Monday, December 28, 2009
New Yorkers March Against Israeli Crimes in Gaza
Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators have gathered in New York to mark the one-year anniversary of Israel's devastating attack on the Gaza Strip.
The protestors, which included Muslim, Christian and Jewish human rights activists, marched against the Tel Aviv regime's three-week war on Gaza and urged world countries to stand up to Israeli crimes against Palestinians, IRNA reported on Sunday.
"Now is the time to stand with Palestinians. Now is the time to speak out against the Israeli genocide," New York Rabbi Joseph Cohen told IRNA. "The regime of Israel is not only the enemy of Palestinians, but also an enemy of the Jewish people."
Tel Aviv attacked Gaza on December 27 with the declared goal of "self-defense" and toppling the Hamas government. More than 1,400 Palestinians, including a large number of women and children, were killed in the conflagration.
The attack, which lasted three weeks, also wounded thousands of others, displaced 60,800 civilians and seriously damaged 17,000 homes at a time when Gazans were already subjected to a months-long blockade which had in turn triggered a humanitarian crisis in the tiny Palestinian territory.
More than two months after Tel Aviv declared an alleged ceasefire, disturbing revelations of the Israeli army's massive violations of human rights set the wheels turning on an international war crime case.
During the offensive, Israel reportedly shelled three clearly GPS-designated UN schools and opened fire on hospitals, ambulances, medical personnel and civilian homes.
After categorical denials that it used white phosphorus on the densely-populated Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers finally admitted that they had pounded the Palestinian coast with at least twenty white phosphorus bombs.
The most shocking revelation, however, came on January 4 when Israeli troops evacuated some 110 Gazans -- half of whom were children -- into a single-residence house in the Zeitoun neighborhood and warned them to stay indoors.
Twenty-four hours later, the soldiers shelled the home incessantly, killing more than 30 of the people inside the house.
A 575-page report headed by Jewish South African judge Richard Goldstone has substantiated claims of Israeli war crimes and human rights violations during the Gaza war.
In the year that has passed since Israel's offensive, the Tel Aviv government has blocked the reconstruction of thousands of damaged buildings in Gaza.
Mustafa Barghouti, an independent Palestinian politician and former minister of information, condemned Israel's refusal to allow in supplies to rebuild Gaza's shattered infrastructure.
"Today 25,000 houses in Gaza remain unrepaired because Israel is not allowing a single sack of cement or a piece of glass into Gaza," he told Al Jazeera on Monday.
In the year that has passed since Israel's offensive, Tel Aviv has blocked the reconstruction of thousands of damaged buildings in Gaza.