Israel, Get out of Gaza!


Also killed on the same day were an 11-month-old boy Amar Masharawi, a pregnant 19-year-old woman Hiba Masharawi-Turk, and a 61-year-old man Mahmoud Hmad.

Are these not innocent civilians?

But Israel claims it is attacking only military targets, since it launched its attacks – in what it calls ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ – on Wednesday.

By the fifth day, yesterday morning, including the above victims, more than 50 Gazans had been killed, and more than 450 injured.  And the numbers are mounting.

I was in Gaza in May  this year in the very compound, of Gaza  Prime Minister Ishmail Haniyeh which was bombed yesterday. I had seen the Prime Minister’s three-storey office building which is now completely flattened. Luckily, Haniyeh was not inside the building at that time.

Here, if I can feel terrible pangs of pain and sorrow just because I had once been to the same place that is being bombed, just imagine the feelings of the Gazans, who are right now living in and around those places there.

Listening to those roaring sounds of bomber jets, the hissing whistles of deadly missiles and the piercing howling of war sirens must be shattering their lives like never before. Children and women must be terrified at the onslaught.

And, as if the aerial and naval attacks are not enough, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel’s army is getting ready for a ground invasion. He says Israel is ready to “significantly expand” its operation against fighters in Gaza.

How much more suffering does Israel want to inflict on Palestinians who are just asking for their rightful place to live?

What is Israel trying to prove through these attacks? How can Gazans protect themselves?

An Israeli Defence Force (IDF) Spokesperson tweet yesterday said “in the last four days, nearly 500 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel – another 267 were intercepted by Iron dome System.”

Even if this number claim is true, Israel does not seem to understand that people of Gaza cannot just sit idle when being bombarded with war planes. Israel has their sophisticated Iron Dome system. Gazans don’t.

US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes announced that President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed that de-escalation in Gaza was preferable – provided Hamas ceased fire.

Agreed? Agreement is not action. And anyway, what do they mean that de-escalation is ‘preferable’ if Hamas ceased fire? How can Israel expect Gaza to stop when Israel doesn’t?

I am glad that some countries stood their ground. Turkey and Egypt refused to bend to US pressure of asking Islamist Hamas to end their rocket fire. Both, Turkey and Egypt have blamed Israel for the violence.

Even thugh Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi says there are indications of cease fire, nothing is official yet.

With regard to the Arab League foreign ministers’ emergency meeting in Cairo on Saturday, I feel that mere denouncement of the air attack, and a new demand for a review of Arab policy towards the Jewish state is not enough. Arab governments must build pressure on Israel to back out of Gaza, through a more solid neighbourhood coalition.

Let us hope that the Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi’s delegation to Gaza “to affirm solidarity with the Palestinians,” will yield some positive results.

Even as I write this, I am reading, on Al Jazeera’s live blog, that sirens have sounded in Tel Aviv, as a rocket from Gaza is being intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome System.

But, actually, UN must intercept the entire conflict itself, by putting its weight on the recognition of Palestinian statehood, and by then thwarting any attack on Palestine’s territorial sovereignty.