I have friends in the West Bank, Palestinian Territory. They’ve shared stories of living under the oppressive Israeli-occupation. The West Bank, by international law, is Palestinian territory. Yet, for years, Israel has been building illegal “settlements” there. 750,000 Israelis now live there illegally.
Over decades, thousands of Palestinians have fled and been displaced. Every day, Palestinians experience violence and discrimination. Despair grows. In May, 2022, for example, along with other mourners, my friend’s son was beaten severally by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in plain clothes while he was peacefully walking with a funeral procession for the renowned Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. While wearing a Blue Press vest and covering a raid in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, she’d been assassinated by Israeli soldiers.
The raid on Israel by Hamas is tragic and despicable. Meanwhile, Israel has retaliated by killing over 11,500 persons, including over 4,600 children in the 40 days since Oct. 7 (as of Nov. 17) according to Gaza Health Authorities. Amnesty International has reported that entire residential housing blocks have been levelled to the ground in Gaza, killing everyone inside. Civilians are being killed by the thousands.
A recent statement from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ominous. On Oct. 29, he declared to Gazans, “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible,” referencing scripture from First Samuel 15:3 which states, “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.
Veteran United Nations Human Rights lawyer, Craig Moniker, recently resigned in protest over the lack of an active response from the United Nations, stating: “This is a text-book case of genocide.”
The United States, supplying Israel with billions in support of military, and munitions, is complicit in these acts that are now, arguably, war crimes. We need a new foreign policy approach with Israel that aligns with the international law and human rights for Palestinians; and an immediate cease-fire.