One Year After the Ceasefire and the Gaza War is Not Over by John
War is Over – If You Want It. It was a bright, cold January
day in Toronto. The year was 1969. I was a high school student gazing
upwards in wonderment, as the small airplane was skywriting John and
Yoko’s message of hope and empowerment. The Vietnam War was raging
and world resolve to end it was gathering. It was another six years before
that war was to be over.
More recently, between July 7 and August 26, 2014, Israeli forces killed
2,205 Palestinians in Gaza. According to UN figures at least 1,483 of
those fatalities were civilians. 521 were children. The Israeli Government
had the temerity to call this one-sided massacre Operation Protective
Edge. 71 Israelis were killed in the fighting; 66 were soldiers. 18,000
homes were destroyed which left over 100,000 Palestinians homeless. Entire
families, places of worship, journalists and their news gathering organizations,
hospitals and clinics, UN facilities, schools, civilian infrastructure – were
all targeted and destroyed. Beyond the devastating loss of life and obscene
structural damage is the ongoing psychological trauma that negatively
impacts all aspects of daily life. Over 300,000 children require psychosocial
assistance to help them cope with the loss of family members, physical
disabilities sustained, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and the ever-present
fear of subsequent bombardments. Children six years and older living
in Gaza have experienced three wars in their short lives. Long-term consequences
of such barbarity are inestimable.
A ceasefire was agreed upon on August 26, 2014. Netanyahu sickeningly
boasted of Israel’s “great military and political achievement.” Terms
of the ceasefire included an easing of the seven-year crippling blockade
of Gaza. Israeli forces continue, however to shoot at Gazan fishers,
target farmers working their fields, and not one single home has since
been rebuilt! According to a recent World Bank report, Gaza is “on
the verge of collapse”. Less then 28% of international reconstruction
pledges have been disbursed and Gaza has the world’s highest rate
of unemployment. The unprecedented devastation is the result of a carefully
planned, long-term strategy that over the years has shamefully been given
unconditional support by the Harper government.
On this – the first anniversary of “Protective Edge” – where
again the oppressor is recast as victim – it is time for Canadians
to insist that this country uphold it’s obligations under international
law and demand an end to war crimes in Palestine.
End the Occupation. Lift the Siege. Free Palestine.
Then as now. War is Over. If You Want It.