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Open letter: Dear President Biden, why do you support genocide in Gaza?

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The Palestinians are . . . a very curious people.
The Palestinians are . . . a very curious people. Their most burning question they all have today is, “why”? Why do the Palestinian people have to endure genocide at the hands of your ally, carried out with your weapons and money, while you refuse to call for a ceasefire? Image: David Robie/Café Pacific

OPEN LETTER: By Ghada Ageel

Dear President Biden,

I am writing to you for the second time. I first wrote to you on November 4 after 47 members of my community, including 36 from my own family, were murdered in a single attack by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). The massacre occurred in Khan Younis refugee camp, located in the southern region of the Gaza Strip, where people were supposed to be safe, as claimed by your ally, Israel.

I am uncertain if my first letter reached you or if your media team made you aware of its contents. Either way, you have not changed your position. Your unequivocal support for Israel, including through large weapons transfers, means that many more such massacres have been committed with your help since then.

Since writing that letter, I have lost another 220 members of my own family.

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Just a month ago, on January 31, my father’s cousin, Khaled Ammar, 40, who was displaced in Khan Younis, was killed alongside his entire family when the place they were staying in was shelled by an Israeli tank. Khaled’s wife, Majdoleen, 38, their four daughters, Malak, 17, Sarah, 16, Aya, 9, and Rafeef, 7, and their two sons, Osama, 14, and Anas, 2, all perished in the attack.

Among the victims were also Khaled’s disabled brother Mohammed, 42, and their mother Fathiya, 60. Their bodies remained unburied for over a week. Khaled’s surviving brother, Bilal, 35, made repeated calls for assistance to the Palestinian Red Cross Society, but they could not dispatch a rescue team to look for survivors because the IOF did not grant them permission.

Majdoleen and her two young daughters, Rafeef and Aya, came to see me last summer when I visited Gaza. I still remember Rafeef trying to ride the bike of my youngest niece, Rasha. I still remember them racing down the street, eating the candy they had bought from the shop of my cousin, Asaad. Their laughter still echoes in my ears.

But today, Mr President, there is no Aya, no Rafeef, no Asaad, who was also killed by the IOF along with his wife, children, mom, two sisters, sister-in-law and their children. There are no roads, no homes, no shops, no laughter. Only echoes of devastation and the deafening silence of loss.

A collage of Palestinian family photos
A collage of photos of Khaled, his wife Majdoleen, his brother, Mohammed, daughter Sarah, son Anas, mother Fathiya, daughters Aya, Rafeef and Malak, and son Osama . . . all killed by an Israeli attack in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on 3 January 2024. Image: Ghada Ageel/AJ

Reduced to rubble
Today, the residential area of Khan Younis refugee camp I grew up in is reduced to rubble. Tens of thousands of refugees, including all surviving members of my extended family, are now displaced to al Mawasi and Rafah. They are living in tents. They are not faring well, Mr President.

I have not heard from them in a while, as Israel has cut off communication. On February 10, my nephew, Aziz, 23, walked three kilometres despite the danger to reach the edge of Rafah to use the internet. He told me that death has passed by them many times but spared them for now. They are hungry, thirsty, and cold.

There is no power, no sanitation, no medication, no communications, or any services available to them, despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Israel has to ensure the delivery of aid to Gaza.

If people do survive the Israeli bombs, they may not survive wounds sustained in the Israeli bombardment and the explosion of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The health care system has collapsed under the Israeli onslaught.

In February, the IOF laid a siege on Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, the second-largest in the Gaza Strip. There were 300 medical staff trapped in the hospital alongside 450 patients and about 10,000 internally displaced persons seeking refuge within or in the hospital’s vicinity.

For days, the IOF would not let a rescue team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) evacuate patients and staff or deliver much-needed food, medical supplies and fuel. Throughout this time, the medical staff demonstrated remarkable courage and dedication to their patients, trying to keep them alive in the face of the Israeli attacks. Dr Amira Al Assouli, who rushed under Israeli fire to aid one of the wounded in the hospital courtyard is one bright example.

Countless people who sought shelter in the hospital premises were killed or wounded; some of these murders were recorded on camera.

"Veto the veto"
“Veto the veto” . . . a placard condemning the US for blocking three UN Security Council Gaza ceasefire resolutions at a Palestinian solidarity rally in Auckland on 2 March 2024. Image: David Robie/Café Pacific

Messenger shot dead
On February 13, the IOF sent a young man named Jamal Abu Al Ola, whom Israeli soldiers had detained and tortured, to the hospital to tell the Palestinians sheltering there to leave. Wearing a white PPE garment and with his hands bound, he delivered the message and then — as instructed — headed towards the gate of the hospital, but was shot dead. His execution was documented by a journalist at the hospital and released to the public.

Will you order an investigation, Mr President? Will you demand that those responsible for the killing of Jamal and the many others at Nasser Hospital be punished or will you accept the IOF’s version of events again?

On February 15, the IOF raided the hospital, expelling thousands of people amid heavy bombardment and forcibly disappearing hundreds — at least 70 of them medical workers. This continues a pattern started in Gaza City. When the IOF raided Al Shifa Hospital, it detained some of its staff, among them, Dr Mohammed Abu Salmiya, the hospital director, who remains in Israeli jail. The excuse then, as now, is that they were hunting for a Hamas command centre — a false narrative, you, Mr President, readily embraced.

During the raid of Nasser Hospital, the cutting off of electricity and oxygen resulted in the deaths of at least eight patients. When a WHO team was finally allowed to enter the hospital, its staffers described it as “a place of death”. After the evacuation of hundreds of patients, some 25 medical staffers stayed behind to care for the remaining 120 patients in the hospital without a secured supply of food, water or medications.

Among the regular patients of Nasser Hospital was my relative, Inshirah, who suffered from kidney failure and required dialysis every week. She lived in the Al Qararah area, east of Khan Younis.

When the IOF bombed her area, she moved to a camp for displaced people. When the IOF attacked the camp, she moved to Hay al Amal. When the latter was bombed, her children decided to move her to the vicinity of Nasser Hospital.

As the conditions at the hospital deteriorated, the frequency of her dialysis sessions was reduced to once every 2 weeks and then to once every 3 weeks, causing her significant suffering. When the IOF besieged the hospital, Inshirah was forced to leave. Then we lost contact with her and her children. We do not know if she has survived.

Health death sentence
The vast majority of chronically ill people like Inshirah cannot access proper health care after Israel’s systematic destruction of Gaza’s health care system. This is a death sentence for them. Destroying a health care system is a war crime, did you know that, Mr President?

Mr President, 2.3 million people in Gaza are living in a concentration camp. They are starved and killed relentlessly. They are bombed in their homes, on the streets, while collecting water, while sleeping in their tents, while receiving aid, and even while cooking. In Gaza, people tell me that drinking water costs blood, a loaf of bread is dipped in blood, and moving from place to place means bleeding.

Even the act of seeking food to feed your children can kill you — as happened to many parents on February 28. Some 112 Palestinians were murdered by the IOF as they tried to get flour to feed themselves and their families.

Their deaths are painfully real. As were the deaths of small babies like Anas, children like Aya, mothers like Majdoleen, and the elderly like Fathiya. There are among the more than 30,000 that have been recorded in the official death toll; many more thousands have perished but are recorded as “missing”.

Some 13,000 of the murdered are children. Many are now dying of starvation. Israel is killing 6 children an hour. Each of these children had a name, a story, and a dream that is never to be fulfilled. Do the children of Gaza not deserve life, Mr President?

The Palestinians are among the most educated nations in the entire Middle East. They are a very curious people. Their most burning question they all have today is, “why”? Why do the Palestinian people have to endure genocide at the hands of your ally, carried out with your weapons and money, while you refuse to call for a ceasefire?

Can you tell us why, Mr President?

Dr Ghada Ageel is a third-generation Palestinian refugee and is currently a visiting professor at the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta situated at amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Treaty 6 territory in Canada. The article was first published by Al Jazeera.

NZ’s shameful act over Hamas in defiance of Gaza atrocities reality

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"Luxon fails on Palestine . . . " placard at Saturday's Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland. Image: David Robie/APR

COMMENTARY: By David Robie

New Zealand has taken another shameful act in its tone deaf approach to Israel’s War on Gaza this week by declaring Hamas a “terrorist entity” at a time when millions are marching worldwide for an immediate ceasefire and a lasting peace founded on an independent state of Palestine.

It would have been more realistic and just to condemn Israel for its genocidal war and five months of atrocities.

Instead, it has been corralled into the Five Eyes clique with an increasingly isolated United States as it continues to support the war with taxpayer funded armaments and providing the cloak of diplomacy.

It was really unwise of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s coalition government to declare the Hamas political wing as terrorist, after already having declared the military wing terrorist in 2010.

Many argue around the world with increasing insistence that actually Israel is a rogue terrorist state.

Also, it is very unlikely that Benjamin Netanyahu will succeed in his aims of “destroying” the Hamas movement, whatever the final outcome of the war.

As John Minto points out, Palestinian resistance movements have the right under international law to take up arms to fight against their colonial occupiers just as the African National Congress (ANC) had the right to take up arms to fight for freedom in apartheid South Africa.

Hamas represents an ideal, an independent Palestinian state and that can never be defeated.

Factions meet for unity
The various factions of the Palestinian resistance and political movements, including Fatah and Hamas, have been meeting in Moscow this week to settle their differences and stitch together a framework for a “Palestinian government of unity” as a basis for the future political architecture of independence.

The United Nations General Assembly in 1969 — two years after the 1967 Six Day War when Israel seized Gaza from Egypt and Occupied West Bank from Jordan — recognised and reaffirmed “the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination”.

This includes the right to choose their own representatives, including Hamas, an Islamist nationalist independence and resistance movement defending their illegally occupied territory, not a “terrorist” movement that the US and Israel try to have the world believe.

They are still very likely to be in the post-war line-up ending the status quo after five decades of illegal military occupation of Palestinian lands and the rash of illegal Israeli settlements.

American economist and public policy analyst Professor Jeffrey Sachs
American economist and public policy analyst Professor Jeffrey Sachs . . . “Israel is a criminal. Israel is in non-stop war crime status. Image: Judging Freedom

American economist and public policy analyst Professor Jeffrey Sachs summed up the reality over Israel’s colonial settler project in an interview this week by describing the Netanyahu government as a “murderous gang” and “zealots”, warning that “they are not going to stop”.

“Israel has deliberately starved the people of Gaza. Starved. I am not using an exaggeration.

“I’m talking literally starving a population,” said the director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at New York’s Columbia University.

‘Israel is criminal’
“Israel is a criminal. Israel is in non-stop war crime status. Now, I believe, it is in genocidal status, and it is without shame, without remorse, without truth, without insight into what it is doing.

“But what it is doing is endangering Israel’s fundamental security because it is driving the world to believe that the Israeli state is not legitimate.

“This will stop when the United States stops providing the munitions to Israel. It will not be by any self-control in Israel. There is none in this government.

“This is a murderous gang in government right now. These are zealots. They have some messianic vision of controlling all of today’s Palestinian lands. They are not going to stop.

“They believe in ethnic cleansing, or worse, depending on whatever is needed. And it is, again, the United States, which is the sole support. And it our mumbling, bumbling president and the others that are not stopping this slaughter.”

In addition, to the growing massive protests around the world against the Israeli extremism, a growing number of countries and organisations, inspired by two International Court of Justice cases against Israel — one by South Africa alleging genocide by Israel and the other by the UNGA seeking a ruling on the legality of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine — have introduced lawsuits.

A Dutch court last month ordered the government to block all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel following concern that the country may be violating international laws such as the Genocide Convention.

Follow-up lawsuit
South Africa is preparing a follow-up lawsuit against the US and the UK for “complicity” in Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. South African lawyer lawyer Wikus Van Rensburg said: “The United States must now be held accountable for the crimes it committed.”

Nicaragua is suing Germany at the ICJ for funding Israel – its export of weapons and munitions to the country has risen ten-fold since the Hamas deadly attack on Israel last October 7 — and cutting aid to the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), the major humanitarian agency in Gaza.

It has called for emergency measures that would force Germany to cease military aid to Israel, and restart funding to the UNRWA.

Nicaragua lawyers said in their lawsuit that the action was necessary because of Germany’s “participation in the ongoing plausible genocide and serious breaches of international humanitarian law” in Gaza.

"Would it be OK for you if they killed me?"
“Would it be OK for you if they killed me?” . . . placard with child in pram at the Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland on Saturday. Image: David Robie/APR

Instead of joining the US-led coalition in the Red Sea operation against the Houthis, who are targeting US, UK and Israeli-linked ships to disrupt maritime trade in support of the Palestinians, New Zealand would have been more constructive by joining the South African case against Israel in The Hague.

Principle before profit if New Zealand is really committed to international rules based diplomacy.

Nicaragua lawyers said in their lawsuit that the action was necessary because of Germany’s “participation in the ongoing plausible genocide and serious breaches of international humanitarian law” in Gaza.

A record of US, UK isolation and cynicism
A record of US, UK isolation and cynicism . . . how the UN Security Council members have voted in three Gaza ceasefire resolutions. Image: Al Jazeera/Creative Commons

No time to be ‘neutral’
This is no time to be “neutral” over the War on Gaza, there are fundamental issues of global justice and human rights at stake. As various global aid officials have been saying, every day that passes without a ceasefire and a step towards an independent Palestine as a long-term solution means more children dying of starvation or from the bombing.

The death toll is already a staggering more than 30,000 — mostly women and children. The war is clearly directed at the people of Gaza, collective punishment. At least, 117 Gazans were killed while seeking food aid in Gaza City when Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) troops opened fire in what has been described as the “flour massacre”.

At least, 15 children have died from malnutrition so far.

Caretaker Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila told Al Jazeera that “the ceasefire is much more important than having food under fire . . . People are running from one place to another just to save their lives.”

Australian columnist Caitlin Johnstone warns against neutrality, advice that might have been heeded by New Zealand’s foreign affairs advisers.

“At least be real with yourself that by refusing to pick a position you are licking the boot of a nuclear-armed ethnostate that is backed by the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.”

And that impunity needs to end.

Caitlin Johnstone: You have already taken a side on Israel-Palestine (whether you admit it or not)

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At least be real with yourself
At least be real with yourself that by refusing to pick a position you are licking the boot of a nuclear-armed ethnostate that is backed by the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. Image: Caitlin Johnstone

COMMENTARY: By Caitlin Johnstone

You have already taken a side on Israel-Palestine. Whether you know it or not. Whether you admit it or not.

You have either consciously chosen to side with the people who are being continually massacred by Israel, or you have consciously chosen to side with Israel, or you have sided with Israel by being “neutral”, or you have sided with Israel by being indifferent.

As Desmond Tutu said:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

The powerful oppressors are more than happy for you to be “neutral”. The ones who are already in control want as little scrutiny as possible. From their position the fewer people who are looking them and evaluating whether their actions are right or wrong, the better.

Your neutrality just means they get to keep doing what they want to do.

It’s perfectly okay not to have an opinion about everything. It’s fine not to take a position on every political issue that comes across your screen. Most people have way too many opinions, and most of them are about silly and unworthy things.

The onslaught that is happening in Gaza is not one such instance, though. Taking a stand against genocide is what having opinions on things is for.

Opposing mass-scale human butchery and ethnic cleansing is the fundamental, bare-minimum position that all other political positions should follow from. If you can’t take a stand against that, what are you even doing here? How have you been spending your brief time on this planet? How have you managed to make it to this point in life without maturing to the barest minimum standard possible?

You might think Israel-Palestine is too complicated for you to take a stand on. It isn’t. It’s very simple. Many of the small specific details are complex, but the overall reality they form is simple: an apartheid state has spent five months butchering and starving the population it has marginalized in a way that advances that state’s longstanding political agendas of ethnically cleansing that population from the land.

You might think you’re too cool or too evolved or too smart to take a side on Israel-Palestine. You are not. You have already taken a side, whether you admit it or not.

You might think Israel-Palestine has too many gray areas and uncertainties for you to legitimately take a side. It does not. The endless stream of footage of skeletal bodies and children ripped apart by military explosives over the last five months makes it very clear that this issue has a right side and a wrong side, and you are already standing on one of them.

By all means refuse to take sides on other issues; not taking a side is entirely legitimate when it comes to most issues people are wasting their breath bickering about. But not this one. When it comes to Gaza, reality demands a position from you.

That doesn’t mean you have to side with the Palestinians if you don’t want to. You are a sovereign human being; it’s up to you. But don’t kid yourself about being neutral.

At least be real with yourself that by refusing to pick a position you are licking the boot of a nuclear-armed ethnostate that is backed by the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. If you can’t be real about anything else, at least be real about that.

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent Australian journalist and poet. Her articles include The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society. She publishes a website and Caitlin’s Newsletter. This article was first published here and is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

NZ news media under fire for ‘bias, propaganda’ in Gaza coverage

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Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa's Neil Scott
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa's Neil Scott . . . “What Israel is doing in Gaza is genocide. What Israel is doing in Palestine is apartheid, what Israel is doing in Palestine is occupation – each of those three, plus way more, are crimes against humanity." Image: David Robie/APR

Pacific Media Watch

New Zealand news media came under fire at today’s Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war in Gaza with speakers condemning what they said was pro-Israeli “bias” and “propaganda”.

About 500 protesters waved Palestinian flags and many placards declaring “If you’re not heartbroken and furious, you’re not paying attention – stop the genocide”, “Killing kids is not self-defence” and “Western ‘civility, democracy, humanity, morality’ – bitch, where?”.

They gave Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s government a grilling for the “weak” response to Israel atrocities.

Many speakers were angry over the massacre of starving Palestinians when Israeli military forces opened fire on a crowd seeking aid in the central Gaza City area on Thursday with latest Gaza Health Ministry reports indicating that at least 115 Gazans had been killed with 760 wounded.

The overall death toll is now 30,228 Palestinians killed and 71,377 wounded in Gaza since the war began on October 7.

The UN Human Rights office called for a swift and independent probe into the food aid shootings, saying “at least 14 “similar attacks had occurred since mid-January.

The Biden administration has announced a plan with Jordan to airdrop aid into Gaza but former USAID director Dave Harden has criticised the move as “ineffectual” for the huge humanitarian need of Gaza.

Airdrops ‘symbol of failure’
“Airdrops are a symbol of massive failure,” he told Al Jazeera.

The bodies of three more Palestinians killed in the food aid slaughter were recovered.

Responses to the Gaza food aid massacre
Responses to the Gaza food aid massacre . . . “If you’re not heartbroken and furious, you’re not paying attention.” Image: David Robie/APR

The New Zealand news media were condemned for relying on “flawed” Western coverage and journalists embedded with the Israeli military.

“The New Zealand media ‘scalps’ information to create public perceptions rather than informing the public of the facts so that we can come to the conclusion that what Israel is doing in Gaza is genocide,” Neil Scott, secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Network  (PSNA), told the crowd.


PSNA’s Neil Scott addressing the Palestine solidarity crowd today. Video: APR

“What Israel is doing in Palestine is apartheid, what Israel is doing in Palestine is occupation – each of those three, plus way more, are crimes against humanity.

“And what is the New Zealand media doing and saying about this?”

“Nothing,” shouted many in the crowd.

“Nada,” continued Scott.

‘Puppies are cute’
“Puppies? Puppies are cute. We’ll get those on TV.

“Genocide. Apartheid. Occupation. Crimes against humanity. Don’t give us news.”

Television New Zealand's 1News headquarters in Auckland
Television New Zealand’s 1News headquarters in Auckland . . . target of a protest yesterday and condemnation today over its Gaza war coverage. Image: APR

Scott led a deputation of protesters to the headquarters of Television New Zealand yesterday, citing many examples of misinformation of lack of fair and “truthful” coverage.

But management declined to speak to the protesters and the 1News team failed to cover the protest over TVNZ’s coverage of the war on Gaza.

Criticisms have been mounting worldwide against Western news media coverage, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, the staunchest supporters of Israel and the source of most of NZ’s global news services, including the Middle East.


CNN ‘climate of hostility’
Yesterday, the investigative website Intercept reported how CNN media staff, including the celebrated international news anchor Christiane Amanpour, had confronted network executives over what they claimed as stories about the war on Gaza being changed and a “climate of hostility” towards Arab journalists.

According to a leaked internal recording, Amanpour told management that the CNN policy was causing “real distress” over “changing copy” and ”double standards”.

Meanwhile, one of some 50 protests across New Zealand today – in Christchurch – was disrupted by a group of counter-demonstrators supporting Israel who performed a haka at the Bridge of Remembrance.

The group from the Freedoms and Rights Coalition – linked to the Destiny Church – waved Israeli flags and chanted “go back to Israel”.  The pro-Palestinian supporters yelled “shame on them” and carried on with their regular weekly march to Cathedral Square.

Republished from Asia Pacific Report.

Caitlin Johnstone: When the imperial media report on an Israeli massacre

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The only good thing about what’s happening in Gaza is that it’s waking Westerners up
The only good thing about what’s happening in Gaza is that it’s waking Westerners up to the fact that everything they’ve been told about their society, their media and their world is a lie. Image: Caitlin Johnstone
COMMENTARY: By Caitlin Johnstone

In what many are now calling the Flour Massacre, at least 112 Gazans were killed and hundreds more injured after Israeli forces opened fire on civilians who were waiting for food from much-needed aid trucks near Gaza City on Thursday.

Initial investigations by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor found that the crowd was fired upon by both IDF automatic rifles and by Israeli tanks, and that dozens of gunshot victims were hospitalised after the incident.

Israel’s version of events has of course changed over the course of the day as narrative managers figure out how best to frame publicly available information in a way that doesn’t harm Israel’s PR interests.

Currently we’re at Israel admitting that IDF troops did indeed fire upon the crowd after previously denying this, but claiming that this isn’t what caused most of the the casualties, saying it was actually the Palestinians trampling each other in a human “stampede” which caused them harm. Essentially the current argument is “Yes we shot them, but that’s not why they died.”

The IDF claims Israeli troops only began firing on the Palestinians because the soldiers “felt threatened” by them, which goes to show that there is no atrocity Israel could possibly commit where it wouldn’t frame itself as the victim.

Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir took the opportunity to praise the IDF for heroically fighting off the dangerous Palestinians and to argue that the incident proves it’s too dangerous to keep allowing aid trucks into Gaza.

As terrible as the Israeli spin machine has been on this atrocity, the Western imperial media have been even worse. The verbal gymnastics they’ve been performing in their headlines to avoid saying Israel massacred starving people who were waiting for food would be genuinely impressive if it wasn’t so ghoulish.

As Hungry Gazans Crowd a Convoy, a Crush of Bodies, Israeli Gunshots and a Deadly Toll” reads one New York Times header, like the summary of an episode of a Netflix murder mystery show.

Chaotic aid delivery turns deadly as Israeli, Gazan officials trade blame,” says an indecipherably cryptic headline from The Washington Post.

“Biden says Gaza food aid-related deaths complicate ceasefire talks,” says The Guardian. “Food aid-related deaths”? Seriously?

More than 100 killed as crowd waits for aid, Hamas-run health ministry says,” reads a BBC headline. The UK’s state broadcaster is here using a tried and true tactic for casting doubt on death counts by deliberately associating them with Hamas, despite the fact that the Gaza Health Ministry’s death counts are considered so reliable that Israeli intelligence services use them in their own internal records.

“At least 100 killed and 700 injured in chaotic incident” says CNN, like it’s describing a frat party that got out of control.

Carnage at Gaza food aid site amid Israeli gunfire” reads another CNN headline, as though the carnage and the Israeli gunfire are two unrelated phenomena which just unluckily occurred at around the same time.

CNN also repeatedly refers to the killings as “food aid deaths”, as though it’s the food aid that killed them and not the military of a very specific and very nameable state power.

(It’s probably worth noting at this point that CNN staff have been anonymously reporting through other outlets that there’s been a uniquely aggressive top-down push within the network to slant reporting heavily in favor of Israeli information interests, driven largely by the new CEO Mark Thompson.)

So that’s what happens when the imperial media report on an Israeli massacre, in case you were curious and haven’t been paying attention since October 7 or the decades which preceded it.

The propaganda services of the Western press operate in a way that is typically indistinguishable from the spinmeistering of officials in Western governments, framing the Western empire and its allies in a positive light and their enemies in a negative one.

This happens because the Western mass media do not exist to report the news and give you information about what’s been going on in the world, but to manufacture consent for the political status quo and the globe-dominating power structure it supports.

The only difference between our propaganda and the propaganda of a ruthless dictatorship is that the people who live under a dictatorship know they are being fed propaganda, whereas Westerners are trained to believe they are ingesting impartial factual reporting.

The demolition of Gaza is alerting more and more Westerners to the fact that this is happening, though, because the more blatant the atrocities the more ham-fisted the propaganda machine needs to be about running cover for them. It’s even opening eyes within the propaganda machine itself, which is why we’re seeing things like CNN staff blowing the whistle on their own CEO and New York Times staff telling The Intercept that their bosses committed extremely egregious journalistic malpractice in producing atrocity propaganda alleging mass rapes by Hamas on October 7.

The only good thing about what’s happening in Gaza is that it’s waking Westerners up to the fact that everything they’ve been told about their society, their media and their world is a lie. Cracks are appearing in the illusion, and those of us who care about truth, peace and justice need to help draw attention to them.

From there, real change becomes a genuine possibility.

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent Australian journalist and poet. Her articles include The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society. She publishes a website and Caitlin’s Newsletter. This article was first published here and is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

John Minto: Why New Zealand should not designate Hamas a terrorist group

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A Palestinian response to Israel's genocidal war on Gaza
A Palestinian response to Israel's genocidal war on Gaza . . . now more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children. Image: APR

COMMENTARY: By John Minto

The New Zealand government is shortly to announce whether it will designate Hamas a “terrorist” group in response to the October 7 attack on Israel in which Hamas was involved.

The US and most of the Western world calls Hamas “terrorists” but so far New Zealand has only designated the armed wing of Hamas as a terrorist group.

More importantly, the United Nations — along with most of the rest of the world — has not taken this step and neither should New Zealand.

It is for Palestinians to decide which groups they support in their struggle for self-determination but it’s important here to respond to the incessant, hysterical lies told about Hamas by Israel and the pro-Israel lobby around the world.

There are probably more lies spoken about Hamas than any other organisation in the world.

One of these is the lie that the Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide. (For example, this was claimed in an opinion piece in The Post newspaper recently by Israeli diplomat and former ambassador to the United Kingdom Daniel Taub  — in response to which the newspaper declined to print any letters).

A Palestinian response to Israel's genocidal war on Gaza
A Palestinian response to Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza . . . now more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children. Image: APR

The truth is that in the latest Hamas charter from 2017, the organisation says

“Hamas reiterates that its conflict is with the Zionist project and not with the Jews based on their religion.”
“Hamas is not fighting against the Jews because they are Jews, but against the Zionists who are occupying Palestine.”
“Hamas rejects the persecution of people or the undermining of their rights on nationalist, religious or sectarian ground.”

Hamas accepts Israel with 1967 borders

In fact, their new charter goes further and Hamas accepts the state of Israel based on 1967 borders — precisely the same policy as the New Zealand government along with the US, the UK and most of the world!

It is clear to everyone that war crimes were committed in the October 7 attack on Israel.

Killing civilians and taking civilian hostages are war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention and should be condemned.

These crimes should be investigated by the International Criminal Court as were crimes in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Those investigations resulted in arrest warrants issued against Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The same process should be followed for the October 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s genocidal response. For example, arrest warrants should be issued by the ICC against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and at least half his cabinet for war crimes and crimes against humanity — including the crimes of genocide and apartheid.

As things stand there were eight Palestinian resistance groups involved in the October 7 attack on Israel and we simply do not know yet which groups and leaders were responsible for war crimes.

Palestinian resistance groups have the right under international law to take up arms to fight against their colonial occupiers just as the African National Congress (ANC) had the right to take up arms to fight for freedom in apartheid South Africa.

Aotearoa New Zealand must respect this right and not pander to the deep-seated racism and cheap political sloganeering of the pro-Israel lobby.

A knee-jerk reaction from New Zealand to designate Hamas a terrorist group would be a further step backwards from an independent foreign policy.

John Minto is national chair of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA).

The besieged Gaza Strip
The besieged Gaza Strip . . . Hamas’s surprise attack on October 7 came after Israeli settlers had stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and after a record number of Palestinians had been killed by Israel at that point in 2023. Image: Al Jazeera

Caitlin Johnstone: The most American thing that has ever happened

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People in Gaza are being burned alive
People in Gaza are being burned alive, are suffocating to death under collapsed buildings, are having operations and amputations without anesthesia, are starving to death, are watching their loved ones die in front of them, are experiencing suffering of a degree that very few of us here in the west can even imagine. Image: CJ

COMMENTARY: By Caitlin Johnstone

A man set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington today. He said he did it in protest of the genocide in Gaza.

Independent journalist Talia Jane reports that she was able to obtain footage of the incident, which the unnamed man — later named as apparently recorded himself.

Jane reports that the man said he is “an active duty member of the US Air Force” and that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide.” After igniting he repeatedly yelled “Free Palestine.”

According to Jane, a police officer showed up pointing a gun at the man’s burning body; I guess that’s just what American cops do when they aren’t sure what to do. Someone who was actually trying to save the man reportedly yelled “I don’t need guns, I need fire extinguishers!”

This just might be the most American thing I have ever heard of. It’s more American than the fake bald eagle cries they put in Hollywood movies. It’s more American than monster trucks and mass shootings. You simply cannot fit more America into a single incident than a man dying a horrifying death in protest of war crimes while a first responder screams at cops to stop pointing their guns at him and go get fire extinguishers.

If you were to pick a single moment in history to sum up the essence and expression of the US empire, that would be it.

 

The New York Times reports that the man “was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries and remains in critical condition.”

“I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest,” the man reportedly recorded himself saying before the incident. “But compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonisers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.”

The nameless protester is correct. People in Gaza are being burned alive, are suffocating to death under collapsed buildings, are having operations and amputations without anesthesia, are starving to death, are watching their loved ones die in front of them, are experiencing suffering of a degree that very few of us here in the West can even imagine. And our ruling class is absolutely attempting to normalise this for us.

 

This isn’t even the first self-immolation we’ve seen in protest of Israel’s US-backed atrocities after October 7; back in December an unnamed protester with a Palestinian flag self-immolated outside the Israeli consulate building in Atlanta.

And as I reflect on this I can’t help thinking, how many Israel supporters have self-immolated in protest of October 7? How many Israel supporters have self-immolated in protest of the super serious antisemitism crisis they claim is making Jews feel unsafe in their communities? Surely their claims are just as serious and sincere as those of Palestine supporters, no?

Of course not. This has not happened and the very idea is laughable. Israel apologists insist that it is they and their favorite ethnostate who are the real victims in all this, rather than the population of Gaza who has seen tens of thousands of Palestinians annihilated while Israeli soldiers openly celebrate their mass displacement and death.

But you don’t see them self-immolating; you see them cheerleading for ethnic cleansing and genocide. They wouldn’t do anything to cause themselves pain or inconvenience to promote their pet agenda. They wouldn’t even miss brunch for it.

It’s a horrific thing, burning alive. I suspect that pretty much everyone who’s ever self-immolated has had serious regrets about it within the first few seconds. There’s simply nothing one can do to prepare oneself for the experience of that kind of pain, or for how long it can take them to lose consciousness after it’s started.

At that point the only comfort they could possibly offer themselves is that it can’t go on forever.

But the fact that anyone would ever take such a measure at all shows how profoundly urgent they recognise this issue to be, and how much more sincere they are about it than those on the other side.

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent Australian journalist and poet. Her articles include The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society. She publishes a website and Caitlin’s Newsletter. This article is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

Gaza media voices: Who are Bisan, Hind Khoudary, Motaz and Plestia?

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Gaza chroniclers Bisan Owda, Hind Khoudary and Plestia Alaqad

Young women Bisan Owda, Hind Khudary, Plestia Alaqad — and Motaz Azaiza, a young man also from Gaza — are among a new generation of journalists speaking to the world in Arabic and English through social media.

The New Arab

Rising female Palestinian voices — Bisan Owda, Hind Khudary and and Plestia Alaqad — have emerged from Gaza, wielding storytelling to illuminate realities often unseen and unheard in the course of Israel’s genocidal war on their homeland, in which Israel has deliberately targeted journalists.

While their journeys began separately, remarkable similarities bind their paths, painting a portrait of resilience, courage, and unwavering commitment to telling the story of the atrocities in Gaza, drowned out by Western media pro-Israel bias.

Owda, Khoudary and Alaqad gained international recognition for their firsthand accounts of life during the conflicts in Gaza.

Bisan, Hind, Plestia, Motaz Azaiza, a young man also from Gaza, are among a new generation of journalists speaking to the world in Arabic and English through social media.

Plestia evacuated from Gaza in November and Motaz Azaiza left in January, but Owda and Khoudary remain in Gaza at the time of writing.

Who is Bisan Owda?
Owda is a 24-year old Palestinian filmmaker. Through her poignant social media videos starting with the chilling “I’m still alive,” she offers glimpses into the daily anxieties and struggles under siege.

Armed with her camera and unwavering spirit, Owda’s raw and unfiltered portrayals of life under siege in Gaza garnered international attention.

Major news outlets, including BBC News, Al Jazeera, and ABC News, shared her work, propelling her into the spotlight as a chronicler of a complex and often misunderstood narrative.

Bisan Owda, known as “Hakawatia”–[The Storyteller] for her captivating historical narratives, now paints a grimmer picture on social media — the stark reality of life under Israeli bombardment in Gaza.

Gone are the tales of cultural heritage, replaced by harrowing messages: “Peace be upon you. I’m Bisan from Gaza, Palestine. Thank God I’m still alive.”

The 24-year-old’s life, like countless others, has been upended by the month-long conflict.

At the start of the war, Israeli airstrikes targeted her office and equipment, forcing her and her family to seek refuge in the crowded Al-Shifa Medical Complex.

Undeterred, Bisan uses her phone to document the war’s toll — destroyed buildings, displaced families, and the tragic loss of almost 30,000 lives.

Amid the scenes of devastation, flickers of hope emerge in her reporting despite everything. Children diligently cleaning the bombed-out hospital and an elderly woman’s unwavering resilience offer solace.

But the ever-present threat of Israeli attacks looms large.

The children of Gaza, its stones, its sea, its buildings, its residents, and every grain of soil in it — these are the subjects of her stories.

Despite the nightmares, the constant fear, and the ever-present danger, Bisan persists. She moves between the rubble and the fallen, capturing the human cost of the conflict in audio and video.

Bisan on Instagram
Bisan on Instagram . . . “Peace be upon you . . . Thank God I’m still alive.” Image: Instagram

Who is Hind Khoudary?
Hind Khoudary, a 29-year-old Palestinian journalist from the Gaza Strip, has also earned widespread recognition for her work documenting life under siege and war in Gaza.

Her career path winds through various publications, including The New Arab, the Middle East Eye, Anadolu Agency, and +972 Magazine. Previously, she contributed to RT. Her online presence on platforms like Twitter and Instagram has garnered attention, with her posts cited by The New York Times, NPR, and Utusan Malaysia.

Khoudary’s human rights advocacy led her to work with Amnesty International in 2019. During the Great March of Return protests in 2018, she documented the events and reported on human rights concerns.

She was briefly detained and interrogated by Hamas, the ruling authority in Gaza, for her work.

Khoudary continues to shine a light on the lives and experiences of Palestinians living in Gaza, highlighting the ongoing impact of Israel’s genocidal war.

Who is Plestia Alaqad?
Plestia Alaqad is 22 years old. Using platforms like Instagram, she shares personal narratives that resonate deeply, humanising the cost of conflict for global audiences.

Since before the current war, Owda, leveraging her platform, has become a powerful advocate for human rights, gender equality, and youth empowerment. Partnering with organszations like UNFPA and UN Women, she has tackled social issues and inspired others to find their voices.

Graduating in 2022 with a degree in Communication and Media Studies, Alaqad worked freelance and served as editor-in-chief of her university newspaper, gaining valuable experience.

She previously trained media professionals and participated in eco-journalism workshops. Her dedication garnered recognition from international media outlets like SBS News and Outlook India.

Alaqad fled the Gaza Strip via Egypt. She is now in Australia.

Alaqad, who garnered a following of 3.9 million on Instagram documenting the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, announced her departure in November after 46 days of sharing videos and photos from the besieged territory.

“The decision is far from easy,” she said in a video message.

“Leaving my family, home, and people is difficult, but my presence has become a threat.”

Alaqad’s flight came amid a surge in violence against journalists. Since the war began in October, more than 119 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza — amounting to more than one journalist a day, according to the International Federation of Journalists — in addition to three Lebanese journalists in South Lebanon by Israeli fire.

Gaza media sources put the number killed higher, at 126.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate accuses Israeli forces of deliberately targeting media personnel.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the attacks, calling it the deadliest period for journalists in the organisation’s 30-year history of monitoring conflicts.

Who is Doaa Albaz?
Doaa Albaz, a photojournalist working for Anadolu agency, continues to take pictures documenting the war as well.

Born in Gaza in 1989, she has been covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for several years, She studied journalism at the Islamic University of Gaza and began working as a photojournalist in 2010. She has covered a wide range of stories in Gaza, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the humanitarian crisis, and the daily lives of Palestinians.

In 2016, she was awarded the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award. She was also a finalist for the 2017 Rory Peck Award for Freelance Photojournalism.

Republished from The New Arab. If there are more young voices from Gaza you think should be profiled? Email: editorial-english@newarab.com

Kia Ora Gaza organiser condemns ‘open genocide’ in Gaza Strip

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A Pacific cohort at the Palestinian solidarity rally and march at Auckland's Te Komititanga Square today
A Pacific cohort at the Palestinian solidarity rally and march at Auckland's Te Komititanga Square today . . . they also gave an eulogy and sang a waiata for the loss of beloved Green MP and Pacific community advocate Fa’anānā Efeso Collins who died suddenly this week. Image: David Robie/Asia Pacific Report

While telling today’s Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland about the “good news” of creative humanitarian aid plans to help Palestinians amid the War on Gaza, New Zealand Kia Ora Gaza advocate and organiser Roger Fowler also condemned Israel’s genocidal conduct. He was interviewed by Anadolu News Agency after a Freedom Flotilla Coalition planning meeting in Istanbul with his views this week republished here.

By Faruk Hanedar in Istanbul

“Women, children, and families have no food. They are trying to drink water from puddles. People are eating grass.”

— Kia Ora Gaza advocate Roger Fowler

New Zealand activist Roger Fowler has condemned the Israeli regime’s actions in the Gaza Strip, saying “this is definitely genocide”.

“The Israeli regime has not hidden its intention to destroy or displace the Palestinian people, especially those in Gaza, from the beginning,” he said.

“They are committing a terrible act — killing tens of thousands of people, injuring more, and destroying a large part of this beautiful country.”

The death toll from the Israeli War on Gaza topped 29,000 this week – mostly women and children – and there were reports of deaths from starvation.

Fowler demanded action to halt the attacks and expressed hope about the potential effect of the international Freedom Flotilla — a grassroots organisation working to end the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

He noted large-scale protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza and emphasised efforts to pressure governments, including through weekly protests in New Zealand to unequivocally condemn Israel’s actions as unacceptable.

A Palestinian mother and family hug the dead body of their child who died in an Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza
A Palestinian mother and family hug the dead body of their child who died in an Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on 18 February 2024. Image: Kia Ora Gaza

Long-standing mistreatment
He stressed that the “tragedy” had extended beyond recent months, highlighting the long-standing mistreatment endured by Palestinians — particularly those in Gaza — for the last 75 years.

Fowler pointed out the dire situation that Gazans faced — confined to a small territory with restricted access to essential resources including food, medicine, construction materials and necessities.

He noted his three previous trips to Gaza with land convoys, where he demonstrated solidarity and observed the dire circumstances faced by the population.

“Boycott is a very effective action,” said Fowler, underlining the significance of boycotts, isolation and sanctions, while stressing the necessity of enhancing and globalising initiatives to end the blockade.

“I believe that boycotting has a great impact on pressuring not only major companies to withdraw from Israel and end their support, but also on making the Israeli government and our own governments understand that they need to stop what they are doing.”

Fowler also criticised the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) “genocide decision” for being ineffective due to the arrogance of those governing Israel.

South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel to the ICJ in December and asked for emergency measures to end Palestinian bloodshed in Gaza, where nearly 30,000 people have been killed since October 7.

Anadolu journalist Faruk Hanedar talks with Kia Ora Gaza organiser Roger Fowler (left)
Anadolu journalist Faruk Hanedar talks with Kia Ora Gaza organiser Roger Fowler (left) after the recent Freedom Flotilla Coalition planning meeting in Istanbul. Image: Kia Ora Gaza/Anadolu

World Court fell short
The World Court ordered Israel last month to take “all measures within its power” to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza but fell short of ordering a ceasefire.

It also ordered Israel to take “immediate and effective” measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip.

Fowler said all nations must persistently advocate and exert pressure for adherence to decisions by the UN court.

Fowler acknowledged efforts by UN personnel but he has concerns about their limited resources in Gaza, citing the only avenue for change is for people to pressure authorities to stop the genocide and ensure Israel is held accountable.

“It’s definitely tragic and heartbreaking. Women, children, and families have no food. They are trying to drink water from puddles. People are eating grass. This is a very desperate situation. No one is talking about the children. Thousands of people are under the rubble, including small babies and children,” he said.

Roger Fowler is a Mangere East community advocate, political activist for social justice in many issues, and an organiser of Kia Ora Gaza. This article was first published by Anadolu Agency and is republished with permission.

kiaoragaza.net

"Gaza is starving to death"
“Gaza is starving to death” . . . a banner in today’s Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau. Image: David Robie/Asia Pacific Report
"Blood on your hands"
“Blood on your hands” . . . a protest banner condemning Israel and the US during a demonstration outside the US consulate in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau today. Image: David Robie/Asia Pacific Report

Leila Khaled: ‘Free Palestine’ has become a slogan of the peoples of the world

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GREEN-LEFT EXCLUSIVE: Leila Khaled talks to Peter Boyle

Leila Khaled is an iconic Palestinian revolutionary activist. A famous mural of her (pictured above) adorns an Israeli apartheid wall isolating the West Bank in Palestine. She is a member of the national committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a representative on the Palestine National Council. She lives in exile in Jordan today and gave this exclusive interview to Green Left on February 18.

By Leila Khaled and Peter Boyle

As the Israeli military commences its assault on Rafah, Benjamin Netanyahu’s regime is not even pretending to abide by the interim orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). What is your assessment of the ICJ case and the responses of the various world powers to its interim orders and the continuing genocide in Gaza?

Leila Khaled: South Africa, which is trying to prove in the ICJ that Israel is committing genocide, is now following up the case (as are other countries like Nicaragua) because Israel is not abiding by any rules of the court.

And there is a lot of pressure on Israel now. On February 26, the ICJ will have its second meeting [on the genocide issue] and now there is a lot of pressure on the court to meet because Israel is declaring they are going to attack Rafah.

There are 1.5 million people in Rafah now because they drove people from the north and from the city of Gaza to the south. They went there but now [Israel] won’t allow them to go back to their homes, even if they were not bombarded . . .

Israel is acting like it is above international law.

Israel is now already attacking Rafah. They are not on the ground yet but they are bombarding it by planes.

Until now the United States administration is not putting enough pressure on Israel. It is the only government that can put the pressure that is needed to stop the genocide in Rafah.

Israel says that they will open a safe road [out from Rafah].

Where to? There is no safe place in the whole Gaza strip.


Palestinian revolutionary Leila Khaled speaks out. Video: Green Left

The Israeli military is still in Khan Younis, a city beside Rafah, and when people went out of the hospital there were snipers who killed four doctors and they arrested the other medical workers.

So people could not leave Khan Younis to come to Rafah. Rafah is also a very small district to have so many people there.

Now it is time for people who demonstrated to support the Palestinians — and against the atrocities that Israel is committing — to pressure their governments which, like in Australia, are supporting Israel.

The attitude of the Australian government is that Israel has a right to defend itself. But Israel is not defending itself, it is attacking for four months!

Most of the casualties are women and children when they bombard and destroy their homes.

People have nowhere to go today unless the Rafah border is opened. But it is not opened yet [even] to receive humanitarian aid like medicines and food, even though the ICJ ordered Israel to let aid in to all parts of the Gaza Strip, especially in the north . . .

The Egyptians have the sovereignty over the Gaza Crossing but Israel does not allow anybody to go out or in. So it is a siege . . .

Governments are supposed to abide by rules but Israel is not following the ICJ’s [interim] orders. So they should take action. For example, they can cut diplomatic relations to pressure Israel to stop its genocide.

They can boycott Israeli products. This would put pressure on Israel.

But until now the governments that follow the US government are not taking those steps. They just hear their people shouting in the streets.

The Zionist regime has told many lies about October 7 to justify its latest genocidal attack on Gaza. What is the PFLP’s understanding of the reason for and what really happened in Operation Al-Aqsa Flood?

Leila Khaled: The freedom fighters did not attack ordinary people [on October 7] , they attacked the military settlements. But when the borders were open some other people took civilians.

Neither Israel nor the Western media could prove that there were massacres.

The civilian hostages [who were released in one of the deals negotiated] said they were dealt with very kindly . . .

So why are they speaking like this about massacres? Just to say that the freedom fighters are terrorists.

In international law, people who are under occupation have the right to defend themselves with all means, including armed struggle. And this was armed struggle.

We have the right to defend ourselves from occupation and the siege of Gaza.

So they made lies because they did not have any evidence. Even when [US President Joe] Biden showed some pictures, CNN said that he did not have evidence that this was what happened on October 7.

People around the world have been demonstrating because they know about the siege of Gaza that has been going on for 17 years. Israel has carried out a lot of attacks on the people of Gaza. Four times they attacked Gaza and caused many casualties, in the first attack killing about 2000 children. The second time they killed more than 2000 children. And then there was a third and fourth attack on Gaza.

What is the real reason that the US and its closest allies — including, shamefully, Australia — support the Zionist state?

Leila Khaled: Because this was their original project in 1948 for establishing a colonial settler state, Israel, occupying the land of Palestine. Because it protects their common interests.

This is why even yesterday Biden declared he would send $15 billion to support Israel.

Those countries that share the interests of the US administration support its policy which has ended up with this war against the Palestinian people, not against Hamas . . .

Hamas is part of the Palestinian resistance and are also freedom fighters.

What is your assessment of the so-called two-state “solution” that was begun with the Oslo Accords? Has it failed? If so, what would be the alternative and how can it be won?

Leila Khaled: This illusion of the two-state solution has been set for 40 years but they didn’t implement it. So that we don’t have any freedom in our occupied country.

The Oslo Accord stated Israel will withdraw and allow a Palestinian state. But Israel did not abide by the agreements that were signed . . .

In 1949 the UN declared that there would be two states, one a Jewish state and an Arabic state — not a Palestinian state.

But Israel also turned its back on all the UN resolutions that have been taken over the years.

For us, to solve the problem it has to be recognised, first, that Israel does not have the right to occupy Palestine and, second, the right of return for the Palestinians. This is the key to solving the conflict…

The UN hasn’t implemented its resolutions up until now.

Israel has denied our right of return even though it was a condition in the 1948 UN resolution. Israel would be accepted as part of the international community and have a state in Palestine on condition that the Palestinians had the right of return.

Because of the balance of forces at the time, Israel was accepted as a nation while the Palestinians remained refugees.

I am one of those refugees as a result of the crime that happened in 1948.

Now we are calling for a democratic state, with the return of the Palestinian refugees. Then, we can altogether live in Palestine and decide what kind of state we need.

Without this, the struggle will continue from generation to generation.

The Palestinians who are fighting today are the fourth generation.

There are also refugee camps in the West Bank, like Jenin, and we have seen them attacked and houses demolished on a daily basis.

Israel has arrested about 6000 people in the West Bank on top of the 7000 people who were detained before . . .  So we are calling for the release of these political prisoners in exchange for the hostages held by Hamas, who are all Israeli military.

There were no Israelis in Palestine before 1948. There were Jews who were Palestinians but we don’t discriminate on the basis of religion. The Zionist movement brought people to Palestine after World War II to establish an Israeli state, which was guaranteed by the British colonial government of that time.

We had our identity as Palestinians, including the Jews who were living with us. We didn’t drive out the Jews from Palestine. Its history, Palestine is Palestine.

Now the balance of forces is coming a little bit more in our favour. It is a step forward that people around the world have declared their support for free Palestine. “Free Palestine” has become a slogan of the peoples of the world, including in Australia . . .

But the Australian government, which is still under the British crown, is supporting Israel along with the other colonial powers.

The latest Zionist genocidal war on Gaza has cost so many Palestinian lives but the there has also been a historic global mass solidarity for Palestine and opposition to this war — on a scale not seen since the Vietnam War. A whole new generation of activists has stepped forward in this movement. What is your message to this new generation of solidarity activists? What lessons can you share from your own experience of a life in struggle?

Leila Khaled: I would say we are thankful for all those who have declared this attitude to the Palestinians and what is happening in Palestine. The peoples of the world now understand the core issues of this struggle — and we, the Palestinians, will not forget this — that in this war, Israel is doing genocide.

I saw on the TV, and from the video that comrades sent from Australia, the huge demonstrations in Melbourne and Sydney which showed that people began to realise the reasons behind what is going on.

They are demanding that the Israeli army cease fire and withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

This is what I am telling the world’s people, especially the new generation: Keep on fighting for just causes.

The Palestinian cause is a human cause. Now we are defending humanity, not only in the Gaza Strip . .

We are trying to build a new history in the region against the imperialists, especially American imperialism, because they are the ones who launch wars and they are supporting Israel with all means and new arms . . .  But they don’t give anything for the children of Palestine.

Leila Khaled will be a featured international speaker at the Ecosocialism 2024 conference in Perth from June 28-30. Ecosocialism 2024 brings together ecosocialist activists from around the Indo-Pacific region. Republished from Green-Left with permission.