Humanity is under Attack in Gaza

Civilians, including children, were massacred on one side of the border between Israel and Gaza. Now terror and death crash through Gaza, on the other side of the border, as Israel uses the indiscriminate attack by Hamas to launch an even more cruel and indiscriminate attack on the residents of Gaza. We grieve all these deaths, and insist that the only way to put an end to the violence is to put an end to the oppression of the Palestinians. Justice is the only road to peace.

The people of the world are watching, their hearts burning in pain, as the Israeli death machine funded with millions and millions of American dollars, rampages through Gaza. Gaza is blockaded. There is no water or power. People are running out of food. The hospitals are overflowing. The bombs keep falling. Fear, pain and death are everywhere. More than a million people have been displaced. More than 2 600 people have been killed, including more than 700 children. The war has spread to the border with Lebanon. Syria has been bombed. Egypt has moved soldiers to the border.

Some Israeli politicians are describing Palestinians as animals. This is very painful for all oppressed people around the world. The recognition of the full and equal humanity of every person in this world is a non-negotiable moral and political principle.

Our movement stands for the value of value of every human life. We grieve for all the unarmed civilians and children killed in this new cycle of violence, and fully support the demand of the United Nations for an immediate ceasefire. Humanity is under attack and we join the call on all the peace loving people of the world to act now, and to act with all possible urgency.

The roots of this violence go back to 1948 when violence and terror were used to drive Palestinians from their land to form the state of Israel. The repression of the Palestinians has never stopped since then. The Palestinians continue to be dehumanised and continue to be dispossessed of their land. We understand these things from our own experiences. We know what it is to be dehumanised. We know what it is to be dispossessed of our land. We are in deep solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

Palestinian has endured oppression and repression for too far too long. The people of Palestine gave us true solidarity during the difficult times of apartheid. Their solidarity was not in rhetoric, they supplied resources for us to fight the brutal apartheid state. It is time that we do not only show our solidarity as rhetoric and start to  be in solidarity in ways that are true and visible. We need to take to the streets all over the world and call for an immediate ceasefire to be managed by the UN and for Israeli and its backers in the West to stop the oppression of the Palestinian people. This must be followed by a radical turn towards justice. Humanity must advance and call for peace and justice in the world, not war and oppression. War cannot bring peace. It can only bring more suffering, and leave more families displaced and grieving. It can only leave children without parents and parents without children.

The US openly supportsthe Israeli government’s attack on Gaza despite the fact that it is killing unarmed civilians, including children. These are war crimes. The Netanyahu administration has announced the closure of water, electricity and the delivery of food in Gaza. This is a brutal and a complete violation of human rights. The invasion and killings of the people of Palestine is inhuman and those who are supporting Israeli attack on Gaza are not human, just like Netanyahu.

The attack on Israel by Hamas was followed by the attack on Gaza, and now the West Bank too, by the Israeli state. But it is important to understand the role of the US and other Western powers in this. When the people of Palestine are dehumanised, dispossessed, jailed, tortured and killed the West continues to fund and support the Israeli state, which is now governed by an extreme right-wing coalition. The lives of Palestinians are not counted as human lives. This becomes very clear in much of the Western media.

We are not surprised by the position of the imperialist state of US. They supported the apartheid regime in South Africa. They have always supported the oppressor. They have supported coups against democratic governments, and have invaded and bombed many countries.

We will always be on the side of the oppressed in general. We will always seek to build alliances with popular democratic movements of the oppressed. We must always be aware that not all organisations that claim to represent the oppressed are democratic and progressive.

As at the attack on Gaza escalates and the conflict spreads we are calling for the South African government to work with governments across Africa to insist on an immediate ceasefire under the authority of the UN. We are also calling on the government to expel the embassy of Israel from our country.

We are calling for global support to boycott and sanction Israel. We are calling for trade unions around the world to refuse to offload ships that  are carrying Israeli products because they are funding the army that is killing the people of Palestine. We must identify all products produced in Israel and boycott all those products. When we buy Israeli products we are sponsoring the occupation, the blockade and the war. When we are trading with Israel as a country we are sponsoring the war that is killing civilians, including children.

We are calling on all progressive forces around the world to build alliances and solidarity with the progressive, democratic formations among the Palestinian people.

The combined power of the people of the world can stop this war by demanding an immediate ceasefire and it can demand full justice for the people for Palestine, knowing, of course, that justice is the only way to achieve a lasting peace. A ceasefire on its own will not bring peace. A ceasefire can stop the immediate killing and destruction and it can open the blockade so that people can get water, power, food and medication. But there can be no lasting peace without justice, and the people of the world need to push for justice. The restoration of land stolen from Palestine will be central to the restoration of Palestinian dignity.

This is a call on all those who love humanity to act and to act urgently and collectively. We need to do because we are humans and humanity lives in us, unlike the US, the Israeli state and the armed Israeli settlers who continue to drive Palestinians from their land.

Abahlali baseMjondolo, or AbM, is a shack-dwellers' movement in South Africa. It campaigns to improve the living conditions of poor people and to democratize society from below. The movement refuses party politics and boycotts elections. It's key demand is that the social value of urban land should take priority over its commercial value and it campaigns for the public expropriation of large privately owned landholdings. Read other articles by Abahlali baseMjondolo, or visit Abahlali baseMjondolo's website.