Friday, 12 September 2014

Gaza Crisis - Which Will Will Prevail-Will of People or Will of Power

Which will will prevail:
Will of People or Will of Power?

 Dr. Mozammel Haque

Theoretically, government in democracy represents the will of the people but does it really represent in practice and what ultimately happens. Let’s see.

There was worldwide peoples protest and demonstrations. Palestine Solidarity Campaign called for National Demonstration for Gaza on Saturday, the 19th July; there was demonstrations in Paris; demonstrations in front of EU Parliament. Protest by film celebrities etc.

People’s demands and demonstrations
The demonstration, which marched from Downing Street to the Israeli Embassy, was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, CND, British Muslim Initiative, Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain. It was supported by an unprecedented alliance of organisations include Jews for Justice for Palestinians, the Israeli Coalition against House Demolitions (UK), the Association of Palestinian Communities, the West Midlands Palestinian Community Association, the NUS Black Students Campaign, and trade unions Unite, Unison, GMB, PCS, RMT, TSSA, ASLEF and the UCU.

An unprecedented alliance of faith organisations, civil society, peace organisations and trade unions came together on Saturday, the 19th July 2014 to call for an immediate end to the massacre in Gaza. (

“57,532 people have emailed their MP to tell them they must take action to end Israel’s war crimes. Click here for video of a parliamentary debate where MPs accused Israel of war crimes, disproportionate violence, ruining peace negotiations by building illegal settlements, running the worlds largest outdoor prison, collective punishment, and attacking water supplies, hospitals, supply centres and all manner of other civilian targets. Nick Clegg has described Israel’s response as “collective punishment” press release runs.(

Demonstrations in France
After talks in Paris on Saturday, foreign ministers from the US, Turkey, Qatar and several European countries urged both sides to extend the truce. Also on Saturday, pro-Palestinian demonstrations took place in several global capitals. Around 5,000 people rallied in Paris in defiance of a ban by the French authorities - about 50 people were arrested during clashes with police. Thousands also took part in a protest in London against Israel's military campaign. (BBC News, 27 July, 2014)

Demonstrations in front of EU Parliament
As the newly elected Vice Chair of Security & Defence (SEDE) and having been chosen to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) in the European Parliament, Cllr Afzal Khan, Member of European Parliament (MEP). A labour Voice for North West, spoke for Gaza in a Parliamentary meeting on 16 July, 2014.

The debate was a heated one, but, with the backing of Labour MEPs, they won the vote for the EU top call for an immediate ceasefire and for all parties to work to achieve justice and a lasting peace. A peace rally also took place outside Strasbourg European Parliament by Israeli peace activists.

Film celebrities

“A group of Spain's biggest film personalities, including Penelope Cruz Pedro Almodovar and Javier Bardem, have written an open letter in a Spanish newspaper denouncing Israel’s bombing of Gaza. The letter calls for the EU to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip... Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians' homes are being destroyed; they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing."

“They lamented the “physical, moral, psychological” effect that the attacks are having on the people of Gaza, and also called for an end to the Israeli blockade that restricts what can be taken across the Gaza border. (Reported by Ben-Beaumont-Thomas in The Guardian, 30 July, 2014)

Jon Snow of Channel 4 News
James Ball reported in The Guardian, “On his return from Gaza last week, Jon Snow – the face of Channel 4 News – recorded a three-and-a-half-minute video entitled “The Children of Gaza”. It was an appeal straight to the hearts and minds of viewers. “I can’t get those images out of my mind,” he told them, talking about his visit to a medical centre treating children wounded in the conflict.

“In a very densely packed urban area, if you decide to throw missiles, shells and the rest, then you will undoubtedly kill children.”

“Snow’s video went viral. Supporters applauded its frankness. Opponents registered their disquiet that an anchor should intervene so directly in a story he had been covering. At the time of writing, it has received over 1 million views across the channel’s Social Media Platforms. But it was never broadcast on Channel 4 News itself.” (James Ball, The Guardian, 29 July, 2014)

Harriet Sherwood reported, “United Nations officials described the killing of sleeping children as a disgrace to the world and accused Israel of a serious violation of international law after a school in Gaza being used to shelter Palestinian families was shelled on Wednesday.” (The Guardian, 31 July, 2014)

US Former President Jimmy Carter
and former President of Ireland
“Former President Jimmy Carter and the former President of Ireland and former Head of the UNHRC Mary Robinson have condemned this one-sidedness of US policy toward Israel and Hamas, insisting that as a first step Israel immediately ends without conditions the blockade of Gaza, allowing the people of Gaza to have finally some semblance of a normal life.” (Richard Falk, an Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, in Al-Jazeera)

That was the public response to the Israeli attack on Gaza but what was the response of the International Community, the community who always talk about human rights, those who attacked and invaded another country, Iraq, in the name of human rights against dictatorial regime, who invaded Iraq and still could not bring peace and order there in the country; who attacked Libya to give people their human rights.

Linda S. Heard wrote: “And what is the international community, the principled international community that endlessly babbles on about human rights, doing to stop this massacre? Oh yes, Obama is making demands of Egypt, Turkey and Qatar (not forgetting one of the Iraq War’s main architects Tony Blair) to persuade Hamas to quit firing rockets. The United Nations Security Council has put out a mealy-mouthed, limp non-binding statement, following days of negotiation with a truculent US over the wording, asking both sides to adhere to the 2012 cease-fire agreement — with no timeframe. Well, isn’t that just peachy! Netanyahu has said loud and clear that he won’t bend to pressure from outside because the security of Israelis is his only priority. (Linda S. Heard on 15 July 2014)

Government response and reactions
“France and Germany condemned the rocket attacks against Israel while the United States urged Israel and the Palestinians to de-escalate tensions and expressed concern for the safety of civilians on both sides as Israel pressed a campaign of air strikes and militants kept up rocket fire at Israel’s heartland. (Associated Press, 10 July, 2014 Arab News)

“In Paris, French President Francois Hollande called the Israeli prime minister and “expressed France’s solidarity (with Israel) in the face of rocket fire from Gaza.” Hollande also said that it was up to Israel “to take all measures to protect its population in the face of threats” but reminded the Israeli premier “of the need to prevent an escalation of violence.” (Associated Press, 10 July, 2014 Arab News)

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel also talked by phone with Netanyahu and condemned rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, a Government spokeswoman said. “The chancellor today telephoned Mr. Netanyahu and condemned without reservation rocket fire on Israel,” she said. (Associated Press, 10 July, 2014 Arab News)

Response of the Neighbouring Arab countries
That is understandable because they are bound by their agreement – they are allies and partners – they could not go against their principles, ideology and commitment; but what about the neighbouring Arab countries – they cannot do anything – why? Are they bound by agreement or is it against their principles?

“Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour and ambassadors representing Arab, Islamic and non-aligned nations say that they expect an urgent council meeting to be held very soon. They spoke to reporters after meeting the Security Council president. “We want the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and stop this aggression against our people,” Mansour said. He urged the council to adopt a presidential statement or a resolution to protect the Palestinian people and hold those responsible for the attacks accountable. This will likely prove difficult because of deep divisions in the council, including the strong US support for Israel. (Associated Press, 10 July, 2014 Arab News)

“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) pledged $25 million in humanitarian aid Thursday to "support the steadfastness" of Palestinians in Gaza where Israeli strikes have killed more than 70 people in three days. (Saudi Gazette, 10 July, 2014). Arab League (AL) seeks urgent UN meet after Israel declares war on Hamas. He denounced the “dangerous Israeli escalation” and warned against its humanitarian consequences in Gaza. “The continued attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israel is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, the Geneva Convention and international resolutions on occupied Palestine,” said the Arab League chief.  (Saudi Gazette, 9 July, 2014).

The world's largest Muslim bloc, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Thursday (10 July) urged the UN Security Council to force a halt to Israel's air war on Gaza that has killed more than 80 Palestinians in three days. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, after a meeting of its executive committee in Jeddah, said it was forming a ministerial team to lobby the Security Council and international community "to halt the Israeli aggression." The committee demanded that OIC ambassadors in Geneva call a meeting with the UN Human Rights Council to form an international commission to investigate Israel’s crimes and violations. (Arab News, 11 July, 2014)

Writing about the response of the Arab countries, Mr. Khaled Al-Maeena, former Editor-in-Chief of Arab News and also of Saudi Gazette, said, “Adding to their woes is the impotence of the Arab countries, each of which is embroiled in its own miserable condition.” (Saudi Gazette, 15 July 2014)

The Editor-at Large, Saudi Gazette, also said, “What can we do to help the people of Gaza? Making personal appeals to our friends in the West and relaying to them pictures of the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians, making our voices heard through the Arab communities in the diaspora and boycotting Israeli goods are some of the things that we can do.”

“We should strive to let the people of Gaza know that while Arab officialdom is helpless, we as a people are not. So let us not talk but contribute all that we can. However much we do, we cannot wipe away the scars, the trauma and the hurt of the people of Gaza.” (Saudi Gazette, 15 July 2014)

Human conscience speaks out
The Guardian editorially commented, “The human reaction to the daily bloodshed in Gaza fills anyone who glimpses it with shock and despair. Even those who accept that Israel has a right to defend itself from incoming Hamas rockets can be appalled by the sight of a house razed by a double air strike that left, on one estimate, 22 dead and 45 injured.” (The Guardian editorial, 13 July, 2014)

New Statesman in its Leader Column wrote:Israel’s long war against the Palestinians goes on. Israel has a right to defend itself from incoming rocket fire from Gaza but, however ruthless and cynical Hamas may be, no state, least of all one that purports to be a liberal democracy, has the right to shell a hospital deliberately or indiscriminately kill civilians. It can seem at times as if a kind of collective punishment is being visited upon all Palestinians. (New Statesman, Leader: A Collective punishment being visited on all Palestinians, 23 July, 2014)

“Before Gaza, I’d spent most of the past two months in Baghdad, Beirut, Jerusalem, Aleppo and Damascus,” Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, writes in his NSNotebook. “The Middle East is on fire. I haven’t seen anything like it since my first reporting trip to the region in 1990. I don’t think anyone knows how to put the fire out.” Such is the weakness of the western powers in an age of insecurity. (New Statesman)

But in spite of all these, there are some governments which came out openly denouncing the unjust and said a spade a spade. It is reported, “El Salvador became the fifth Latin American country to withdraw its ambassador from Israel in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have already recalled their ambassadors.”

Precedent: What ultimately happened:
Victory of the Will of People
Not only human conscience but also history always repeats. History always establishes truth and the falsehood disappears. We have seen in the past, the evil disappeared and the Truth prevailed. The injustice gave way and the just established. We have seen the victory of the will of people in the past, in the case of Vietnam War, in the case of Apartheid in South Africa, recently in Arab uprising

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