War is Over – If You Want It. It was a bright, cold January day in Toronto. The year was 1969. I was a high school student gazing upwards in wonderment, as the small airplane was skywriting John and Yoko’s message of hope and empowerment. The Vietnam War was raging and world resolve to end it was gathering. It was another six years before that war was to be over.
More recently, between July 7 and August 26, 2014, Israeli forces killed 2,205 Palestinians in Gaza. According to UN figures at least 1,483 of those fatalities were civilians. 521 were children. The Israeli Government had the temerity to call this one-sided massacre Operation Protective Edge. 71 Israelis were killed in the fighting; 66 were soldiers. 18,000 homes were destroyed which left over 100,000 Palestinians homeless. Entire families, places of worship, journalists and their news gathering organizations, hospitals and clinics, UN facilities, schools, civilian infrastructure – were all targeted and destroyed. Beyond the devastating loss of life and obscene structural damage is the ongoing psychological trauma that negatively impacts all aspects of daily life. Over 300,000 children require psychosocial assistance to help them cope with the loss of family members, physical disabilities sustained, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and the ever-present fear of subsequent bombardments. Children six years and older living in Gaza have experienced three wars in their short lives. Long-term consequences of such barbarity are inestimable.
A ceasefire was agreed upon on August 26, 2014. Netanyahu sickeningly boasted of Israel’s “great military and political achievement.” Terms of the ceasefire included an easing of the seven-year crippling blockade of Gaza. Israeli forces continue, however to shoot at Gazan fishers, target farmers working their fields, and not one single home has since been rebuilt! According to a recent World Bank report, Gaza is “on the verge of collapse”. Less then 28% of international reconstruction pledges have been disbursed and Gaza has the world’s highest rate of unemployment. The unprecedented devastation is the result of a carefully planned, long-term strategy that over the years has shamefully been given unconditional support by the Harper government.
On this – the first anniversary of “Protective Edge” – where again the oppressor is recast as victim – it is time for Canadians to insist that this country uphold it’s obligations under international law and demand an end to war crimes in Palestine.
End the Occupation. Lift the Siege. Free Palestine.
Then as now. War is Over. If You Want It.
Please join us today Wednesday, July 8, 2015 at 5:30pm for a Rally to Commemorate 2014 Gaza Massacre at CBC – Corner of Hamilton & Georgia St