It is important for us to be out here today to cry outrage at the recent attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. At last count, 169 Palestinians paid with their lives (39 of them children) in Israel's latest assault Operation Pillar of Cloud, and while there is currently a ceasefire, we know that a moments peace is not enough to last. Because what has happened in recent weeks in Gaza is awful, but what's been going on there for decades is far worse.
Gaza is best described as an open air prison, where Palestinians live in dilapidated house, under curfews, and dealing with checkpoints where IDF soldiers continue to torment, harass and kill Palestinians all of the time. Just before this offensive by Israel began, a 13 year old boy was killed by soldiers. It is an everyday reality in occupied Palestine. And Gaza is under siege, and being purposely kept at near starvation levels by the Israeli government, who decides what goes in and what comes out. Let's not forget the flotilla in 2010 carrying desperately needed goods, food and medicine to the people of Gaza that was attacked in international waters by the IDF and boarded, and those activists where killed. Shot in the back of the head for trying to bring aid to people who are being intentionally deprived of basic needs.
The UN has called the situation in Gaza a humanitarian crisis, "a crisis of human dignity" and yet, the mainstream media will never cover this side of the story. That is why it is so important for us to be out in the streets in protest of these conditions. Because the media's take on the situation is bought and paid for by Israeli interests- and that goes for our politicians as well.
In the anti-war movement, we talk a lot about the futility of putting a "puppet government" in charge of another country whose interests are not the people's, yet we so rarely get to see so clearly how our own politicians are held up by these same strings, and how their actions are dictated by the unconditional flow of money into Israel (to the tune of 8.5 million dollars a day!) Because that's our tax dollars being used to buy drones, and bombs, and bulldozers for the IDF (and if you insist that all of this is for defense, then try explaining what the bulldozers are for).
We need to continue to speak out and to tell our own government, elected officials like Senator Klobuchar, to stop funding Israeli crimes. We want an end to the blockade of Gaza, an end to the apartheid state, and for all Palestinians to be free to return to their homes.
The people of Palestine are under attack, so what to we do?
Stand up, Fight back!
(side note: immediately after giving this speech I learned that the UN voted to make Palestine a non-member state. Hopefully, this is a step towards real peace for Palestine.)
Here is what the vote looked like.