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.

 

Tougher penalties as UAE updates counter-terrorism law

Three senior Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades commanders killed in Gaza

Obama demands world action against jihadist ‘cancer’

France delivered arms to Syrian rebels 'a few months ago'

British jihadists on forefront on IS propaganda

Abbas holds talks with Meshaal in Doha

Iraq Kurds face real challenges in fight against IS jihadists

Death toll in Syria war tops 180,000

US reveals failed operation to rescue American hostages in Syria

Somali journalists face trial for ‘violence incitement’

Iran asks West: What is our reward for help against IS jihadists?

Turkey ruling party meets to agree Davutoglu as PM

Kuwait nabs suspected Al-Nusra Front financier

Hamas armed wing declares end to truce talks in Cairo

Tribal clashes kill dozens of people in troubled Darfur

Dubai real estate giant to repay debt four years ahead

Egypt hopes power cuts could ease next week

Jihadist beheading of US journalist sparks worldwide revulsion

Iran provides ‘advice’ to Kurds fighting IS jihadists in Iraq

Power cuts and petrol shortages: Life grows increasingly difficult in Libya

Suspected attack by Kurdish rebels kills one Turkish soldier

UN launches huge aid operation in northern Iraq

Israel pounds Gaza as mourners cry ‘revenge’

Outgoing first lady breaks silence on ‘falsehoods’ against Turkey President

Ex CIA boss: journalist's killing 'first IS terrorist attack against US

Scores of armed Yemen rebels boost positions in capital

Sinai jihadists punish supporters of Egypt army with decapitation

Germany ready to support Iraq Kurds in battle against ‘barbaric’ IS

Iran’s 'reformist' science minister sacked

Turkey assures Ocalan Kurdish peace process will press ahead

Hollande: international situation ‘most serious’ since 2001

Israeli minister: ‘Deif deserves to die’

German minister accuses Qatar of financing IS

US hits back at criticism of Ferguson racial unrest

Jihadists to US: stop air strikes or we will behead second reporter

Temporary Gaza ceasefire goes up in smoke

Islamic State in Syria: Not few brainwashed people but whole army

Egypt to US: Show us how you deal with unrest in Ferguson

Turkey seeks to revive peace talks with Iraq Kurdish rebels

Tit-for-tat attacks break Gaza ceasefire

Huthi rebels cook up ‘armed coup’ in Yemen capital

Flood of weapons in South Sudan: Who’s not to blame?

After morale boosting victory, Iraq forces intensify attacks on IS

Multi-national Arab Bank on trial for supporting terror

Violence-hit Libya gradually boosting oil output