“Palestine don’t you cry…

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We shall never let you die!” An echoing articulation of compassionate ambiance as thousands of British populace protested opposite Downing Street in London on Saturday 26th January, residence of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The demonstration prompted by the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip due to the 20-month-long siege illustrated a community upholding the inherent human dignity and decorum, calling for Israel’s brutal illegal siege of Gaza to be instantly lifted.

The struggle for liberty for such a long time by a people is both a poignant sight to the human spirit and fatal to the universal hope for freedom. Palestine: suppressed painstakingly and progressively ruined. The human catastrophe deliberately inflicted on Gaza by western policies over the past two years is one of the great crimes of the century so far. How long can this inhuman treatment continue unchallenged by international leaders?

How and why did we get here? Above all: how do we get out of here? In the wise words of Eli Wiesel: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Without a doubt, it takes more than just a protest to answer and make a difference, but protesting is the very least that we can do.

Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS) said: “The distressing urgency of the current crisis should not prevent us from seeing the bigger picture. The Gaza Strip has been under siege since January 2006. Israel’s policy of collective punishment is not new, but it has now reached such extreme levels of inhumanity that it has finally provoked a reaction from the world.”

26th January had been declared a day of international solidarity. Supported by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestinian Forum in Britain, British Muslim Initiative, 1990 Trust, Friends of Al Aqsa and Stop the War Coalition. It is hoped that other concerned organisations will be joining and/or supporting this campaign the sole aim of which is to prevent a total humanitarian disaster in the densely populated Gaza Strip. Somehow it is no surprise that the coverage of this protest, despite its newsworthiness, did not make it onto the BBC or Sky News. Amongst the protestors were British Muslims, non-Muslims, Arabs, non-Arabs, Christians, all faiths and no faiths.

The overall siege has destroyed the economy and has violated the basic human rights of the Palestinian civilian population, particularly the right to decent living conditions, health and education. This catastrophic cutting of fuel supplies is already gravely distressing hospitals, provisions of fresh water and sewage systems, has removed heating and lighting from 800,000 people, and making it impossible for those few factories which have managed to remain open despite the blockade. Even those who desperately need medical treatment are prevented from leaving.

Over 65 Palestinians have died as a direct result of Israel’s prevention of access to medical treatment. Miri Weingarten from the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said Israel intends and wishes to punish the general population in Gaza , and they’re not hiding it – in fact, they’ve stated it clearly. Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) said: “Gaza is in the midst of a terrible humanitarian disaster, this much is clear. Without food, medicines, electricity, fuel, clean drinking water, or heating, the Gazan population is the victim of Israeli collective punishment. The suffering, the assault on human dignity, the stress and fear of a defenceless civilian population are immeasurable.”

How can we even try to fathom the situation of our Palestinian fellow brothers and sisters? Can we ever really try to understand what they go through?. The factor of hope is finite because they have been enduring this terrible life years and years, without it ever relenting. Mohammed Mustafa described in his heart-rendering letter: “No electricity, people are going hungry, no bread, and no medicine and lots of things that are missing. people are out in the streets now calling for the world to end the starvation and siege. it might be that people’s only option is to break out the borderline and go to Egypt and get food. It’s scary here. no bread, no water at home where I am. I have some leftovers biscuits from two days ago. but my laptop batteries will be flat soon. I will find a new agency from those who have electricity generators to recharge my laptop and keep online, if you don’t hear from me this is why. Again, I fear Israeli warplanes will bomb the people in the streets. people are in lines trying to find bread. I never saw this in all my 23 years life. It is vile!”

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said that the siege has had “a devastating impact. “Depriving people of such basics as water is tantamount to depriving them of human dignity,” said UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness. “It is difficult to understand the logic of making hundreds of thousands of people suffer quite needlessly.” She added: “The Israeli treatment of Gaza’s palestinians has echoes of the treatment handed out to the Warsaw Ghetto under Nazi Rule.”

 UNICEF. Executive Director Anne Veneman said she was “very concerned” about the welfare of children in Gaza. “We are very concerned about the situation of children in Gaza … children are always the victims in times of conflict,” she told journalists at the launch of UNICEF’s annual report on the state of the world’s children.

UNICEF was particularly worried about hospitals’ ability to refrigerate vaccines, and the difficulty both patients and medical suppliers faced trying to pass through Israeli military checkpoints in the territory, she added. Amid the concern of the international bodies, leaders and citizens from across the Islamic world renewed their calls on Israel to lift the blockade.

Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS) concluded: “What is less clear is why this man-made, politically driven crisis has been allowed to happen. The catastrophe now unfolding was predictable and predicted. Israel’s sudden decision to intensify its policy of collective punishment is having disastrous consequences for the health sector in the Gaza Strip. Palestinians need the moral solidarity of the international community, but more importantly, they need action. The recent global mobilisation for Gaza is welcome, but regional organisations and individual states will fall short of enforcing a definitive solution without concerted public pressure. Concerned citizens must now capitalise on the momentum generated by the sheer horror of these last days to push for a complete end to the siege of Gaza.”

Undoubtedly, a situation as severe, unthinkable, and unfathomable for citizens in other parts of the world cannot be endured and accepted for the Palestinian people. The situation is out of control — the world must step in.

To prevent catastrophe and protect civilians on all sides, your voice is needed urgently: an emergency global campaign to international, European and Arab leaders, calling on them to stop the siege, oversee open borders and help broker a ceasefire is being run AND the petition will be delivered when there’s at least 150,000 signatures – please add your name below, and then spread the word:Support the emergency campaign:  


Written by Magda M Ali

January 30, 2008 at 1:11 am

3 Responses

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  1. it’s a sad sad situation!


    February 3, 2008 at 1:41 am

  2. wow didn’t know that JFJFP existed!


    February 3, 2008 at 2:32 am

  3. Hi all,

    mel: yes it’s really sad, so so very sad, but all the more it means that there’s more of a responsibility on us.

    jermera: i was astonished too!

    Peace and love



    February 6, 2008 at 9:12 pm

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