The Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP) has called an emergency gathering in Martin Place, tomorrow, Wednesday 2 July, at 12.30 pm to protest Israel’s escalating illegal collective punishment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
The respected Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem, is demanding that its government should refrain from imposing further collective punishment on the innocent Palestinian population and avoid harming those who had nothing to do with the murder of the teenagers from settlements near Hebron.
In Sydney, the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine seconds this call.
Spokesperson Jennifer Killen said: “Like Btselem, we believe in the rule of law. We believe it is not just illegal, it is immoral to cause deliberate harm to an entire civilian population as punishment for the crimes of individuals.
In the past two weeks, at least 10 Palestinians, including 15 year old Mohammed Dudeen from Dura near Hebron and Yusef Abu Zaga, 16, from Jenin have been killed.
The Israeli army has stormed homes and businesses, charities and universities. In a dawn raid on the popular English-language magazine, This Week in Palestine, published by Sani Meo, (whose brother Rami lives in Sydney) they confiscated the computers of this small business which publishes advertss for the U.S. Consulate as well as writing about about herbal remedies, travel and music.
In a punitive and illegal act of collective punishment, Israel has destroyed the family homes of the two men they claim are responsible for the murders. Neither of the men has been arrested, charged or tried let alone legally found guilty, but Israel has sanctioned the destruction of their homes, collectively punishing their entire families.
Israeli journalist, Amira Hass, has reported that Israelis have attacked Palestinians in the Hebron old city in several different incidents. Apparently the Israeli troops massed there are unable or unwilling to prevent these acts of violence by the residents of illegal settlements.
Btselem has warned the security forces that they should be prepared to prevent revenge by settlers. “We, too, call on the occupying Israeli forces to be ready to prevent any acts vengeful attacks by residents of the illegal Israeli settlements.” said Ms Killen who has recently returned from Israel and Palestine.
Each year, more than 100 Palestinian children are killed by Israeli forces. Many more, even as young as 12, are kidnapped by the Israeli army – abducted and imprisoned in Israel. The deaths of the three Israeli teenagers is a tragedy, but for the Palestinians, this type of tragedy has been the norm for 66 years.
As we hear reports of Israeli troops surrounding Palestinian city of Hebron, we call on the Australian government to use its influence with Israel to insist they behave like a modern democracy consistent with international law and refrain from collective punishment and massacres.
In an act of collective punishment, it has been decided that the family homes of the suspected killers have been punitively demolished (without a fair trial to confirm guilt). Rockets are falling on Gaza. Palestinians, even those who condemn the killings, are suffering under intensified military aggression.
A commitment to peace means we must recognise suffering on both sides. While we remember the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers, remember also the innocent children who will burn in the fires of Gaza tonight, unacknowledged by international media
The Australian government and foreign minister Julie Bishop must call on Israel to end these violations of international law. Australia must condemn not only the murders of the Israeli teenagers, but the murders of the many Palestinians who have died at Israel’s hands.