One year on, Gaza under siege, Palestine under Apartheid…
62 years have passed since the dispossession of the Palestinian people, and 42 years marks the unjust occupation which makes it the longest ongoing occupation known in modern history. Whether it is in Gaza where the situation is deteriorating, the West Bank where inhabitants are prohibited from visiting the holy sites in Jerusalem, or the citizens of East Jerusalem who are threatened by eviction from their homes, the entire Palestinian society is affected by the Israeli occupation.
Gaza, the most densely populated place on earth, was brutally assaulted from the sky, sea and land by the most modern weaponry known to man. As Gaza had already been turned into a prison, there was nowhere to go. The "prisoners", nearly half of them children, sat and waited for a death they could not even fight.
Everyone lost family or friends; the entire economy and infrastructure was systematically destroyed; and due to the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip, people continue to fall victim to violence, hunger, sickness and despair since the farcical ceasefire began.
As the year 2009 comes to an end, it inevitably marks the First Year Memorial of Operation Cast Lead, when almost 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians were killed during the course of a brutal military operation carried out by Israeli authorities. Thousands more were wounded or displaced. 412 Palestinian children perished between the 27th of December 2008 and the 18th of January 2009. These children were killed as a result of the bombings and atrocities carried out by the Israeli Occupying Forces.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi recalls one year ago, almost in these days, when Israel planned a brutal aggression against the most densely populated area on the planet, the Gaza Strip. In these times especially, our thoughts are with the Gazan Christians who cannot enter Bethlehem during the Christmas holiday.
One year on, our thoughts are with those unarmed victims, for all Palestinians who are still imprisoned in Gaza, and for the Palestinians who are still suffering from an ongoing illegal blockade as well as an apartheid system of control.
Despite the Israeli attempts to suppress the peaceful and nonviolent Palestinian resistance, we can conclude that the spirit of resistance lives on. The Palestinian quest for justice is only strengthened by the brutality of our adversary.
On the eve of this memorial, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas; a Christmas of justice and equity. No lasting peace is possible as long as the illegal occupation and acts of collective punishment continue against the Palestinian people. No justice can be achieved without respecting and upholding international law and fundamental human rights.Source