"Israel Has Declared War, Act Now"
Gaza activist: 'Israel has declared war, act now'
By Peter Boyle & Patrick Harrison; Thursday, November 15, 2012 - Green Left Weekly
Israel has launched a fresh full-scale war on the besieged people of Gaza. As well as assassinating a Hamas spokesperson (and publicly threatening all Hamas representatives), more than 10 people had been killed by November 15. The dead reportedly includes Omar, an 11-month-old baby whose father works for BBC Arabic.
Emergency protest has been called in Sydney and Melbourne. There will be a protest in Sydney at Parramatta Town Hall at 6pm on November 15, organized by the Palestine Action Group. A protest has been called in Melbourne for 12.30pm on November 17 in Bourke Street Mall.
Green Left Weekly's Patrick Harrison and Peter Boyle spoke to Shamikh Badra, a Gaza-based activist with the left-wing Palestine People's Party who recently toured Australia, about Israel's latest killing spree. The interview took place on the morning of November 15, Sydney time.
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What is the situation like in Gaza Strip? Are the attacks taking place across the whole area?
Over the past 48 hours, the Israeli army has escalated their aerial and ground attacks against the Gaza Strip. More than 10 people have been killed so far in the Israeli operation named “Pillar of Defence” within the last seven hours, including countless children such as seven-year-old child Ranan Arafat and an 11-month old baby. More than 50 others, including six women and 12 children, have been wounded.
Four of these deaths and 38 of the injuries, some of them serious, resulted from an Israeli attack in the al-Shoja’iya neighbourhood east of Gaza City which occurred on Sunday.
We’ve seen charred bodies of dead and injured children pouring in to Al Shifa hospital of Gaza City and the other depleted hospitals around the Gaza Strip. There have been at least 50 air strikes all over the Gaza Strip so far. Deafening explosions shook us all as bombs landed close to us in the streets near the Universities -- the windows of my house were broken as a result of Israeli bombing.
Huge explosions are landing all around us in Gaza City now as I write, some entire families have been injured. All the infrastructure of Gaza is coming under attack at this point -- power, water, roads, houses, farms and civilians. We can also hear the shelling of Israeli Gunships. There has been announcements of [a] possible Israeli land invasion very soon.
What is the mood like among the people of Gaza? Are they afraid this will be another full-scale assault like Israel's "Cast Lead" offensive in 2008-09?
The Palestinian people will never surrender to Israeli aggression, they will defend themselves. More than 330 children were killed in the last bloody operation like this in operation Cast Lead, killing over 1400 in total: the vast majority civilians.
It is clear Israeli occupation is preparing for another war against the civilians [of] Gaza. Israel has declared war on Gaza.
Israel says that it was a surgical attack aimed at a Hamas security chief who has "blood on his hands". What is your comment?
I think the occupation wants to justify the crimes against Palestinians [of] Gaza.
We ask, what more does the international community need to see to be convinced to act than the dozens of dead corpses of children in Gaza? It is left to civil society and people of conscience to stop the ongoing massacre in Gaza.
I think Netanyahu’s attempts to use the Palestinian people in the electoral campaign is a crime in itself. We reiterate our condemnation of the international conspiracy of silence and Arab impotence in the face of these continuous Israeli crimes.
Why do you think Israel has launched an attack now?
As I have said, I think Netanyahu attempts to use the blood of Palestinian people in the electoral campaign. Israeli occupation always wants [to] change the facts, they think that [they] are able to hide their crimes.
Do people in Gaza expect Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi to intervene?
People hope for a lot of things from Egypt to intervene to stop the aggression, especially after the revolution of January 25. Egypt should not stand idle before this aggression.
It is good that Egypt recalled its ambassador from Israel on November 14 after Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, but I think it is not enough.
What can we in the west do at this point to show our solidarity for Gaza and stop this Israeli aggression?
You can make a difference. We call on the free peoples to organize protests, marches, demonstrations to reveal the Israeli crimes against the...Palestinian [civilians and] people of Gaza, and to push their governments to stop this aggression against the innocent civilians -- children, women, people.
This heinous crime also comes one week after the re-election of Barak Obama for a second term. Tel Aviv claims to have been given the green light to annihilate as many Palestinians in Gaza as possible .
We call on the international community to stop the Israeli massacres against Palestinians, to stop another bloodbath in Gaza. Inaction around the world has lead us to this point -- please act now to support the besieged people of the Gaza Strip.
Dr Mofed Al Makhalalaty, Gaza's Minister of Health, speaks outside Shifa Hospital in the midst of Israel's assault.
Green Left TV interview with Shamikh Badra during his trip to Australia.