“Hands off Palestine”

Students’ Declare War on War 

Blood curdling images of children, burnt, lacerated, covered in shrapnel, arms or legs amputated are reaching people across the world. Pictures that speak louder than words of Israel’s war crimes - the gross violation of human rights as children and women die helplessly in the attack on unarmed civilians in Gaza, Palestine.

 More than 200 Palestinians have been killed, about 80% being civilians, and including 30 children, according to the UN estimate, till the 7th day of Israel’s assault. 869 homes have been razed to the ground in Gaza city. The air raid is targeting residences, religious places and did not even spare a home for the disabled. An assault by land began on the 6th day by Israeli naval commandoes on the northern coast of Gaza killing 54 Palestinians. Leaflets dropped by Israel in densely populated areas of Beit Lahia and Attatra warning of large scale bombing, giving an ultimatum to leave their homes by midday on Sunday, triggered an exodus of thousands of people taking refuge in UN schools. Supplies of food and medicine are thinning out in Gaza as routes of inflow are blocked. Doctors have told reporters that the medical system is on the verge of breakdown. Several countries including Britain have pulled its citizens out of Gaza.

 In all this time there has not been a single Israeli casualty. The Iron Dome, the US funded rocket defence system developed by Israel, has proved capable of intercepting all rockets allegedly launched by the Hamas.

 The US and EU leaders had tried to justify their patronage of Israel through hollow sounding phrases like Israel’s right to defend itself. Goaded on by their support the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is adamant about intensifying the offensive. This is the fourth such genocidal attack in the last eight years. On the 12th of July the 15 member United Nations Security Council issued a press statement calling for de-escalation, restoration of calm and resumption of Middle-East peace talks. The Israeli government flatly ignored the UN directive. Egypt and Jordan have now given calls for ceasefire. 

Voices calling for an end to this savagery have been growing stronger across the globe. People in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Ohio, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Metz, Greece, Lebanon, Tokyo, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Rome, Milan, Argentina, Sydney, Frankfurt, Texas, Montreal, Dublin, and Vienna have taken to the streets. The protesters are building pressure on their respective Governments to call for a ceasefire. The students and youth of India cannot remain silent to this horrifying attack on human lives. Protests have begun to spark in different parts of the country, demanding an end to the war crimes and pressing the Indian government to take a firm stand. These protests will intensify and consolidate over the next few days. The students are set to declare war on war – demanding not just a temporary ceasefire but a more fundamental change in the dynamics of the Middle East.

 On the 16th of July all Left Students’ and Youth Organisations of West Bengal will take out a march from Moulali to Park Circus in Kolkata. On the 18th of July the 12 students’ and youth organizations will join the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation for a protest demonstration on Ranuchaya Mancha in front of the Academy of Fine Arts. Burning torches will be carried from three corners of the city of Kolkata, namely Hazra, Moulali and Khidderpore to the academy. “Hands off Palestine” is the slogan echoing from campuses across India today.

 15th July 2014