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From Allen Keep

Tuesday, 23 January 2024

Almost exactly two months since last posting here I have decided to contribute again. 

I will not be arguing about the nature of Israel, it's ancient history, its modern history from the Nakba on of ethnic cleansing, colonialism, occupation and apartheid nor about the nature of Hamas and the actions they took, nor the "right" of Israel to self-defence in that who is to blame cul de sac. Those ships, for now, have sailed.

At the end of my last contribution I said this:

"In the meantime, please, whatever your understanding or views, engage with the catastrophe that is happening before our eyes and support the people of Gaza in whatever way you can".

I would like to re-iterate that claim but just change the word catastrophe for genocide. I held off using that word to avoid an unnecessary argument about legal definitions and so forth but mainly to avoid becoming embroiled in an adversarial argument about using that term in relation to Israel when millions of entirely innocent Jewish people, were victims of unimaginable and often denied genocide themselves.

No longer. As this "war" has unfolded I am in no doubt whatsoever that Israel is a genocidal state. Many people will have watched, as I did, the presentation of South Africa making the case for provisional measures to mitigate against a genocide occurring while the merits of the charge of genocide are disposed off by the ICJ - likely to take several years. You can watch South Africa's compelling presentation here.

I think by now most people are aware of the headline figures of the slaughter wreaked by Israel against civilians in Gaza. No doubt there are arguments about precise figures etc. but the sheer numbers make those arguments meaningless. 

At least, 27000 dead, over 1% of the entire population. Whole extended families annihilated on a regular basis. Over 70% of Gazan homes destroyed, over 85% of Palestinians displaced at least once. The almost complete collapse of medical infrastructure, the destruction of schools, hospitals, places of worship, and universities. Above all, the impact on women and children. 180 women a day trying to bring new life into the most unsafe, overcrowded and hungry place on the entire planet, by far. 100+ children a day throughout the occupation killed on average. 10 children a day losing at least one limb.

Nothing can justify this. No one with any humanity can think this is acceptable. And it will get worse. The silent bomb that kills more civilians in wartime than, for instance, unguided 2000lb bombs dropped on so called safe zones is already at work. Famine, malnutrition and disease are already with Gazans while the coffee shops and trendy cafes of Tel Aviv are coming back to life. While Israeli's begin to emerge from the trauma of 7/10 there is no escape for Gazan parents and children, the latter already the most traumatised in the world. 

Already, medical organisations and UN rapporteurs are predicting a far greater death toll from "non violent" causes than those murdered by bombs, missiles and bullets. One such rapporteur I was listening to this evening is an expert on water, the most essential factor in the perseverance of life. That would be the substance that our foreign secretary (who backs Israel to the hilt and argues Israel cannot be guilty of genocide because "it is a democracy") accidentally admitted Israel had turned off. So far Israel has not exercised it's power to turn it on again (as part of their right to self-defence of course). 

The expert said something simple but terrifying. 7000 children a day are thought to be falling victim to diarrhea. Please just think about that in the context of having little or no medical care, no treated water, the most unimaginable overcrowding and where, according to South Africa, those children are living in displaced communities amongst a population which contains four out of five of the most hungry people on the planet right now.

So I repeat my appeal. Our government is silent, we do not have to be. Our government is complicit in genocide as is the opposition, we do not have to be.

It really is time for anyone who hasn't spoken out or acted in some way to do so. Otherwise, quite simply, you are part of the problem. 

There are lots of things to do. Discussing the issue and being informed is action. You can boycott Israeli goods - the coop sells Israeli avocados. It doesn't have to be an act of heroism or self-sacrifice. You can write to MP's, sign petitions, join groups, give to any number of charities and humanitarian organisations trying to save innocent lives.

You can also demonstrate your opposition to this genocide by protesting as millions of people around the world have done. I have heard countless Palestinian voices saying this is invaluable. To know that they are heard, that Israel is seen and challenged and that they have the solidarity and support of people who simply care means a lot when they have so little hope.

I have proudly been attending a weekly demonstration outside Todmorden Town Hall since the  Israeli invasion began. The demonstration is lively, passionate, diverse and inclusive. Like Israel, we are not stopping.

Please join us. 3pm, every Sunday. Outside Todmorden Town Hall.


Israel and Gaza (Oct-Nov 2023)