As Briefing went to press, the LRC Executive issued the following statement on the attacks on Gaza.
The LRC condemns Israel’s latest escalation of violence against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and calls for an immediate cessation to the onslaught. Israel’s actions can serve no purpose other than entrenching hatred and increasing civilian casualties.
While we do not condone attacks on civilians on either side, we recognise that this is an unequal conflict between the Middle East’s most powerful military force and a largely defenceless Palestinian population. Unlike the Israeli state, Palestinians have neither army, navy or air force, nor nuclear weapons. Over 60 years since the creation of the Israeli state, it is clear that military bombardment and the theft of land can bring nothing but instability and violence to the region.
This latest crisis is only the culmination of a brutal Israeli blockade of Gaza, with increasing contempt for Palestinian life. On 8 November, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, eight Israeli tanks and four bulldozers invaded southern Gaza killing a thirteen year old boy, clear proof that Israel is not the victim of unprovoked aggression as it claims.
A full scale land invasion is in preparation – Israel has called up 75,000 reservists (an indication of the scale of preparation) – echoing Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, when Israel committed war crimes, targeting and killing hundreds of civilians, using indiscriminate weapons and intentionally destroying civilian infrastructure.
A lasting peace requires ending the illegal occupation, dismantling the illegal settlements, de-militarising the conflict and working for a negotiated solution that treats the Palestinians as equals. Without this, it is to be expected that Palestinians will resort to whatever means they have at their disposal to resist this brutal military occupation.
We condemn the one-sided nature of Britain’s and the US’ support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” against rocket attacks while at the same time they turn a blind eye to Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza. We also condemn the totally biased reportage in the mainstream UK media, including by the BBC.
We express our solidarity with the Palestinian people. Israeli forces should leave Gaza, and all occupied territories, immediately.