Imagine: A group of kids in Richmond playing outside. Maybe a pick-up soccer
Children in Gaza running for their lives. What if they were your kids or your neighbors? (Photo from Mission in Palestine, Denmark)
game in an empty lot. Suddenly bombs start exploding around them and they run for safety. Only there’s nowhere to run because bombs are falling all over Richmond. And imagine bombs falling all over the East Bay, from Richmond to Hayward, from the hills to the bay. Imagine this area has been closed off by a foreign army for 66 years, surrounded by barbed wire, concrete walls, checkpoints and heavy armaments so that no one can come in or go out, not even by boat on the waterfront. Imagine the terror and trauma of those children, the ones that survive the bombing, which many don’t.
This is the reality in Gaza today and for the last 66 years. We would never stand for it here, and Gazans are saying No to this ongoing oppression. They’re saying they, too, deserve a dignified life with basic rights.
More and more Americans are insisting that Israel must stop not only the relentless murder and mayhem against Gazans but also the decades long illegal occupation and control of Gaza’s borders. Israel needs to take a stand: either allow Palestinians to have an autonomous state throughout Gaza and the West Bank, where Palestinians control their own borders; or proclaim Gaza and the West Bank to be part of the state of Israel, thereby giving all Palestinian residents full citizenship, voting rights and all the freedoms that Israeli citizens enjoy. Israel can’t have it both ways, controlling the territory and people who live there, but not letting them be part of its own state.
The meager yet defiant attempts by some Gazans to defend themselves against the prolonged oppression and periodic brutal massacres of civilians will end when both the Israeli attacks and its siege of Gaza end and Gaza’s borders are opened.
US government leaders must join Americans in calling for an immediate halt to the Israeli bombardment and blockade of Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. If any US communities faced similar circumstances, what would they say to that?