Following Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza: It’s high time for the UN to act to dismantle apartheid
Over the last few days, we have witnessed yet another televised massacre by apartheid Israel against Indigenous Palestinians in Gaza, with over 40 murdered, including 15 children, and hundreds injured. Most of our people in Gaza are refugees from the 1948 Nakba, ethnically cleansed and dispossessed by Zionist militias and later the state of Israel and its military, and continuously striving to return home. In parallel, fascist Israeli factions, supported and protected by the apartheid regime, have invaded and desecrated the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
While we mourn our dead, tend to our injured, try to rebuild our homes, and resist aggression and its underlying system of oppression, we need more fervent and meaningful international solidarity.
This time, Israel’s deadly aggression was “unprovoked,” by its own admission, denying it the usual propaganda claim, duly parotted by biased Western media, of acting in “retaliation.” But a regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid is never retaliating; it is by definition a continuous act of violence, aggression and oppression. The Brazilian educator Paulo Freire says, “With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. …There would be no oppressed had there been no prior violence to establish their subjugation.”
It is crucial to remember that Israel’s latest massacre took place in the context of the criminal siege of Gaza. Already in its 15th year, the siege is older than most of the children murdered in Israel’s repeated massacres there since 2008. The siege deprives over two million Palestinians, the majority of them children, of basic necessities, including clean water, jobs, reliable electric power, as well as adequate housing, healthcare, and education. As a result, morbidity, mortality (especially infant mortality), stunted growth, and poverty rates have risen sharply, reducing the lives of people there to hell. Israel’s siege of Gaza is condemned by human rights experts as a crime against humanity, while activists and some historians have termed it, “incremental genocide.”
Israel is only able to carry out its continuous deadly aggressions against Palestinians due to the overt support of the US, UK and other European governments and the indirect support of other governments that remain silent or, worse, treat the apartheid oppressor and its oppressed victims as morally equivalent. The blood of Palestinian children is on their hands too.
Adding insult to injury is the grotesque hypocrisy and double standard of the West when comparing its active support for Israel’s decades long system of occupation and oppression to its sweeping opposition to and sanctions against Russia over its months-old invasion of Ukraine. After all, Israel’s decades-old regime of military occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is not only “Made in the West” but is still armed, funded and shielded from accountability by that same deeply colonial and racist West. The West’s military, diplomatic and economic support for apartheid Israel makes it a full partner in the crime.
The utter failure of the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, including the General Assembly, to hold Israel accountable for its prolonged and continued crimes against humanity makes them also key culprits in Israel’s recent massacre in Gaza.
The systematic and prolonged nature of Israel’s oppression and aggression against Palestinians leaves no excuse to those countries in the Global South that are normalizing or plan to normalize relations with this colonial apartheid regime. Corporations and institutions that continue business as usual with apartheid as if it were normal need to face serious consequences. There are no excuses for artists, academics, and others who work or want to work with apartheid Israel. These are all forms of complicity in crimes against humanity.
As we continue to resist on the ground we call on our partners and allies around the world to escalate solidarity mobilization and take effective action to stop Israel’s crimes to help us dismantle its entire violent regime of oppression.
We ask that you:
Challenge mainstream media complicity
Many mainstream media outlets are repeating apartheid Israel’s lies and framing, completely ignoring the facts. Monitor your media, ask journalists to respect our 7 Points on Ethical and Professional Journalistic Principles in Covering Israel’s War on Gaza, protest false reporting, and help us get Palestinian voices heard.
Pressure your governments and the UN to act by:
Condemning apartheid Israel’s continued aggression
Impose a two-way military and security embargo on Israel
Ban all trade and banking benefiting Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise
Most urgently, next month, the UN General Assembly meetings start and Palestinian civil society is calling for an urgent UN investigation into Israel’s crime against humanity of apartheid, including through the re-activation of its anti-apartheid mechanisms. Send demands to your government to support these calls for concrete UN measures to dismantle Israeli apartheid, as was done with South Africa. See Annex for a template letter you can use.
Build more grassroots power by intensifying BDS campaigns
Join or develop boycott and divestment campaigns to hold corporations and institutions accountable for their complicity in Israel’s regime of oppression. For a list of key global BDS Campaigns, see here.