What should the solidarity movement be calling for?
This PNI call was put out on 24 January 2009, immediately after the ceasefire in Gaza. It remains an excellent summary of what the solidarity movement should be calling for.
Only a few days after both Israel and Hamas declared unilateral ceasefires, the people of Gaza have awoken to the level of destruction visited upon their homes and lives. 1335 Gazans were killed; most of them civilians including 400 innocent children, and a further 5000 have been seriously injured.
Today we call on our friends, colleagues, and all who appreciate the values of Freedom and respect for Human Rights to act with the utmost possible force to achieve the following goals:
1. The end of Israeli occupation both in Gaza and the West Bank.
The Israeli Government claims it has withdrawn its army from the Gaza Strip. This is a lie.
Israel still occupies Gaza. Its planes occupy the air space. Its ships control the sea of Gaza. Its troops still occupy a strip inside the perimeter of Gaza, and the Israeli army still blocks all the passages to Gaza – even those designated for Humanitarian Aid.
The Israeli army has already broken the cease fire several times. Yesterday its ships shot 5 Palestinian fishermen standing on the shore of Gaza, and a number of Gazans have been killed and injured since the ceasefire was declared.
2. Lift the Inhuman Siege on Gaza. Open all passages including Rafah.
Humanitarian Needs cannot be met, and reconstruction of the damaged 25000 homes and infrastructure cannot begin while borders are closed.
The Gates of the ‘Gaza Prison’, home to 1.5 million people have to be opened if there is to be a minimal respect and alleviation of the ongoing human suffering.
3. The establishment of an independent commission to investigate suspected Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity - including the use of forbidden and banned weapons.
4. Bring the Israeli Government and military generals in front of a war crime tribunal.
Though Israel has proven in the past to hold little respect or infinity for international law, other countries closely allied to Israel should not, and must not, forget their own responsibilities to the international criminal courts. This means prosecuting Israeli officials who try to go abroad, and building domestic cases against them for their actions in Gaza.
5. Immediate cessation of all forms of military cooperation with Israel, including immediate cancellation of military imports from, or exports to, Israel.
It should be made clear to the economic and political allies of the State of Israel that their assistance is being used in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people and in contravention to international and human rights laws. If the support continues in spite of this, it is our belief that Israel will see no reason to change its criminal behavior.
6. Immediate suspension of Israeli privileges, including further ascension in their relations with the EU.
Neither the Palestinians nor the Europeans can bring back to life of 1335 women, children and men who were murdered nor can we undo the brutal damage to the Gazan economy.
But together, we can prevent another war crime and stop the Israeli military madness.
More importantly we can restore a basic faith in humanity within the people of Palestine whom have grown so accustomed to abuse and tragedy while the world is observing.
On behalf of Palestinian National Initiative
And the Palestinian National Committee to Support Gaza
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi
For more information, please contact Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi Secretary General PNI
Fax: +972 22 96 9993