As Israel surrounds Gaza with troops, tanks lined up and helicopter gunships on standby, ready for an ‘extensive operation’, their supporters call for a massacre of the Palestinian people – “Knock them off one by one until they relent” as one puts it on the BBC News comments pages. The world can see how strong Israel is with their hardcore military weaponry gleaming in the heat waiting to be put into action. The catalogue of weapons at their disposal is impressive, and chilling: fighter aircraft, missiles: air-to-surface, surface-to-surface…, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, submarines and missile craft (we’ve already seen what they can do to a Palestinian family on a Gaza beach) – and we mustn’t forget the nuclear warheads, biological and chemical weapons & atom bombs.
While the media focus on Olmert’s words warning that “a large-scale military operation is approaching”, with no comment about what the consequences of such action will be for the Palestinian people, and as they relate the concern for the Israeli soldier being held prisoner by Palestinian fighters – the media expresses no concern about the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.
The actions of the racist Israeli state and that of their supporters, which includes the BBC, illustrate their total disregard and contempt for Palestinian lives. Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the worst kind of Zionist extremist, founder of the settlements in Hebron, could be the spokesperson for Olmert, Bush, the BBC and our very own government and great leader Tony Blair when, in response to a question about the massacre of Palestinians carried out by one of his followers in Hebron 1994, he says he is “sorry not only about dead Arabs but also about dead flies”. It is nothing new that Israel prefers the word ‘operation’ to massacre as a poll carried out by Israeli TV showed following the massacre of Palestinians in 1994. The poll “established that at least 50% of Israeli Jews would approve of the massacre, provided that it was not referred to as a massacre but rather a ‘Patriach’s Cave Operation'”. In Hebron today there is a monument to the mass murderer ‘Saint Baruch Goldstein’. Whether carried out by a far right extremist settler or by the Israeli government, massacre of Palestinians seems to be acceptable through the eyes of the media and by the ‘British values’ our government wishes us all to adopt.
Our media will not speak of Palestinians and certainly not about the men, women and children being held as political prisoners by Israel, they will not speak about the humiliation, continued dispossession and ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel on a daily basis against Palestinians, never mind the torture of Palestinian prisoners – no matter that they include women and children.
Contact the Bureau Chief’s of BBC and CNN in Palestine to tell them to cover what is going on right now in Gaza as fully as possible, so that the millions of people they reach see the ongoing violence of Israeli missile strikes. Demand also that they break their silence on the story of thousands of Palestinians detained and tortured by Israel.
CNN Bureau Chief Thomas Fenton
+972 (0)2 500 9500
BBC Bureau Chief Simon Wilson
+972 (0)2 537 4199
What can we do?
1. Boycott Israel – support the call from Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel.
2. Join the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. There are many people in Scotland, the UK and beyond who are sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle, many people already do what they can to support the Palestinians. We must all continue to do this but at the same time we will only make our solidarity effective when we join together, co-ordinate our activities and carry out some actions collectively. As long as individual support for the Palestinians remain isolated the crimes against the Palestinians will continue.
3. Support Palestinian cultural resistance – The Freedom Theatre Palestinians resist the illegal military occupation and ethnic cleansing every day. The children face the harsh reality of Israeli occupation – their fathers, brothers, mothers and sisters face daily humiliation, their homes are demolished, and their days are spent in fear of Israeli military invasion and attack. Many also face detention and torture in an Israeli prison.
In Jenin refugee camp The Freedom Theatre works to empower the children through cultural activities. The Theatre provides space for dance therapy, music and psychodrama to strengthen the children through their struggle. The Theatre was destroyed by the Israelis in 2002 during an invasion of the camp when the Israeli Occupation Forces carried out war crimes, once again, against the people of the camp. The Theatre has been rebuilt and is led by, amongst others, Juliano Mer Khamis. Juliano is an actor and the director of Arna’s Children. Juliano was involved in his mother Arna’s theatre project in Jenin. He is a Palestinian Arab from 1948, whose father, the late Saliba Khamis, was a great writer and political leader who spent his life struggling against Israeli hegemony and discrimination against Palestinians in 1948 lands.
Juliano will be in Scotland to raise support and much needed funds for The Freedom Theatre. You can provide some practical help and support to this project. Please attend the events detailed below and bring your neighbours and friends so they can learn more about the lives of a people under occupation. Despite the military might of the Israeli state, and continued silence of the ‘international community’, the Palestinians endure with strength and courage as they have done for decades – we must do all we can to come together, join their struggle and take on our government and the institutions in this country who give political, diplomatic and financial support and cover to the terrorist state of Israel.
Saturday 1 July, EDINBURGH, 2-8pm
St Georges West Church, Shandwick Place
2.00pm – Introduction
2.30pm – film showing of ‘Arna’s Children’ followed by discussion with Juliano Mer Khamis
4.30pm – break – food available
5.00pm – rehearsed reading of ‘Perdition’ with Scottish actors including Andrew Dalmeyer & Tam Dean Burn, followed by discussion.
The CCA in Glasgow (microsoft-com:office:smarttags” /> 350 Sauchiehall Street) is showing Arna’s Children on Saturday 1 July, 7.30pm, followed by discussion with Juliano Mer Khamis.
Sunday 2 July, GLASGOW, 2pm-1am
Carnival Arts Centre, 34 Albion Street
Writers Tom Leonard, Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochead, Music till late (Glasgow) with Punk Floyd, Zak Ware of the Proclaimers, Paul Napier Food & Bar ; ‘Perdition’
The Freedom Theatre needs all the support you can give – come along to the Edinburgh or Glasgow event this weekend and bring your friends, family, neighbours and workmates!! Ask them for a donation to the Freedom Theatre and you can deliver it to Juliano on Saturday in
Edinburgh and in Glasgow on Sunday.
4. Keep informed about the situation in Israel/Palestine Don’t rely on the BBC – here are some excellent articles & news sources on the current situation:
June 26, 2006, Another Escalation from the Palestinians – Israeli “Retaliation” and Double Standards By JONATHAN COOK
Palestine: A War on Children, John Pilger, 15 June 2006
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign