Muslim American Community Shares Grave Concerns
Since October 7, 2023 and the horrific attacks by Hamas, violence between Israelis and Palestinians has accelerated and there are new grave concerns over the escalation. In recent days, the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has vowed to invade Gaza with tanks and military troops. Today a fresh campaign of intense bombing is underway against Gaza. Yesterday there was a targeted attack against a historic Greek-Orthodox church inside Gaza where numerous Palestinians, having taken refuge there, were sheltering. Attacks against safe places and against innocent civilians goes against humanitarian law and also possibly against the Geneva Convention (only 138 countries recognize Palestine as a state).
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has issued a press release stating where hospitals and schools and domiciles are deliberately bombed or destroyed that the ends do not justify the means. There should be no collective punishment, destroying whole apartment buildings, just to target terrorists launching rockets from the top of the building. Turning off essential utilities such as water, electricity, and cutting off road entrance points is against international law. It is depriving hospitals of essential supplies, and forcing surgeons to perform surgery in the dark, using only flashlight.
According to Article 18 of the Geneva Convention:
“Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.”
However whether this is an official war is unclear because the Palestinian State is not officially recognized by the State of Israel; that is, it considers and certainly treats it as an occupied state. Settlers are encouraged to invade and settle in the West Bank even though most of it was once for Palestine. Many NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch, view what has occurred over the past 75 years in former Palestine as apartheid at the very minimum, even while the West ratchets up its support for Israel:
“Where is the clear condemnation of the cruel tightening of the 16-year closure of Gaza that amounts to collective punishment, a war crime? Where is the outrage at statements by Israeli political leaders that seek to blur the all-important distinction between civilians and combatants in Gaza even as they order ever more intense bombardment of this densely populated territory, reducing city blocks and neighborhoods to rubble?”
Since last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear that Gaza must be punished for its terrorist crimes. An invasion of Gaza is now said to be imminent, and orders have been issued for the northern half of Gaza to move to the southern half of Gaza even though with 2.2 million people squeezed into roughly 250 miles square, it is already one of the most densely populated places on the planet. One Israeli politician even suggested that the Palestinians should live in emergency tent cities in the Sinai Peninsula, a largely uninhabitable desert.
“[T]he UN Security Council has repeatedly condemned the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, which is prohibited under international humanitarian and criminal law. The unlawful denial of humanitarian access and depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival are also a violation of international humanitarian law.” —-United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner
There are people right now who are dying or suffering from the effect of the siege whether it is due to lack of medicine, lack of surgery, lack of food, drinking unsafe water, and the effects of mental illness or growth in crime and instability. Neighboring Arab countries, including Muslim organizations around the globe, are expressing their outrage. The Muslim American Society recent editorial states:
“The Muslim American Society is gravely concerned with the continued violence, dehumanization and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Palestinians have faced occupation, settler colonial apartheid, displacement, military checkpoints, and daily violence for 75 years. They have suffered under a military occupation that is funded by our tax dollars to the tune of 3.4 billion dollars/year. The Palestinian people have a right to a free and unoccupied homeland. The path forward for lasting peace is to address the root causes of continued injustice, colonial violence and Israeli apartheid.”
March for Palestine stated in its October 14th call for action:
“All people of conscience will be horrified by the order issued by the Israeli Government yesterday for over 1 million people in the north of the Gaza Strip to immediately leave their homes. Such a mass evacuation would be nearly impossible to organise safely anywhere, let alone in a besieged area that has been heavily bombed for a week and where basic infrastructure is collapsing. This is not a humanitarian gesture. Israel is signalling its intention to commit war crimes on an immense scale and seeking to pre-emptively justify the mass slaughter of many thousands of civilians, on the basis that they were warned to leave.”
The numbers of casualties, injured, internally displaced, and missing are growing, and the numbers vary according to the news source, but also because due to the stringent requirements to qualify for citizenship and to travel. Undoubtedly many Palestinians have long foregone registering or obtaining official documents. As of today, the 14th day into the besiegement in Gaza, Al Jazeera Live Tracker records states at least 4,137 people killed and over 13,000 injured. In the Occupied West Bank, at least 81 killed and over 1,300 injured. In Israel, at least 1,403 killed and 4,629 injured.
Palestinian-Christians or others fortunate enough live inside Israel and obtain citizenship still report having to pass through security gates and maintain a constant presence inside their domicile, otherwise they may be evicted and/or have their home declared abandoned. One AJ video showed a family suddenly evicted, and just to be sure they stayed away, soldiers guided a Jewish settling family to take over by moving inside the house immediately. Certainly the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” could not be a better metaphor.
Reports of increasing violence, such as a statement by Israel that it had dropped “dropped 6,000 bombs weighing 4,000 tonnes on Gaza in the past six days, killing more than 1,400 people” contribute to the culture of escalation of war rather than path towards peace even if presumably it is for vindication. The Palestinians have always maintained that the type of responses used by Israel tend toward the extreme through disproportionate measures. For instance, while Hamas rocket attacks gut apartment homes; Israeli bombs flatten entire apartment buildings.
This is why the situation right now demand that state-to-state talks take place between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with diplomacy leading to a ceasefire. Here is what the Carter Center offers for waging peace, fighting disease, and building hope instead of war:
“The Carter Center calls upon the international community to engage actively in building peace in the region. The urgency for a robust and renewed peace process has never been greater. There is not a military solution to the crisis – only a political one. We implore the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and reinvigorate a credible process that brings peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians while safeguarding the lives of all civilians.”—Carter Center
Former President Jimmy Carter has helped broker peace talks between Egypt and Israel, for which he earned the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. His book “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Works” discusses his diplomatic efforts during the 2000s under President George W. Bush when a reactionary party had taken hold of the Knesset. Carter wanted to reduce the Palestinian apartheid and records with chagrin how the West Bank Wall appeared to be nothing more than a landgrab, with its inconveniences in dividing up bordertowns and forcing Palestinians to stand in long hours at security gates or drive an extra sixty miles a day to go around the Wall.
Unfortunately, no recent president shares former President Jimmy Carter’s views. Even former President Trump held talks to initiate a Trump Peace Deal that would essentially recognize all of Jerusalem, most of the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and even the Jordan Valley as either rightfully belonging to Israel or for Israel’s right to annex. While the plan was not approved, namely because the Palestinian parties were not consulted, the stateless solution is still preferred. Even candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. recently spoke out in support for Israel, approving of President Joe Biden’s new $10 billion arms package for Israel.
The details of the buildup in military presence in the East Mediterranean Sea and in the Black Sea and in Arab countries are alarming. A new war is being instigated without consultation with the American public, and other nations are pledging to support Palestine with their military armies. Russia also has sided with Syria often.
HalTurnerRadioShow lists the ongoing buildup from just a few days ago, and it is extensive; in fact, so extensive is the list that pundits believe that war is really planned against Iran. Both Syria and Iran have long being in Western crosshairs. Israel also recently launched rockets into Egypt and into Lebanon which are sure to attract a rising response from Hezbollah or lead to an outgrowth in new jihadist terrorist groups.
- 2 Aircraft Carriers
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)
- 2 Ticonderoga-Class Cruisers
USS Normandy (CG-60)
USS Philippines Sea (CG-58)
- 7 Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyers
USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116)
USS Ramage (DDG-61)
USS Carney (DDG-64)
USS Roosevelt (DDG-80)
USS Laboon (DDG-58)
USS Mason (DDG-87)
USS Gravely (DDG-107)
- 1 Type-45 Air Defense Destroyer
HMS Duncan (D-37)
- 5 Frigates
ESPS Méndez Núñez (F-104)
FS Surcouf (F-711)
ITS Carlo Margottini (F-592)
TCG Yavuz (F-240)
HS Psara (F-454)
- 2 Landing Support Ships
RFA Lyme Bay
Additional F-35s, F-15, F-16s and A-10s are expected to add to the strike power, along with an unknown number of submarines. Also both the USS George Washington and the HMS Prince of Wales left from Norfolk, Virginia last week. It will become a tinderbox along with the Russian fleets in the Black Sea as Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a press conference that “But on my instructions, Russian Aerospace Forces begin patrolling on a permanent basis in the neutral zone of airspace over the Black Sea. Our Mig-31 aircraft are armed with Kinzhal missile systems. As is known, they have a flight range of over one thousand kilometers at a speed of Mach 9.“
To the credit of Russia it has sponsored a peace deal that it introduced at the United Nations recently; however, since the Ukraine conflict is far from over, the West rejected the proposal. All Israel needs to whet its appetite for an expansionist war is for more international forces to engage in deadly clashes. And, as for motive, the West wants political control over Iran and Syria for access to resources and for leverage against Russia, China and the East.
Chart from AlJazeera.com “Israel-Hamas War in Maps and Charts Live Tracker”