Attack On Gaza

Attack on Gaza

Israeli military forces are currently invading Gaza, committing mass killings against the Palestinian population imprisoned there.
Miserable world that is letting this happen!

Why is racisim, apartheid and ethnic cleansing tolerated when committed by Israel? Why is Israel allowed to act with impunity, without adherence to International Law? The shocking reality is that the US, EU and even Norway are supporting the Israeli apartheid State by cooperation, trade and even arms trade which assist in the ethnic cleansing of the oppressed Palestinian people. Currently, the international community is simply watching as an operation of genocide takes place in the prison camp that is Gaza, against the impoverished, long suffering civilian population.

Demonstrations are held around the world as we witness the cowardly and week responses from our governments in the western world. Shocked to witness how this crime against humanity takes place with impunity, with the UN, the US, the EU, indeed the whole world watching without intervening or even putting enough pressure on Israel to stop the military offensive causing mass killings of innocent civilians.
Shocked by the degree to which the Palestinian people of Gaza are being dehumanized by Israel. Are they human to the Americans, Europeans and Norwegians? Time has come to take a stand against the dehumanization of the Palestinian people and to urge the International community to take action against the Israeli military offensive and the illegal occupation of Palestine.

Nothing can justify the slaughtering of civilians in Gaza; not the pathetic argument about security, about protecting the Israeli population from Hamas. It is a sickening argument that killing the people of Gaza somehow makes life in Israel more safe. Sickening to witness so explicitly the viewpoint that the lives of Israelis are worth so much more than Palestinian lives. As well as the viewpoint that military power, war and mass killings can solve the conflict and get rid of hatred and resistance, when all knowledge and experience clearly shows that the opposite is true.

The Israeli military aggression is promoting the cycle of violence, strengthening the resistance and strengthening extremism.

When Israel "withdrew" from the Gaza strip in 2005, they continued to control the sea, the air and the borders around Gaza, making the humanitarian situation extremely difficult. Supplies of food, medicine, fuel and other necessities have been restricted at the borders, causing increased suffering and hardship. Gaza has been under siege, international aid has been cut off and economic sanctions imposed. In November and December 2008 Israel was tightening its blockade of Gaza, stopping all humanitarian aid to enter into the densely populated area of 1.5 million people for 2 weeks. What is the purpose of this ongoing cruelty and disaster?

Is there any wonder that there is resistance to siege and occupation? Anyone surprised by the existence of the resistance movement Hamas and of the reaction to occupation and inhumane treatment of a whole people, can research the history to find out whether any people have ever been occupied without resistance.
Some Palestinians are throwing stones at the military. The weapon of the powerless. Is there any reason to be surprised by their anger? By their emotions?
Hamas has fired rockets into Israel in response to siege and occupation. The desperation and hopelessness of a people deprived of basic rights, self-determination and development, has to be understood and dealt with.

Anyone studying peace and conflict theory will learn that, when analyzing a conflict, it is crucial to look at the deep, underlying root-causes, such as structural violence. The structures of Palestinian society in Gaza and the West Bank are completely controlled by the occupying Israeli power and the oppression of the Palestinian people is naturally causing desperation and anger, leading to acts of violence.
What kind of justice would deny an occupied population to resist the occupation?

Using the label "terrorism" started to sound like propaganda a long time ago: repeating the word "terrorist" or "terrorist organisation" many times seem to justify the notion that any military violent response is legitimized and even required.
Labeling the enemy a "terrorist" seem to deprive the person of any human qualities. Using propaganda which describes the enemy as a "terrorist" seem to eradicate any notion of human rights, human dignity, respect for International Law, the Geneva Convention and UN resolutions, thus leading to the violation of them all. This has been obvious in the "war on terrorism", the US led invasion of Iraq (2003- present) and is now evident in the Israeli invasion and massacre of Gaza.

The notion that "terrorism" justifies any response by the powerful over the week, is a dangerous trend in todays world. This has been evident throughout the invasion of Iraq. Now it is the Palestinians who are suffering due to the labeling of Hamas as a "terrorist" organisation and thus ignoring to look at the reality of the situation and to deal with the root causes. (A very effective demonization and propaganda technique indeed!) The real terror is to live in poverty in an apartheid system. The real terror in Palestine is the systematic control and oppression of a whole people.
At the moment the terror in Gaza is off course the brutal massacre of the civilian population.

Wounded child in Gaza (from the Smh)

Where is the UN?
The UN Security Council failed to call for an immediate ceasefire today. The war-loving United States is preventing the UN from acting according to its mandate of maintaining international peace and security.

The US is considering its economic gain from the Israeli war, thus favoring a period of aggressive military show-off instead of ceasefire and non-violent solution. Thus blaming Hamas for the carnage caused by the Israeli military; repeating that the "terrorists" must take the full responsibility..
Is Obama going to be more intelligent and nuanced? We like to think he has a sense of justice, a mind for complexities, a willingness to find peaceful solutions.

The failure of the UN and the international community to prevent the massacre of Palestinians and the humanitarian disaster now unfolding in Gaza, is totally unacceptable.

M Johannessen, 4 January 2009

Continuing bloodshed

The Israeli officials are postulating the distorted view that the democratically elected political organization Hamas, is the 'evil', the 'terroist' which has to be eradicated. Does extinguishing Hamas also mean getting rid of the Palestinian people who voted for them, who see Hamas as the only leaders who care about their situation and represents their freedom- seeking objective?
Of the 900 people killed in Gaza over the past two weeks, 50% are women and children and over 30% are children. Since a high percentage of the killed are civilians, this actually resembles an operation of genocide.

Hospitals, mosques, homes and UN schools have been bombed, killing people who have nowhere to escape. Israeli propaganda of "not targeting civilians" are evidently empty words given these facts.

What kind of international community can sit by and watch a military offensive totally destroying an area where a defenseless population of 1.5 million people live, half of which are children? The US is complicit in the brutal killings as well as the humanitarian disaster in Gaza by supporting Israeli militarism.
It is shocking to witness politicians and ordinary people alike, defending the bloodshed orchestrated by the Israeli government. There have (even in Norway) been rallies supporting the slaughtering of innocent civilians in Gaza, supporting the counterproductive military strategy…. As if the Palestinians were not human, as if they didn't suffer, as if they are not going to try to fight back.

It has been proven again and again: the real terror today is the militarized states, who with grotesque disregard for human life, wage war on defenseless populations.
This is indeed the danger in today's world. This is what fuels the cycle of hatred, violence and hopelessness.
The violent domination of the powerful over the week; as seen in the state terrorism now being carried out by Israel, is the biggest obstacle to peace with justice.

The UN must work towards justice for the Palestinian people and an end to the bloodshed. It must ensure that the Israeli government does not continue its war crimes without accountability for the international justice system.

The international community failed the Palestinians in Gaza when they in 2006 reacted to the election of a Hamas government with imposing economic sanctions and supporting the blockade of the Gaza Strip, in effect causing a collective punishment of the population living there. The blockade and isolation of Gaza, causing grave human suffering and preventing any development in the area, is a breach of the Geneva convention and classifies as a crime against humanity.

For how long is this tragedy going to last? How many more children is Israel planning to kill? How long time will pass before someone takes strong action to end the massacre? How long time before non-violent conflict resolution is preferred over military operations? How long time before there is an end to the strategy of creating a culture of fear, a society of children and youth traumatized by violence and by gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law? How long time will pass before the process of reconciliation and peacebuilding can commence?

The situation in Gaza reminds us of Martin Luther King's so often forgotten wisdom: "Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. Returning violence for violence, multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars."

M Johannessen, 12 January 2009


29 December 2008

Hundreds of people participated in a demonstration against the massacre of Gaza, marching through the streets of Oslo and ending up close to the Israeli embassy. A short while after reaching the embassy, the police chose to throw tear gas at the crowd, because of a few aggressive protesters. There were families with small children present and we all had to flee.

10 January 2009

There was a big mobilization of non-violent action in the streets of Oslo. Hundreds of people were participating in a peaceful demonstration.
Had the media chosen to focus more on the masses of people demonstrating peacefully, it would have contributed to sending a strong message to our government: a message calling for determined action against Israels attack on civilians in Gaza. A message of condemnation of Israels brutal military offensive. But instead of listening to the majority of the people there, the media reveals its eagerness for destructive events, overexposing the few violent incidents that took place in front of the Israeli embassy. The media choses to focus on the conflict and drama, thus framing the situation in a way which distorts reality.
The media could have played an important role as an agent for the people, conveying their message due to the tradition of peace journalism. It is a shame that it instead is so obsessed with the entertainment value of drama and violence, that the reality of the situation as well as the peaceful message of the majority of the protesters, kind of gets lost.


Oslo, 10 January


Oslo, 10 January


Oslo, 10 January


(Dec 2008 - Jan 2009)

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