“The right of Palestinian people to freely exist as a nation should be respected,” Zarate who’s also the second nominee of Bayan Muna Party said.

“This continued brutal assault on the Palestinians by the US-backed Israeli regime should end now.  The continued illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestine and the mass slaughter of Palestinians should end now,” he said.  (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/

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