Gaza is not a territory, but 1.4 million human beings, women, men and children. “Attacking Gaza” or “putting Gaza under siege” means targeting 1.4 million civilians. According to international law, this is a war crime; according to common sense, it is a crime against humanity. Such a crime cannot be justified by any excuse, and no reason whatsoever can allow a state, a government, or a person to commit it.
The martyrdom of Gaza is based on a lie and a stupid assumption. The lie is the Israeli argument that justifies the siege against Gaza in order to quell the daily firing of Qassam rockets onto the town of Sderot. Yet the Qassams are a reaction to forty years of Israeli occupation, colonization and bloody repression, an occupation rendered even more cruel after the “disengagement,” initiated two years ago by Ariel Sharon. The assumption that this siege will help end the Hamas government is as absurd as that used by Israel to justify Operation Defensive Shield in 2002: in both cases, these assumptions strengthened the radicals at the expense of the so-called moderates, and not the other way round.
The sole reason that 1.4 million human beings are under siege in the Gaza Strip is collective punishment for their refusal to surrender to the diktats of Washington and Tel Aviv. The women and men of Gaza are not only one of the proudest populations on earth, but also one that has known a unique combination of bloody repression and poverty. As painful as it may be, this combination is the secret of the Gazans’ stubbornness and steadfastness. Olmert and his advisers are gradually understanding that they will not provoke a capitulation from the Gaza population, and the only tool that remains is to punish the Palestinians for this.
The Gazans are providing a rare example of resistance and heroism, and no one has the right to expect them to do more. The additional efforts that could ultimately bring about the end of their martyrdom have to come from the solidarity movement all over the world, including Israel. The coalition of Israeli anti-occupation movements is organizing, next Saturday, a convoy of support and solidarity. We hope that several hundred cars will participate from all the parts of Israel. We know well that our modest convoy will not change the material conditions of the Gaza population. Our goal is to send a strong message to the Israeli public: the siege on Gaza in a war crime and whoever is not protesting as strongly as possible is guilty of non-assistance to a people in danger. It is also a call for international the public opinion: demand from your respective governments that they stop their collaboration with the Israeli war crimes and the boycott of Gaza.
Ehud Olmert and his ministers, General Gabi Ashkenazi and the members of the Israeli military High Command must all be charged by the International Court of Justice for their war crimes against the population of Gaza. The State of Israel must be sanctioned, not the victims of the Israeli colonial occupation!