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Israeli raid on flotilla: an intentional message for Gaza and the rest of the world

Israel’s raid on the flotilla headed for Gaza was no accident. It was a massacre. And the world community must not allow it to stand..

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Israel’s message has been repeated year after year through the occupation, the war on Gaza, the consistent colonization of Palestinian territory, and so on.

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The proverbial ball is now in the international community’s court. The siege on Gaza must end now and the Israeli regime must face the consequences of violating international law. Another independent inquiry is absolutely necessary to spell out in detail what transpired in the Mediterranean.

The problem is that Israel rejects even the finest judge’s inquiries, as was the case with Judge Richard Goldstone following the Gaza assault.

In modern times, it seems that oppression cannot end until the oppressor is exposed to the world as having no regard for humanity. Only then does enough international or domestic pressure emerge to make the regime change its ways.

In India, this took the Amritsar massacre in 1919 by British Imperialist troops; in South Africa it took the Sharpeville massacre in 1960; in the United States it took the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955. In each case, the perpetrators tried to portray the victims as terrorists or criminals, but people of conscience would not have it.

With each drop of civilian blood, the impunity grows.

The emerging question is whether this will be Palestine’s moment. It falls on the shoulders of the international community to seize this opportunity. Many such opportunities have passed, like the massacres at Qana in 1996, Sabra and Shatila in the 1980s, Hebron in 1994, Qana again in 2006, Gaza in 2008, and the list goes on.

The activists who set sail for Gaza did their part and now people of conscience around the world and their governments must to do their part. We can choose whether the dead activists will be the last of the civilians killed by the Israeli regime or if they will simply join the list of countless others who died trying to expose the crimes of occupation and siege.

Anything less than an international outcry leading to the end of the siege on Gaza would mean the international community has failed civil society, and the nonviolent activists will have died in vain.

Yousef Munayyer is executive director of The Palestine Center in Washington.