A bridge destroyed by Israeli warplanes on a main road in the northern Gaza Strip, near Gaza City, June 28th. Credit: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa.
28th June: Last night the Israeli Occupation Forces began the grotesquely named “Operation Summer Rain” on the Gaza Strip. Rafah, scene of the May 2004 Rafah massacre by Israel, was re-occupied by Israeli tanks.
Gaza City was bombed by Apache helicopters and F16 and V58 fighter planes. Gaza’s only power plant was bombed as was the water reticulation plant. Almost 750 000 of Gaza’s residents have no water or electricity today. Three main bridges which connect different parts of the Strip have been destroyed, slicing the Strip into two parts, and separating its people from each other, their places of work, schools, colleges and universities.
In addition, the Israeli military used powerful sonic bombs throughout the night and during the day. These bombs damage eardrums, create extreme feelings of fear and anxiety and prevent the whole Gaza Strip population from sleeping at night. They also induce feelings of terror in children and babies, who are already exhibiting anxious and clinging behaviour.
These air-strikes and sonic bombs which damage essential infrastructure and terrify and kill the civilian population are a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people and are war crimes which are forbidden under international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prescribes the manner in which armies must treat civilians during times of conflict.
We call on the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli military to conduct itself within the boundaries of international humanitarian law and ensure the protection of all Palestinian civilians.
We also demand the immediate halt of the Israeli Occupation Forces’ attacks on the Gaza Strip and an end to the closure and isolation of the Strip, both of which are exacerbating an already desperate humanitarian situation inside the Strip.
University Teachers’ Association
*** RECOMMENDED ACTIONS ***
– MEDIA: Please contact your local media and request that they do not act as a mouthpiece for Israel by asserting that the aim of the Gaza invasion is to rescue the captured soldier. At the very least, they can say that this is what Israel claims is the reason, or they should use the word “allegedly”. It should also be made clear that the primary victim of this assault is the Palestinian civilian population, and that this constitutes collective punishment of a captive population, which is a direct (and repeated) violation of the Geneva Convention.
– LOBBYING: Please contact your elected representatives and ask them whether they support Israel’s barbaric crimes against innocent Palestinian civilians. If they oppose these atrocities, ask them what they’re doing about it. Make your voice heard.
– PROTEST: Protests are needed at Israeli embassies and consulates throughout the world. Even a one-person protest with a simple sign such as “Stop Israeli Terrorism” can be good at bringing attention to the situation and letting Israel know that there is widespread opposition to its continued and escalating crimes against the Palestinian people. Believe it or not, Israel does care about its image, and if the government receives reports of a number of protests, they will feel pressured to limit the operation. Please take action on this TODAY – for the sake of the innocent civilians in Gaza.