First Published: 2009-01-21

 
Solidarity with Gaza: Just the Beginning
 

The latest Israeli assault on the tiny Strip represents the failure of the siege to weaken Hamas and the Gazan people's resolve. It should come as a wake-up call to the world that placing 1.5 million people in a cage and denying them basic necessities, including food, medical supplies and fuel only takes that fuel from their hands and adds it to the fire, notes Hammam Farah.

 

Middle East Online

The incessant sound of typing over the many laptops around me became the background theme sound of my life for the past two and a half weeks. Since Israel's latest assault on Gaza that began on December 27, my social circle of journalists and activists have besieged ourselves (no pun intended) in a friend's basement to write articles, coordinate with other groups, take interviews, and discuss strategies for raising awareness and taking action.

Already, the bone chilling, cold streets of Toronto have seen several mass demonstrations of solidarity with the people of Gaza and anger at an Israeli government that is increasingly being recognized as one of apartheid and racial exclusion. For our Palestinian people back home, the struggle consists of continued steadfastness and resistance. For us in the Diaspora, it's about education, solidarity, and the promotion of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid and its institutions. For both those in Palestine and outside, the long-term goal is the ending of Israeli apartheid, and the immediate goal is breaking the world's silence over the two-year-old inhuman siege on Gaza and its culmination with this massive assault that has so far taken the lives of over a thousand people today.

This latest assault represents the failure of the siege to weaken Hamas and the Gazan people's resolve. It should come as a wake-up call to the world that placing 1.5 million people in a cage and denying them basic necessities, including food, medical supplies and fuel only takes that fuel from their hands and adds it to the fire.

When I phoned my grandmother who lives in Gaza to check on her last week, she said that there used to be a choice between bread and rice, but now there was only bread. The obvious next step is for even bread to disappear and the people left with nothing to eat. She went on to say that the electricity was out and that the water was dirty and had to be boiled to clean. The psychological aspect is even worse. People are left to constantly contemplate whether to stay home or seek shelter elsewhere within the narrow streets of Gaza, which is one of the few, if not the only, territories on earth where civilians are denied the chance to leave and seek refuge during a time of war or bombardment. The decision could determine whether they would live or die. To my increasing frustration, other relatives did not answer their phones because the Israeli intelligence has been calling people to intimidate them into collaborating.

But the suffering only strengthens our will to continue the struggle. Here in Canada, our government will have to answer for its overt support for the massacres. So do our universities. Several university presidents issued a statement in 2007 condemning Britain's University and College Union's motion to discuss the academic boycott of Israel, using the principle of academic freedom as justification. But they have remained silent over the bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza and other educational institutions. How dare they have the audacity to believe that condemnation of a non-violent boycott, but silence over the violence of bombs will go unanswered for? They, also, will have to answer to us. And all the student unions that refused or kept delaying the passing of boycott resolutions will now have to make a choice.

For this is just the beginning. It is inspirational to see the thousands of people who came out to the streets in protest and the many who attended a teach-in on Gaza last week. The number of unions who are pledging to boycott Israel is continuing to grow. The number of Jews opposing Israel's apartheid is continuing to grow and even the media has been finally reporting on Jewish condemnation and protest of Israel. And the governments of Venezuela and Bolivia have cut their ties with Israel.

And yet, Israel does not see the harm it has done to its own image. Even during this horrific onslaught on Gaza, the Central Elections Committee of Israel has just banned two of the largest and most popular Palestinian citizen ("Israeli Arab") parties from running in next month's Knesset elections. If this is how Israel plans to fight back the growing allegations of apartheid, then our work is going to be cut out for us much sooner than I predicted.

Many people are getting involved now, including people that were unaware of what's going on, people who were unsure which side to take, people who knew what was going on but didn't know what to do about it, people who supported the Palestinians but did not support the boycott and now do, and people who supported Israel and now don't.

Hammam Farah is a Palestinian Canadian who was born in the Gaza Strip as part of Gaza's small Christian community. He resides in Toronto and is a solidarity activist with the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), which is spearheading the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign in Canada. He can be reached at hammamf@gmail.com. This article appeared in The Palestine Chronicke.

 

Palestinians react to death of Peres

Syrian army retakes rebel-held Aleppo district

UN Libya envoy warns against ‘political impasse’

Morocco finally adopts Amazigh as official language

Saudi petition seeks 'full' rights for women

Kuwaiti court scraps petrol price hike

Iraq requests more US troops to take on IS in Mosul

Airstrikes hit hospitals in rebel-held Aleppo

Iran nuclear chief says not worried about Trump

Iranian, Italian ships hold manoeuvres in Strait of Hormuz

Gunmen kill three Egypt policemen, civilian in Sinai

Turkey says 32,000 coup suspects awaiting trial

Paris to host international meeting on Libya

Etihad plane in emergency landing in Abu Dhabi

Struggling Saudi Oger lays off 1,300 staff

Israel ex-PM to serve 27 months for graft

Syrian kids return to school in Manbij

World Bank releases $300 million for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Iranian FM in Ankara for Syria talks

Israeli ex-president Peres dies

Oil prices post marginal gains

Russia tries to strongarm US with Aleppo assault

Jordan vows crackdown on online incitement

Assad, Russia press intense Aleppo assault

Iran's Ahmadinejad says will not run for president

Boris Johnson dismisses Erdogan goat poem as 'trivia'

Turkey dismisses 87 spy agency staff over failed coup

Egypt recovers sunken boat, more bodies

Israel's Peres 'fighting for his life'

Bombings kill at least seventeen in Baghdad

Netanyahu chooses diplomacy in US election

Iran sets conditions for joining terror finance taskforce

Who is the destroyer of Timbuktu shrines?

Israel to charge Lieberman party officials in graft probe

Egypt detains owner of capsized migrant vessel

Countless bombings in Baghdad’s Karrada since 2003 US-led invasion

Clinton, Trump clash in fiery first presidential debate

Moroccan gets death threat messages over cartoon posted by killed Jordanian

Saudi king unveils austerity drive

Israel prosecutor general denies going easy on PM

Iran frees Iranian-Canadian academic

Supplies dwindle, strikes intensify in Syria's Aleppo

Rebels, civilians quit Homs under deal with regime

Oman court closes national newspaper, jails three journalists

Israel-US consortium signs $10 billion gas deal with Jordan