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MAWO Statement:
End the Siege on Gaza!
Self-Determination for Palestine
Israeli Troops Out of Gaza Now!

Today, on January 3rd 2009, it has been confirmed that Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip for military occupation and a further massacre of the Palestinian people. This was as expected - the first phase of the killing of Palestinians and the destruction of Gaza came to an end this morning. Over the last week, this has meant more than 700 air strikes, 450 dead and over 2000 injured. The next phase, the occupation of Gaza, will be bloodier and more destructive for the Palestinian people. The Israeli army will destroy hundreds and hundreds of homes, schools, mosques, medical facilities and all possible infrastructure, as well as killing hundreds more Palestinians in order to force them to surrender and accept Israel’s terms and conditions for “peace” and “settlement”. People of the world are asking: if this is not genocide, then what is it? Israel will go down in history for committing the Palestinian Holocaust.

But the vicious Israeli rulers must have understood by now, after more than 60 years of the occupation of Palestine, that none of their killings, massacres, expulsions, or imprisonments have been able to crush the simple demand of Palestinians for self-determination. Nor have they been able to end the heroic Palestinian resistance to this brutal and inhuman occupation. Since the occupation of Palestine and the foundation of the state of Israel 61 years ago, the Zionist state has relied on a policy of imperialist-supported violence and ethnic cleansing to rid the land of its Palestinian inhabitants and stifle opposition. Today there are more than 6.4 million Palestinian refugees, and the approximately 2 million remaining Palestinians live in the equivalent of an Israeli-controlled open air prison. Regardless of the betrayal to their cause by so-called agreements, from Camp David in 1979 to the Madrid Conference in 1991, from the Oslo Accords in 1993 to Camp David in 2000, and from the Road Map of 2003 to Geneva Accord of 2003, the Palestinian people have continued to defy occupation.

The Government of Israel justifies this bloodshed by accusing Palestinians and their main leadership, Hamas, of violence and terror against Israel. These criminals who have ruled through lies and deception for more than 60 years forgot that Hamas won democratic elections in January 2006 with an immense majority. The Israeli government and all imperialist countries, including Canada, refused to recognize this elected leadership of the Palestinian people. They forgot that Hamas ended the most recent six-month ceasefire on December 18th, 2008 only after Israel did not lift the blockade of Gaza as agreed six months prior. This end to the ceasefire also followed months of provocations and undermining of the ceasefire by the Israeli army, including a raid on November 3rd 2008 in which six Gazans were killed. They forgot that Israel’s ‘withdraw’ from Gaza in 2005 was just a maneuver to maintain complete control over Gaza from land and sea. Since then, a million and a half people have struggled to live under siege, trapped in an open air prison which has been slowly strangling the Gazan population. To give a feeling for what the Israeli blockade has meant for life in Gaza today, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, only 41% of Gaza has electricity and people in Gaza are without power for up to 16 hours a day. Half of Gaza City’s population is receiving water only once a week for a few hours. Unemployment has risen to almost 50% and only 23 out of 3900 industrial units are operational. Seventy percent of agricultural land is unusable and the financial system has collapsed completely. Today more than 79% of people in Gaza live under severe poverty.

This massacre of Palestinians and occupation of Gaza by the Israeli army must end immediately. People of the world do not accept this genocide. Since the attacks, shelling and bombing of Gaza on December 27th, 2008, millions of people around the world have marched and rallied against this brutality. When a reporter asked Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, why Israel wouldn’t let humanitarian aid be delivered to Gaza, Livni replied that there is no humanitarian crisis in the densely populated Gaza strip. We ask the people of the world: is this not Nazi-like thinking, to claim that after more than 700 air strikes, killing 450 people, injuring 2000 people, shutting down electricity and all normal functioning of infrastructure and civil operations, that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza?!

The need for solidarity and action has never been greater given the destruction Israel has both promised and delivered over the past 60 years and particularly in the last week to the Gaza Strip. A world against war is a world which supports the Palestinians in their fight for their self-determination and freedom.