Many of you will have heard the media slant that the rockets that have been fired and the bombs that have been dropped is a fight between two states. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is an asymmetric fight between the most powerful military force in the middle east and one of the weakest.
While we will all feel that any loss of life is awful we must also note that Israel is, under international law, the occupying power. It has a responsibility to look after all the citizens in the territory it is occupying: East Jersualem, the West Bank and the narrow Gaza Strip it has blockaded for 14 years. Peaceful demonstration against the occupation and siege has resulted in Israeli aggression – most recently the Great March of Return in 2018-19, where sniper fire from Israeli soldiers killed unarmed protestors. If addressed by the military it would result in ludicrous and insulting sentencing.
The most recent violence is as a direct consequence of action taken by Israel to evict Palestinians from homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlers. This is a forced transfer of the native population to make way for citizens of an occupying power. This is by no means an unusual and is against international law. This was followed by the storming of Al Aqsaa mosque by Israeli policeduring Ramadan. Many Palestinians were injured, some very seriously, when they were simply coming to worship in their holiest month.
This, and the many other ways the Israeli State treats Palestinians less favourably than Jewish Israeli citizens, are some of the many reasons Israel has been described by the largest Israeli Human Rights organisation, B’tselem and Human Rights Watch as an apartheid state and so the sectarian violence within Israel shouldn’t surprise us, however distressing it is to see.
So what can you do?
There are many things you can do, including writing to your MP (this link has a template email) or attending the regular vigils in Sheffield, organised by Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Please come to those if you can. You can find out about them on the Sheffield PSC Facebook page, twitter feed, or by signing up to the newsletter.
Please do your best to boycott Israeli goods, including (and most especially) those made in illegal settlements in the West Bank. Boycott of goods is a supremely powerful statement of collective action, causing real problems for Israel, so much so it has lobbied our government to make it illegal.
And most of all, please enter this year’s DIY run, show your solidarity for Palestine wherever you are – our solidarity with Palestinians is a great morale booster for them, even in quieter times, and now is needed more than ever.
Thank you for reading this.