In a remarkable demonstration of barbarism, Israel intensified its ground offensive against the people of Gaza in the most dramatic show of defiance yet during the 13 day operation.
Despite international calls for restraint and worldwide protests against Israel’s actions, the state has increased the number of tanks and troops, and continued to destroy civilian homes, resulting in the death of nearly 400 Palestinian civilians.
Ordinary citizens were forced to flee their homes as the tanks and troops bore down on them. Many ran from their houses barefoot leaving everything they owned behind them as they crowded onto trucks or rode on car bonnets in a desperate attempt to flee the carnage.
Late on Saturday evening, Israeli forces hit eastern areas of Gaza City with the heaviest bombardment yet. The assault was most intense in the direction of the Shujai’iya neighbourhood, and was described as a massacre by many of those fleeing the area.
Ambulances were unable to reach the area to attend to the injured because of the heavy shelling by Israel, and many died where they lay on the street.
More than 60,000 people have sought sanctuary in the 49 shelters it is providing in Gaza, and the numbers are expected to rise. A UN official said the shelters were running out of supplies because of the unexpected high number of people fleeing the bombardment.
Nassar Abu Jedian, in charge of one of the sites, in Beit Lahiya, said: “The capacity here is meant to be 600. We have 1,800 at the moment. What can we do? We must help these people.” Among them were 14 members of the Abu Jarad extended family. “We left a day ago because our home only had a tin roof; the others had a stone house,” explained Mohammed Abu jarad, 29. “But that did not save them from the tank.”
At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where little Noor was being treated for head, back and arm injuries, her 28-year-old mother, Hunood, said: “There has been firing going on all around us. We could easily have been hit trying to go on the road with children. Why did they order us to leave our homes? We are not terrorists; we don’t support Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Most of us aren’t interested in politics. We don’t even vote. All we want is to be left alone to live, work and bring up our children. Instead, we are burying our dead and sitting in hospitals with our children.”
The director of the Kamal Odwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya said on Saturday afternoon “We have had 40 injuries since eight o’clock this morning. That used to be the figure for 24 hours. Now we are getting this in half a day.
“The severity of injuries to those killed is also getting worse. I don’t know whether this is from tanks and other land weapons. We don’t know what else to expect. This is not a big hospital [with] a big staff. We are sending the most serious cases to Shifa, but more keep coming in.”
As Israel Inflicted more suffering on the people of Gaza demonstrations and marches around the world called for Israel to put an end to its genocidal offensive.
In London, tens of thousands of people marched from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington where police had formed a blockade to protect the embassy.
Speakers addressed the huge crowd, including Labour MP Diane Abbott who said “I am here to show solidarity with the people in Gaza: Today’s national demonstration will give people from across the country the chance to say enough is enough, Israel’s siege of Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian land has to end now. People want justice and freedom for the Palestinians, and they will be voicing this in their thousands.”
Baroness Jenny Tonge said: “What on earth is Israel doing? It has lost its legitimacy, it is no longer a democratic state. It breaks international law, Geneva conventions, it has no respect for human rights. Israel must leave the international family of nations.”
Andrew Murray from Britain’s largest union, Unite, told the protesters Israel’s barbaric attack will not break the spirit of the people of Gaza. And it will not break the spirit of demonstrations like this one in London, determined to show solidarity with Palestinians as they face Israeli war crimes and illegal occupation.
George Galloway MP highlighted the disparity in the coverage of a similar number killed when the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight was shot down in Ukraine, the day before the Gaza march.
“The 300 Palestinians are completely ignored by the same newspapers, by the same television stations and by the same political leaders who are threatening sanctions and war against Russia but who are supporting, with weapons and money and diplomatic political and media support, the Israeli killers.
“In fact, if whoever fired that missile in Ukraine had fired it instead at the beach in Gaza, the media could have knocked off for an early lunch and saved themselves all of this work.
“Why the double standard? Why is the blood in Ukraine so much more noteworthy than the blood in Gaza?”
Major demonstrations also too place across the USA, Berlin, Seoul, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Madrid, Zurich, Brussels and many other cities across the globe.
In Paris, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan protests turned violent as the authorities tried to suppress thousands of people speaking out against Israeli atrocities.
Commenting on the Paris demonstrations, President Francois Hollande, during a visit to Niger on Friday, said the march would have been a “risk to public order.” “We cannot allow the conflict to be imported into France. We cannot have demonstrators (from opposite sides) facing each other down, with a risk to public order,” he said.
Of course, the Zionist government of Israel has and always will ignore international opinion unless there are severe penalties for Israel.
The fact that millions of people across the world see the humanitarian cost of Israel’s offensives against the Palestinians as nothing more than genocidal fascism will be ignored – just as they are being ignored by many word leaders.
For too long the Zionist government in Israel has been allowed to do as it pleases with virtually no penalty – something they have become accustomed to.
That is also the fault of world leaders who have failed to take action for fear of losing an apparent ally in the Middle-East and upsetting financial institutions and other infrastructures with strong connections to Israel.
These kind of politics have no place when a regime such as that which dominates Israel is murdering thousands of ordinary people – full stop.
The Zionist government is no different to any other extremist organisation. Perhaps they are worse because they have manipulated themselves into a position where allies in the west fund their terror (more than any other terrorist organisation).
While the politicians remain weak and dither about what to do, the cost to real human lives is devastating.
One human life lost in this conflict is one too many.
The death toll at the time of writing:
Palestinian civilians in the region of 400 – Israelis 5 (including 3 soldiers)
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