*** Open Discussion Thread *** Forum for Gaza ***


What are your thoughts on Gaza? Have you seen the coverage, have you been on the protests, do you know anybody in Palestine or Israel? How does the bombing affect you as a person in North London? What can we do together to help the people of Gaza?  Please comment below.

If you have any pics/vids of any actions do email us at office@northlondonstar.org.uk and we’ll try to include them here.

Note: there’s a national demonstration tomorrow (Saturday 26th July). Demonstration assembles 12 noon at Israeli Embassy, marches to Parliament. Called by: Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CND, Friends of Al Aqsa, British Muslim Initiative, British Association of Muslims, Palestinian Forum in Britain.

13 Responses to *** Open Discussion Thread *** Forum for Gaza ***

  1. Ed Miliband made a big speech today and began it by putting out his thoughts on the Gaza situation. (Read the full text here.

    I’ll copy the relevant part of the statement in full to kick off discussion.

    “I want to begin by saying something about the horrifying situation in Israel and Gaza. I speak as a friend of Israel and a friend of the Palestinian people.

    “The murder of the three Israeli teenagers at the start of this cycle of violence was an appalling and brutal act. The rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza are unjustifiable, outrageous and an act of terror.

    “I defend Israel’s right to defend itself and its people against these attacks. But I simply cannot justify what we are seeing unfolding in Gaza: the mounting death toll of innocent Palestinian civilians.

    “We opposed this latest Israeli incursion into Gaza because, despite the extreme provocation from Hamas, we feared it would lead to the further deaths of the innocent, fail to act as a deterrent and simply risk recruiting more people to the cause of Hamas.

    “The tragedy yesterday at the UN school is a horrific example of precisely what we feared: the death, destruction and mayhem resulting from the escalation of violence.

    “And now it is spreading to East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This is a cycle of violence that has spiralled out of control. Hundreds have died. And with every hour the casualties rise.

    “The international community must be allowed immediate access to provide medical assistance to the wounded and in the longer term we need reconstruction of destroyed homes, hospitals, schools and infrastructure.

    “But above all, both sides must realise that there can be no military solution to this conflict. I urge them to take a step back and return to a different logic. The logic of ceasefire, de-escalation, of an end to the killing.

    “And Europe also has a responsibility: to support the United States in seeking that ceasefire and meaningful negotiations around a two state solution which we know is essential and the only sustainable route to securing security for Israel and a viable state for the Palestinian people.

    “And this Labour Party will always strive to play its part in seeking to secure peace and justice in the Middle East.”

  2. My first reaction is the same as when he FINALLY made a first comment about the conflict a few days ago; where have you been and what took you so long to notice? Funnily enough his statement came after the big London march and after a number of newspapers mentioned polls which reflected a negative attitude in the general public toward Israel. Despite the numerous problems with Miliband’s statement the fact that he has condemned Israel’s military incursion in this manner is a positive factor for the Palestinian cause in Britain. His opposition to the military incursion is result of both the public outcry and shows of solidarity, as well as a strong reaction within the House of Commons from members of all sides of the house. I do feel that within civil society there has been a general decline in support for Israel in the last 10-15 years and that slowly elements of the political class are catching on. If only to gain votes. But onto the problems with his statements…

    1)He starts off by mentioning the kidnapping but fails to mention that it was carried out by members of a particular tribe, or ethnic group, who have a long history of disrupting Hamas ceasefires with Israel. By not putting the kidnapping into context, and by not mentioning the immediate Israeli response prior to bombing and invading Gaza, Miliband is effectively saying that some military response against a whole national group to the kidnapping carried out by a few individuals is justified. He mentions ‘military incursion’ but does not say all military action is out of the question. But that what Israel have done is just a bit too much, thus the obligatory reference to Israel’s right to self-defence. So basically, it’s okay to respond militarily if three of your citizens are kidnapped and murdered by some individuals from another national group, just don’t go overboard. Transfer this logic to anywhere outside of Israel and you see how preposterous it is; would the USA be justified in a military operation in Colombia if three of its citizens were kidnapped? The kidnapping is being continually alluded to by allies and apologists for Israel without mentioning that Hamas had no role in the kidnapping. (Of course the real reason for this round of bombing and invasion is the unity deal with Fatah, but Miliband was hardly likely to mention or think this.)

    2)In moving from the kidnapping straight to a condemnation of Hamas’ rockets, Miliband fails to say that Israel rounded up somewhere between 500-1000 Palestinians, including children, without any evidence and has subjected some to severe beatings, and probably (given past evidence from rights groups) torture. And is still holding a good many of them. This is surely illegal and to be condemned? This was prior to any state of war and can be cited as a provocation towards Hamas, as the government of Gaza. Unlike the kidnappings which were the work of individuals and not ordered by the state/government/party, these were ordered by the state of Israel. How is this not provocation? There seems to me frankly more justification here for a military response than can be found in any of those given by/for Israel. Even if this is not enough to justify a military response and that, some of, Hamas’ actions can be described as terrorist actions, then shouldn’t he mention Israeli provocations? Miliband, as throughout this statement and everything he says, likes to appear even handed (a friend of Israel and Palestine) but his statement is not even handed as he ignores Israeli provocations, which were ordered by the state.

    3) Despite opposing the Israeli military invasion/incursion (note; not bombing), he nevertheless manages to accuse Hamas of ‘provoking’ Israel and that Israel simply shouldn’t have responded in this way. For me personally, the failure to mention at all in his statement either illegal settlements or the situation in Gaza prior to the invasion is tacit agreement with Israeli policy toward Gaza before the invasion. The Palestinians are an occupied people; they are justified in opposing this occupation and they react out of hopelessness and justified anger to their oppression. They are also justified in responding to the Israeli military rounding up citizens illegally, detaining them without charge and beating/torturing them. Now given that the Israeli response to marches and peaceful protest is beatings and arrest, and even shooting live rounds into crowds, what other options did the Palestinians (and Hamas) have at that moment in time? And particularly once the bombing began. I’d cite here the African National Congress who in the 60s moved from years of non-violent struggle to an armed struggle against the state in response to increasing and constant violence against its people and protesters. (I’m not saying Hamas are the ANC or a great liberation movement and beyond criticism, but I do think they are allowed the right to self-defence and the defence of citizens in Gaza as they are the elected government there.) If Miliband recognises that Israel has a right to self-defence, then so to do the Palestinians but he does not mention this and that is absolutely vital taken alongside the failure to mention the root of the issue; settlements and the prison status of Gaza. These omissions mean that Miliband is saying that Hamas are the problem, if only they stopped firing rockets and started talking this situation could be resolved; so the problem, as usual, is Palestinian related and Israel is simply upbraided for being too harsh by invading. No mention of the root of the problem. No olive branch to Palestine, but a whole tree for Israel (as well as the land that tree grows on.)

    4) He mentions the violence spreading to East Jerusalem and the West Bank; what he does not say is that the violence there has been perpetrated by Israeli settlers supported by the IDF. One of the Palestinians who died was shot by a settler and the rest by the army. Again, as we all know but it bares underlining, these settlements are ILLEGAL under international law and yet we have settlers who shouldn’t be there killing Palestinians. Palestinians who were not firing rockets but were protesting in marches (and at the most throwing stones) as Miliband and co tell them to do. So his statement is highly disingenuous; he merely says ‘the cycle of violence’ is spreading to the West Bank when in fact it is Israeli violence which is spreading. Dead Palestinians are a result of the ‘cycle of violence’ not Israeli violence, whereas you can bet dead Israelis are the result of ‘terrorist violence’. Illegal settlers supported and protected by the IDF are shooting Palestinians in the West Bank.

    5) I don’t disagree that a ceasefire and stoppage to military action should take place, but on whose terms and what costs? No mention of whether Israel should pull out of Gaza or if they should occupy it as before. Given that Israel started this round of military action, something which Miliband tries to evade by mentioning Hamas ‘provocation’ (which he picked up from Sunny Hundal’s article I think) surely the call should be on Israel to withdraw first as the aggressor and invading force? Particularly if they are wrong to have invaded, as Miliband’s statement says. But no he calls on ‘both sides’ to stop fighting; despite Hamas/Gaza being the ones invaded they should stop fighting and miraculously this will, in his mind, bring an immediate end to violence by Israel too. Israel is the invading army therefore Hamas and the Palestinians have the right to self-defence. * Incidentally if it were pointed out to Miliband, as it was to Hundal on his fb wall, that Israel began this round of conflict he would undoubtedly repeat what Hundal said ‘its pointless looking to blame someone for who started what’ and yet both happily talk about Hamas ‘provocations’; which is another way of saying Hamas started it. (Although Sunny Hundal’s piece is much more critical of Israel and accurate on the reality in Gaza).

    6)The call for a return to US lead negotiations towards a two state solution is the most farcical part of the statement and behind the times; Netanyahu made a speech last week where he said the two state solution is not on the cards anymore. How can Miliband, who must know about this or he and the Labour party are incompetent to the point of dangerous, stand and call for a negotiated two state solution without even mentioning Netanyahu’s words? Even prior to ruling it out, Israel continued to build illegal settlements whilst opposing and threatening all efforts by Fatah to enter into international institutions like UNESCO. Why Europe should ‘support the USA’ in seeking a ceasefire and 2 state solution is unclear; the USA has continually failed to help implement any solution and with good reason. It is Israel’s strongest ally, so why should it be the sole player in creating a solution? Surely the international community should takeover rather than a US lead effort, as the USA is not a neutral player.

    Sorry for writing a ridiculous amount but I felt I had to pull apart this statement! Blame Hamas, naughty Israel for invading but what do you expect when you live next door to these people? No blame games, meaning blame Hamas, and let’s get back to negotiations that Israel have ruled out and that don’t go anywhere and for good reason.

  3. Barry Rosenberg

    This should test the anti-racist credentials of the left.

    Read the Hamas charter – it is a close match to Mein Kampf in its language and level of Jew hatred and racism….

    In fact they don’t have any good words for non-muslims (including Christian Arabs)


    Interested in your feedback…

    • Well, I’m not sure those kids that were killed on that beach were Hamas members… but I do know that Hamas, whatever their other sins, has Christian members (including the Mayor of Bethlehem, although he may have moved on now, I’m not sure) – so they can’t be *that* anti-Christian if Christians are Hamas elected officials… but the fact is this is not a war of Israel vs Hamas – it’s indiscriminate bombing of the people of Gaza, regardless of their affiliation.

  4. Barry; opposing Israel’s policies and current invasion of Gaza does not mean de-facto support for Hamas or any particular political organisation. I don’t think many on the left would describe Hamas as some wonderful liberation group and i said that in my above post. I don’t need to read that document to know that Hamas are frequently heavily anti-Semitic in their propaganda and that have they a lot of policies which I vehemently oppose and disagree with. A Vice magazine documentary I saw recently on Hamas rule in Gaza is enough to disabuse anybody of the ‘wonders’ of Hamas. However they are the the elected government and have as much right to self-defence as the Israelis do, if not more given that Israel right now is an invading force and even during peace time keeps Gaza like an open prison; restricting everything from how deep wells can be dug to stopping emergency goods coming in. None of this makes the racism of Hamas right, of course, and in Britain there were zero signs of anti-Semitism on last weeks march. But the bigger picture, the root of the problem, is the illegal settlements, the land question and the lockdown of Gaza.
    (FYI Israel also helped fund Hamas when it first emerged in 80s/90s as a counterweight to the PLO and in an effort to split the Palestinian movement, and oppose ‘religious’ to ‘secular’ Palestinians. This isn’t conspiracy twaddle; type in Israel funded Hamas and you will find a report in the Wall Street Journal mentioning this.)

  5. How was the demo today?

  6. Everyone in their comfy armchairs thousands of miles away is very keen to lambast the israeli response, however not a single person hals offered a viable alternative other than for israel to just accept regular rocket fire (which was going before the kidnappings) or to just allow itself to be destroyed and leave the Jewish people stateless yet again. There is constant talk of compromise yet no one seems interested in the fact that the palestinian leadership (hamas and fatah) have made absolutely no effort to reach a middle ground and refuse to make any sort of compromise.

    By condemning israel’s redponse you are all giving a big thumbs up to Hamas and effectively saying “keep hiding and firing weapons from schools and hospitals. Keep hiding behind women and children. Carry on using ambulances to transport fighters and arms.We’ll do whatever you want, just don’t let any more kids die”

    and to all the anti-zionists out there; everyone is allowed a nation except the jews eh? You’re just a bunch of jew haters.

  7. I am Jewish and have relatives in Israel. I’m just interested in how the demonstration for the people of the Gaza Strip went.

  8. Here’s North Londoner Barnaby Raine explaining the relationship of Jews to the demonstration very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3su5cNYRo0

  9. Please :), if possible post up to date information on where the current actions (re Gaza on this forum) are taking place. This page (on 1 august)talks of the national demonstration tomorrow (Saturday 26th July)
    I need to know what and where about todays demos (start point time etc)

    • Two things coming up. If anyone knows of anything else, do let us know.

      March: 9th August, 1.30, from Ducketts Common, Haringey
      Lobby: 3rd September, 6.30. Lobby David Lammy, MP, at Salami Restaurant, Salisbury Road

  10. Meeting on Gaza, with speakers including Jeremy Corbyn, Finsbury Park Mosque, Thursday 7th August, 7pm.Come and support opposition to Israel’s onslaught and ethnic cleansing. Plus make the connection to HSBC’s threatened closing down of the account of the Finsbury Park mosque, both, in different forms, expressions of racism.