We stand with the People of Palestine! We stand for Justice, Human Rights and Freedom!

We are enraged and grieve equally the loss of lives of all civilians – Palestinian and Israeli – that have taken place since 7 October and call for those responsible to be held accountable for their actions.

We decry the fact that for many Northern Governments, Palestinian lives are deemed as being of less value and worth as those of Israeli citizens. This has allowed tens of thousands of Palestinians being killed with impunity over the decades as a result of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. People whose names and dreams, like those of our peoples in the global South, sacrificed to colonialism.

In the latest indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, Israel has already killed more than 5000 Palestinians including at least 2360 children, displacing over 1 million people, as it collectively punishes the Palestinian people. In just one week, between 7-12 October, Israel dropped over 6,000 bombs on the Palestinian people living under its illegal occupation, more than the US dropped in a whole year during its war on Afghanistan. Whilst Human Rights Watch has confirmed that Israel has used a banned chemical weapon – white phosphorous – in civilian areas in the Gaza Strip, causing severe burns and uncontrollable fires.

We are devastated by the bombing of the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza which killed 471 injured and sick Palestinians, including women, children, doctors, nurses, and those seeking refuge from the retaliatory bombardment by Israel. To date, the World Health Organisation has documented 76 attacks on healthcare workers, 26 healthcare facilities including 17 hospitals have been attacked, as well as attacks on UN schools where Palestinians are sheltering for safety.

The Occupied Palestinian Territory of Gaza is facing a “complete siege” with the purposeful targeting of civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and schools which constitute war crimes under international law. Israel is also blocking food, water, fuel and medicine to a captive population of 2.3 million Palestinians, half of whom are children, as a weapon of war.

While in the Occupied Palestinian Territory of the West Bank, Israel has imposed a total blockade. The Israeli military is attacking Palestinians protesting the genocide in the Gaza Strip with lethal military force, and is providing thousands of weapons to Israeli settlers inside the West Bank, who are attacking and killing Palestinians.

Israel has openly made genocidal statements that ‘Gaza will be reduced to rubble’ and called the Palestinians ‘human animals’. As climate justice movements we recognise the language of racism and colonialism that has been used to justify the sacrificing and killing of so many of our people across the global South.

The current war in Gaza is not an isolated event but is deeply rooted in ongoing colonization, illegal occupation, systemic injustices, and historical oppression of Palestine by an apartheid state. Israel has repeatedly disregarded the international humanitarian law and human rights principles that demand the protection of civilians, especially in conflict zones, as it escalated its genocidal attacks in Gaza.

Israel is planning a ground offensive with intent to indiscriminately kill Palestinians in north Gaza; and aims to ethnically cleanse more Palestinians in a single day than during the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’) in 1948, when over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes – or any day since in their ongoing settler-colonial occupation of Palestine. The vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees from the Nakba.

The situation has never been more urgent. In the words of the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), “Gaza is running out of life”. As vital resources run out and Gaza’s health infrastructure – already battered by Israel’s 16 year-long blockade and periodic bombardment – ‘collapse before our eyes’, Gaza’s remaining hospitals are turning into morgues.

We call for an immediate ceasefire, and for the international community to break the blockade and end the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. We must bring an end to apartheid and occupation.

We are appalled at the US and UK refusing to support the resolutions at the United Nations Security Council calling for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip. The complicity of powerful Western nations in enabling Israel to carry out these actions with impunity is a matter of grave concern. Despite the growing evidence of human rights violations, the provision of military and financial support to Israel from these nations continues unabated. The disregard for the lives of Palestinian people is inexcusable, and it is incumbent upon these nations to end their arming of Israel and prioritise human rights.

We also call out the role and bias of politicians and international media, led by northern media, fueling the islamophobic rhetoric and dehumanization of the Palestinian people as well as the role of international tech companies and platforms in allowing the rise of islamophobic and anti-semitic hate speech and fake news.

We condemn the attempt by Northern Governments – from Germany, France, to the UK, to attempt to criminalize and ban our movements from marching and calling for Justice for Palestine. The attacks on our right to protest mirror the attacks on climate protests that are taking place in countries that bear the greatest responsibility for these injustices.

We stand in immutable solidarity with the people of Gaza and all victims of brutality and demand upholding of international law and human rights principles to protect innocent civilians.

We also stand in solidarity with Palestinians and Jews who are protesting Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and advocating for peace and justice in the region. We condemn actions taken by several governments around the world to stop these protests and the arrest of peaceful demonstrators.

There can be no peace without justice and it is a moral imperative for the global community to stand in unity with the oppressed. We call on all our governments and international bodies to work together to end the war, and to bring all those responsible for war crimes to justice. We demand an end to the occupation and genocide of the Palestinian people and urge for resolution that can ensure that both Palestinians and Israelis can live with security and dignity.

 Our Demands

In light of the ongoing violence and the appalling human rights violations in Gaza by the apartheid state of Israel, we call for the following urgent measures:

Immediate Ceasefire: We echo the calls of the United Nations Secretary General and humanitarian and human rights organisations for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

End the illegal blockade: Urgent humanitarian and emergency aid must be provided to civilians in Gaza. The people of Gaza are in dire need of medical supplies, food, water, and other essential resources, which need to be restored urgently.

Stop War Crimes: Israel must be held accountable for its actions that breach international law, including attacks on hospitals, forced evacuations, and the illegal blockade on Gaza for decades.

End Impunity: All those responsible for war crimes including the State of Israel must be held to account for their actions. All civilian hostages, including the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners held without charge or trial must be released. Western powers must stop their support for Israel, including ending arms sales to Israel particularly in the context of human rights violations and stop all support and funding to Israel immediately. Political alliances should not take precedence over human lives.

End Apartheid and Occupation: We support the self-determination of the Palestinian people. We call on Israel to end its system of apartheid and for the right of return and compensation to Palestinian refugees. We call on the international community to finally uphold the UN resolutions for a safe, secure and viable State of Palestine alongside a State of Israel.

Stop Racism, Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: We stand in solidarity with our comrades in the Jewish and Muslim communities facing an increase in racist attacks. The struggle for climate justice is a struggle for racial justice.

Busiinge Aggrey

CEO, The Black Examiner Publishing Inc.,

editorial@examiner.co.ug

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