One petition I saw circulating recently called for both Israel and Hamas to put down their weapons. I dispute this approach that blames both sides equally. Israel is the aggressor. Not only is Israel bombing indiscriminately with a view to maximising civilian casualties, it continues to maintain its inhumane and illegal siege of Gaza.
The kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers was simply a pretext. There is no evidence that it was a Palestinian or a Hamas member who killed the teenagers.
Israel has set itself as judge, jury and executioner.
Just as hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people in the US have been executed for crimes they did not commit, Israel has been effectively executing innocent Palestinians.
A rough equivalent in Australia is if some power decided to carpet bomb a suburb like Coburg (in Melbourne's inner north) because a suspect in a murder case may live there — and also put a wall around the suburb so that the people can't escape the bombing.
That is what Israel is doing to Gaza.
But this hypothetical scenario still doesn't truly capture the full horror, because people in Gaza have experienced this sort of destruction over and over again every few years.
And then, after every episode of ruthless bombing, Israel does not allow material through for repairs, so that the situation is even worse for people the next time Israel launches war.
We need to demand that Israel immediately stop the bombing of Gaza. But that is not enough. We also need to demand that the siege of Gaza be lifted and the occupation of Palestine be ended once and for all.
We also have to make demands on the Australian government. Israel wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the financial support it receives from the US, and the diplomatic and political support it gets from Australia, the US, Britain and other imperialist countries.
Israel, like Australia, is a racist colonial settler state. We must call on the Australian government to condemn the Israeli aggression and cut all military, diplomatic and economic ties with Israel until it grants freedom to the Palestinians.
[This is based on a speech that Socialist Alliance Moreland City Councillor Sue Bolton Palestine gave at a Melbourne rally in solidarity with Palestine on July 12.]