Unless you have been living on Planet Zog (and at this moment in time, I really wish I was) you will have heard about the invasion into Gaza, which started off with airstrikes, but now has a ground invasion too. I am not going to write about the massacre that happened there last night, I am not going to post any pictures of the dead scattered about the street or the admissions into hospitals, these can be freely found on social media sites and are horrific. Something nobody should have to endure or see. But they are out there, and thank goodness for Social Media, because it is giving the Palestinians a voice. Those Gazan’s who can are sending out messages and are in contact with us here in our comfortable little worlds, we can offer little comfort to them whilst bombs are dropping liberally from the sky and ground troops are spraying bullets and god knows what into the air. But what we do and can offer them is the knowledge that they aren’t a forgotten people, and that other humans out there are caring about them and can spread their message to the world, even though our governments will try to ignore us completely.
Yesterday in London over 100,000 people took to the streets to call for an end to the barbaric occupation and treatment of the Palestinian people. Many in Gaza are refugees, originally displaced from their homes in the Nakba in 1948. These 100,000 people marched from Downing Street, through London to finish outside the Israeli embassy, which of course you can not get near to as it is through a gated street, patrolled by armed guards. I do wonder if any other embassies along that street, need that kind of protection?
I helped to organise a coach from Coventry to go down to the capital and on out full 61 seater coach were people from all walks of life from pensioners to small children, people who have been involved on all kinds of demos over the years, to those who have been outraged by what is happening out there and decided to join this one as their first. Whatever our background we all came together for the greater good and 100,000 people strode forth with the same purpose to show our government they do not agree with their stance on the issue of Israel/Palestine. The chants ranged from “David Cameron-Shame on you” to “BBC shame on you” to “Free, free Palestine” and many many more. There were thousands of placards and whistles and people in fine voice and on one of the hottest days of the year, we showed our solidarity with the Palestinian people as a collective.
Spirits were high and I had nothing but admiration for all the Muslims there who were fasting. It was hot, humid and exhausting. We could nibble on food and drink water, but they had nothing. Such commitment!
There was a police presence, but not a high one and at the end of the day, not one person from the demo was arrested. To me this is what it is all about, one collective for peace!
However, news I had from a friend in Tel Aviv this moring was not so good. She was part of a peaceful protest there last night, which was infiltrated by people who support the far right and they attacked the anti-war protesters. Police apparently seemed unmoved by this, as if they expected it. My friend also thinks this may have been organised to stop any further anti-war demonstrations. For now it had worked as peaceful demonstrations that had been organised by and for women in Haifa (where they also saw violence erupt at their peace demo) and in Rosh Pina have had to be cancelled for their own safety as there is a lack of police protection.
I have asked for permission to post what she has written and so I am copying her words (English is not her first language, and this was written in haste, I have left in the typos)
“several hundreds of us held a demo, only in tel aviv as a united front. surrounded by perhaps 1500 ultra rightwing fascists. like last week, when we started to disperse, the rightwing attacked only with far more violence, the police just left. huge blocks were thrown at the the anto war protesters. people were wounded. only after time the police intervened. the attack had been planned and it feels as if -which is the reason i’m posting privately- the police or some of them were part of this planning. i’m not sure, yet there is also another part to it. the amazing ****** ******* (I have removed the lady’s name forher protection) went afterwards much afterwards to talk to some ofthe rightwingers who were still haning around. no placard, no tshirt just an elderly lady. she talked and what she wrote needs to be thaught of: individually what was most clear is that many of the rigth wind are mizrahi poor, where as the anti war protesters are well educated, not necessarily not poor (omst of us are, but considered “white”|. the break line in isareli society runs very very very deep.
i need to think about this in order to write publicly, but i just wanted to share with you. people on the left receive death threats on their private phones, and by mail. it is becoming scary. no way i want to compare it to what is happening in Gaza, but i think israeli sceity is doomed and falling apart quickly . it will be very violent.perhaps some in the world will be very happy, but i am a person of peace and loving this place in spite of all, it is my home- i am scared, because there will be much suffering. nothing justifies what is happening in Gaza. al of the future looks very bleak. also in Haifa the demo was more viol;ent than ever,the anti war demo, that is, attacked by ultra right wing thugs and no police protection…. , details are slowly coming in.”
I have to say this message this morning shocked me to the core. Ordinary Israelis are completely against this ‘war’ (I use the term war very loosely, as Palestine had no army, no airforce and no navy to defend itself with) I do not whatsoever condone the use of rockets by Hamas or whatever factions that have come out of Hamas, but you back someone into a corner so far, all they can do is surrender, or try to fight their way out.
I feel for all the innocents in this that are being used as a pawn for a bigger game. For all the soldiers brainwashed into thinking that ALL Palestinians are terrorists (like the 4 children playing on the beach last week that were gunned down by a Navy ship and killed) for the innocent people living in a hell hole, with poor sanitiation, lack of fresh drinking water and dodging bombs and bullets and for the innocent Israelis who like near the borders with no bomb shelters, and whose air raid sirens do not work well. None of them have been killed yet by the falling shrapnel that is caused by the great’ Iron Dome’ that intercepts the home made missiles.
This is not an ‘Israel Bad/Palestine Good, issue ans nothing is that black and white…but there are so many shades of grey here, getting greyer and greyer, with unfortunately lots of blood running through.