Gazan activist: ‘We will never surrender, but we need your support’

Shamikh Badra listens to an audience comment at the Socialist Alliance-organised meeting on Gaza on July 20. Photo by Peter Boyl

Thousands of people in Sydney joined many demonstrations around the world in support of Palestine on July 20, staging an angry demonstration starting at Town Hall.

After the protest, the Socialist Alliance hosted a meeting in the nearby Hotel Sweeney’s to discuss the situation in Gaza and how to build the campaign against Israeli terror. Another rally is scheduled for July 27 at 1pm at Sydney’s Town Hall (other cities are also holding more demonstrations against Israel’s attacks).

The post-rally meeting heard from Shamikh Badra, an activist from the left-wing Palestinian People’s Party in Gaza who is studying in Australia, and Vivienne Porzsolt from Jews Against the Occupation. The article below is based on Badra’s speech.

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The tiny Gaza Strip has been subjected to daily air strikes and naval bombings from the Israeli Military, leaving more than 500 people dead and more than 3600 have been injured. The United Nations estimates that 80% of the Palestinians killed are civilians, of whom 21% are children.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in Gaza Strip continued targeting houses with their residents inside them or without giving them proper warning or time to evacuate. Nearly 2760 houses have been destroyed or severely damaged in the attacks, displacing 6000 people. Meanwhile 16,000 Palestinians have had to flee their homes to shelter in UNRWA schools and other facilities.

Hospitals in the strip are working overtime to treat injured Palestinians; however the Gaza Red Crescent Society has reported that medicines are running out in their facilities. Israeli occupation began a ground operation in Gaza late Thursday on the 10th day of their offensive.

As the operation began, Israel approved the call-up of another 18,000 reservists, taking the total number approved to 65,000 for this operation.

My family have described the situation to me as genocide. I realise the dangerous situation well, because I suffered, as all Palestinians in Gaza did, from the two previous wars in 2009 and 2012.

Everywhere in Gaza now, there is the destruction of homes, the smell of blood and death, funerals, explosions, sound of ambulances, fires, burned bodies, horror among children and women. The Israeli occupation is committing genocide. Entire families and innocent children are being killed in their homes. Israeli occupation continues to intensify its aggression against the besieged territory People live in Gaza in difficult circumstances. There is not enough water, electricity, fuel or medicine.

The IOF are targeting houses with their residents inside them or without giving them proper warning or time to evacuate. Dozens of civilians have been killed in such airstrikes on their houses.

Israeli occupation describes the situation as there is a war between two armies. They claim that to justify their crimes. As you know, Gaza has no navy, no air force and no army. This is not a war, it is genocide. This occupation is racist, and the enemy of humanity and progress.

The occupation is responsible for the dangerous situation in Gaza. The occupation is the enemy of the peace, security, democracy and human rights.

Palestinians have the rights to defend themselves. In face of the continued failure of [the] international community to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law, Israeli crimes have continued with impunity.

Therefore, we rely on the people of the world and their power to change the course of the future. We believe in people to people solidarity in order to bring down the apartheid regime. I would like to seize the opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to our international friends and encourage you all to take a leading role in the struggle for justice and peace in Palestine.

We also demand parliamentarians, politicians and human rights activists intensify efforts to end the murderous attack on our people — and to criminalise the Israeli occupation in the international forums.

In spite of these crimes, aggressions, and massacres, Gaza will never surrender. GAZA will never die, and will resist the oppression and the occupation.

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