We call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to end the appalling killing, maiming and destruction there . We also cannot forget the West Bank where things have been extremely bad since 7th October (while not good, before).
The war in Gaza has given Israel cover to impose a siege and a war of a different kind on Palestinians in the West Bank. Roads closed with checkpoints and with concrete blocks, house demolitions, villagers being pushed out of their homes, the menace of heavily-armed settlers making it dangerous to bring in the olive harvest, the violent presence of Israeli soldiers preventing the opening of schools and universities, and all the killings and woundings.
This is all linked to the same effort by an increasingly extremist Israeli government to secure control over Palestinian land. While reputable human rights organisations have in the last few years (and Palestinians for the last few decades) pointed to the system of apartheid that has imposed human rights violations on Palestinians while supporting the building of new colonial settlements for Israelis – Black South Africans who lived through apartheid there have no doubt that the term is apt – the current Israeli government is even more extreme. A few months ago we were warning it could become even more terrible. Well, we have got there.
Our friends in Abu Dis are still reeling from a night of particular violence by the Israeli army on early morning of 5th November. The Israeli army killed three young men and seriously wounded another nine. We have been sent appalling bits of video from Abu Dis: wild shooting by the army in a residential area, the demolition of a house and carrying of a body in a bulldozer, even video of soldiers taking selfies with the body.
“It was like a bloody war for six hours in Abu Dis,” we were told, “though completely one-sided, there were no weapons on the other side. The Israeli army appeared at two in the morning with drones, a helicopter and an estimated 100 soldiers. Some of them surrounded one house and began shooting into it. Others seem to have shot widely across the middle of the town, where people had come out, alarmed at what they could hear – some were shot and some were shot running to rescue the people who had been hurt.”
The Abu Dis community are at once mourning for three young men and deeply worried about the future of the other young men who remain critically ill. They are aware that these are three of the 155 so far killed in the West Bank since the 7th October, and believe that their town and the West Bank as a whole are being used as a training ground for Israeli sharp shooters headed for Gaza.
The young men killed were Mohannad Afaneh aged 19, Mousa Zarour aged 22 and Nabeel Johar aged 20. We send our sorrow and solidarity to the families of all the young people and to the community that is suffering so much. (Allah yerhamhum)
We will be taking up this issue in particular with our representative in Camden in a campaign to STOP THE KILLING.