Stand up for the people of Gaza

January 7, 2009

[The following statement was issued by the Socialist Alliance on January 6].

The Socialist Alliance condemns the Israeli massacre in the Gaza strip, which has left at least 500 people dead and 2000 more injured. We call on the Rudd government to condemn this slaughter and suspend all economic, military and cultural ties with Israel until military action ceases, the Israeli armed forces withdraw from Gaza and the Israeli siege of the territory ends.

It is clear that Israel's action and invasion was planned to occur during the final days of the Bush presidency, in the knowledge that it would support Israel's aggression.

It is also clear that the Israeli attacks was also carefully planned for domestic political reasons in the lead-up to the Israeli elections.

Israeli government statements that the attacks were in self-defence must be rejected.

The Israeli leadership has made it clear that it does not recognise Hamas as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian community in Gaza, and that its primary motive is to destroy Hamas whatever the cost in lives and property. The present war, portrayed by Israel as a reluctant but unavoidable response to rocket firings from Gaza, was actually planned over six months in advance.

While Israel claimed that it targeted "terrorists" in its initial air bombardment, the tonnes of bombs dropped were mostly aimed at police stations in the middle of densely populated civilian areas. One of these attacks also took place at the same time as children were going home from school, leaving many dead or injured.

If Israel is conducting actions in Gaza only against "terrorists", why has it banned the international media from entering and reporting on the catastrophic effects on civilians there?

The massacre comes on the back of two years of blockade imposed by Israel in an attempt to topple the democratically elected Hamas government. The people of Gaza have been denied proper medical treatment, food, clean water, power and freedom of movement — all universally recognised basic human rights.

If the massacres are to stop international public opinion needs to let Israel know that its actions are totally unacceptable. Israel's traditional supporters, who have clearly sanctioned this bloody operation and without whose complicity it would not be possible, must be forced to withdraw their support.

The Australian people need to stand up for the people of Gaza by making the Rudd government end its backing of Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The Socialist Alliance urges its members, supporters and all supporters of the human rights of the Palestinian people to join the emergency protests that are being organised around the country against this latest crime of the Israeli state.

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